Three Reasons Good Governance Leads to Good Membership Marketing

Halmyre is proud to have sponsored the Canadian Society of Association Executives’ Governance Forum in June 2020 for the second year in a row.

We know that good governance is a precondition for good organizational strategy. And in turn, good organizational strategy is a precondition for good membership marketing and engagement, which is the source of all growth for organizations.

Growth comes from an organization’s marketing using the toolkit of product, price, place and promotion. Far too often boards and business leaders associate marketing only with the fourth “p,” promotion (the ads, emails and social media common to associations).

But marketing is the growth engine of any organization and therefore can only rest on the solid foundation of good corporate strategy and good governance.

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 When focused, a board should care deeply about the health of its organization’s marketing because the board is committed to the growth, strengthening and deepening of the organization’s value proposition.

1. Good governance helps board members recognize their role to govern

Good governance helps board members – who are frequently members of the association themselves – recognize their role within the organization.

A board member’s job is to govern. However, they often assume that what they want is what everyone in their industry wants. This is called the governance trap of marketing and it’s all too common in associations. It can be toxic to good growth and marketing.

The type of person who volunteers to be on a board is not a typical member and so is not always best positioned to make decisions about what all members want. Board members are simply too vested to be objective. True marketing must be achieved using a sociological eye – being able to extract yourself from your own upbringing and socialization to understand the world through a different lens.

Learn more about the sociological eye and its role in marketing:

2. Good membership marketing and planning take time to work

Good governance and good marketing both involve a long-term view of success and strengthening the organization. It is never “one campaign and done.” 

When actively managed, marketing will get increasingly efficient and effective, so a long-term view is in an organization’s best interests. But we’re sorry to report: there is no one silver bullet to fix what ails your organization or to seize quality opportunities.

3. Marketing is an ROI driver

Growth, strengthening and expanding influence are common returns on investment that boards should look for. Marketing is the business profession that delivers these returns and it should do so based on data, insights and progressive improvements and cost-effectiveness.

Learn whether your marketing is currently a cost centre or an ROI centre:

 

What do we do next? Three questions leaders should ask about marketing.

At your next board meeting, ask these questions and see what happens. If the answers aren’t clear, it’s possible your organization could use a marketing strategy and value proposition tune-up to ensure your resources are being spent effectively.

  1. What are the specific key success factors and key measures of success that we use to measure the performance of our marketing and how did we select them?
  2. In what specific three ways is our association’s marketing driving measurable return on investment to the association? How does our marketing tie directly back to our strategic goals?
  3. What systems, processes and tools are available to us to identify, track and measure shifts in our members’ wants and needs?

When marketing is not well-governed, it can just seem like a bunch of tactics: some emails, some social media, an event. But is it adding up? Great marketing needs to be anchored in solid leadership and strong organizational strategy to be effective. It starts at the top.

About Christine Saunders

Halmyre President Christine Saunders is a marketing consultant to service-based organizations, a strategic advisor to marketing executives and leaders, an entrepreneur and a hobby farmer. Prior to founding Halmyre in 2014, Christine owned a traditional integrated marketing and communications agency specializing in financial services, public services and not-for-profits. Her education is in politics, ethics and philosophy, and she is a proud Maritimer despite living in Upper Canada today.


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