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Membership Management and Technology – Article 1

It’s technology – and a whole lot more

In the first of our four-part series of articles on membership management, we look at why it’s a lot more than just technology.

There’s a temptation to view technology – whether it’s CRM, CMS or whatever – as some sort of panacea when it comes to membership management. It isn’t.

Technology can really help in knowing and understanding the membership and help to enhance the member experience which, in turn, will better support the mission of the organisation. It can also help to segment and target based on preferences and behaviour. However, before embarking on technology selection, there are some important steps to consider first.

Technology lifecycle

It is absolutely vital to consider at what stage you are at in your technology lifecycle. First and foremost, do you have Strategic Objectives and a Business Plan? These are essential in terms of providing a framework within which important technology decisions can be made. Once you have these in place, you can then be much clearer about the technologies that will help deliver against the plan, and the benefits that technology can bring to your organisation. Effective membership management requires a multi-faceted effort that incorporates not only the selection, deployment and use of technology and systems, but also how people and business processes integrate and work as part of a ‘bigger picture’.

CRM as a ‘hub’

Yes, you need to harness the value of CRM and other technologies as a ‘hub’ for information about members, sales, marketing effectiveness, market trends and responsiveness. You need that information and you simply cannot deliver member value without it. However, you need the culture, people and processes in place to manage that information effectively to maximise membership value. Technology is definitely an enabler – but consider it as only part of an entire ‘ecosystem’.

Top tips

  • Don’t view technology as a panacea
  • Create a framework for technology decisions
  • Focus on the ‘bigger picture’
  • Consider technology as only one part of an ‘ecosystem’