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Get Control of Member Communication Overload - 9/27/2011 -

Here’s how one association solved the problem of member communications that just kept growing and growing and growing.

By Apryl Motley

How can we get a handle on this?

That’s the question that fueled efforts to better integrate the various channels used to communicate with members of the American Society of Interior Designers.

The first step was "recognizing that the number of communications vehicles was proliferating, and we had lost control of what we were doing,” says Michael Berens, ASID’s director of research, speaking to attendees at Association Media & Publishing’s Annual Meeting.

ASID enlisted Naylor LLC, a provider of print and online media and event management solutions for associations, to assist in creating a single branded space for its communications. "Integration means that each communication vehicle should have a clearly defined purpose, frequency, and audience,” explains Dana Plotke, Naylor’s manager, marketing and research of association services.

"We wanted to integrate, but avoid repeating ourselves by duplicating content,” Berens says. One of the recommendations that Plotke made to help Berens better monitor content was developing a communications calendar that detailed how the organization was communicating with members.

The next key step was assessing what communications ASID wanted to offer versus what its members wanted to receive. Based on this assessment, the organization expanded magazine content onto its website by starting articles in print and then "jumping” readers to the web for additional content. In addition, social media feeds from the magazine were added.

Further, a news tab was added to the publication’s website that replaced a "news flash” members had been receiving via email. "We want to build relationships with members through email,” Berens says of the change. "We want them to be excited about getting emails from us.”

He acknowledges that because ASID’s staff is small, "it was easier to pull everyone together to look at what we were doing and discuss how to send less stuff and still meet everyone’s needs.” According to Plotke, the decision to "leverage the association’s strong brand,” its quarterly online and print publication ICON, proved crucial to this discussion. Berens says, "We now have consistency in branding across communications platforms.”

Apryl Motley, CAE is a communications consultant. Association Media & Publishing thanks her for covering this Annual Meeting session for our members who were unable to attend.


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