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With a new decade, comes a brand-new set of unknowns, expectations and unanswered questions.  

The last decade marked the most incredible 10 years of innovation to date, with the way we do just about everything in our personal and business lives changing, with rapid shifts in technology.  

To name just a few:  

  • The rise of Social Media  
  • Multi-device living and mobilisation 
  • The emergence of the Internet of things and cloud computing 
  • Virtual and augmented reality  
  • Data Security 

These changes have impacted just about every business sector, with digitally savvy customers driving greater connectivity, transparency and real time communication.  

Where membership organisations were once all about the face to face events and conferences, now it’s just as important to enable connectivity through a range of digital channels, bringing members together and maximising engagement, anytime and anywhere. 

If you’ve found it challenging to develop your digital experience, 2020 is the time to take a leap forward and put your member and stakeholder needs first.

Here are a few things to consider while developing your strategy.  

1. Communication 

In the last decade we saw a dramatic shift towards virtual digital communication.

We’ve come a long way since phone calls and email, with a generation now obsessed with real time communication and a growing demand for exciting new social media channels, access to free instant messaging and the growing number of virtual communications tools and apps connecting organisations.  

Within a membership context, events and meetings may still be an integral part of the member experience but consider new ways you can facilitate communication between members. People are notoriously time poor, so consider live chats, discussion groups and share interesting insights with members, so that they feel connected with your organisation even if they miss an event or conference.  

2. Automation 

It may still be a few years before we see robots stumbling into our workstations, but automation is here and it’s here to stay. Significant efficiency and revenue gains can be made by thinking carefully about everyday processes that can be automated.

Marketing automation provides one of the greatest opportunities for membership organisations, with the ability to set-up campaigns that can be tailored to specific member behaviours and triggered by specific actions. This means that with one click on your website, a prospect can be sent an email, sent relevant updates on social media, resent an email months later and all without any ongoing human interaction. This sort of automation can be incredibly powerful at all stages of the customer journey, prompting additional interactions and engagement with your organisation. 

By far the greatest opportunity for automation in the sector comes from membership process automation. With sophisticated software making it possible to automate all core processes including renewals, upgrades and the applications. This not only reduces operational costs, but increases efficiency, resulting in a direct impact on business revenues.  

The key to getting automation right is all about maintaining high quality, cleansed and segmented data in a secure database environment. 

3. AI v BI

Although Artificial Intelligence is currently a big sector buzz word, it’s business intelligence that we think offers the greatest short-term benefits when it comes to the 2020 membership organisation.

Why emulate human behaviour with AI, when you have access to real time member behavioural data with BI?   The key to effective Business Intelligence relates to the quality of your data and how you use it. An integrated CRM, website and suite of marketing tools will allow you to track every interaction with each and every member. This will give you the power to analyse trends, review member behaviour and focus resources and time on the things that have a direct impact on member engagement.

4. Connected data  

The internet of things and connected data have been around for some time, but it is only now businesses are truly embracing the power of the cloud and connected systems. Storing data in the cloud not only has benefits when it comes to security, with lower risk of hacking and better opportunities for encryption, but also offers more flexible storage of data and an exciting means for collaboration.  

Cloud systems and remote data access paves the way for a more mobile workforce and more connected membership organisations.  

5. Personalisation 

Online experiences are more valuable than ever, with more consumers and professionals choosing to browse the online world before they even leave the house. Tailored online experiences will get you noticed, will save your customers time and increase your chances of keeping members coming back.  

Your data can be segmented based on behaviour and interests so that no two experiences are the same.  

There were huge lessons to be learnt from the last decade, but perhaps the biggest was the cost of being late to adopt to fast changing technical innovations. Digital transformation is a never-ending process, with member needs always changing. Be ready for change, expect the unexpected and keep your membership organisation ahead of the curve.

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