If you thought that engaging potential members for your professional or trade association simply meant sending out a newsletter, get ready for a rude awakening. In the ever-competitive world of member recruitment and retention, the latest trend is the experience. An experience can be defined as engagement that connects, as opposed to simple engagement such as a newsletter or website visit. Even content marketing, which is an invaluable piece of the marketing landscape in the digital age, is no match for creating an experience. The experience differs in that you are actively engaging a member or potential member, but you are also connecting with them on a level that exists much deeper than the casual contact.
Notable Experiences in Today’s World of Business
There are many examples of companies creating experiences for customers these days, and many are done through experiential technologies. These technologies allow customers to interact with the brand, even if in a remote way. For example, Coca-Cola has introduced a number of different vending machines that require an action from a customer in order to receive a free soft drink. Two recent examples include requiring a consumer to hug someone in order to receive a drink, while another required a consumer to dance in order to receive a free drink. McDonald’s also recently used its “Pay With Love” campaign to entice consumers by providing free food to customers who carried out an act of love or kindness.
Why Experiences Matter
In the above examples these companies were giving away a product. However, what they lost in revenue, they gained in consumer experiences, and these experiences can go a long way. Consider this: When you see a billboard for a product or service, will that entice you to do business more than if the company actually interacted with you on a human level? This is why experiences matter. They create an actual moment with a consumer, a moment that does not get relegated to the clutter of the mind that is full of television commercials, Internet ads, radio spots, and so on. In a nutshell, an experience carries much more weight than traditional marketing.
How to Create an Experience
In order to create an experience for potential members or current members of your trade or professional association or organization, simply think about what your group has to offer and then find a way to connect. You could do something as simple as offering a question-and-answer session with one of the authors of a publication your group supports, or you could set up a booth in which attendees to a conference are able to superimpose their faces onto the cover of a publication. They could then receive a high-quality printout of the picture. In the end, you want to make people remember your organization or association by creating a meaningful connection that will be not only remembered, but talked about for many years to come.