The Missouri State Teachers
Association shares insights in learning to harness the communication tools of
segmentation, social media, and sex.
By Rachel Webb
I thought I
knew the Missouri State Teachers Association.
members are educators and other school personnel who work in Missouri. That
should seem pretty straightforward. Except that it’s not.
down for the "Put Your Data to Work” session at the recent Association Media
& Publishing Annual Meeting in June, I felt like my association is someone
I’ve been dating for more than five years, only to discover that he secretly
likes to dress like Elvis. It’s something that would have been nice to know,
and it leaves me wondering what else he hasn’t told me.
Ellis Booker, and Margie Chiu set me straight. Now I know what I need to know.
communications department has been a leader in social networking and media. We’ve
got it all, and we do it well enough that Association Media & Publishing
gave us a silver award for it. But in terms of our distribution model, we’re
still mostly in the 4 Ps: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. This is the old
way, and we do it pretty well (perhaps since we’ve been doing it for 155 years.)
But we need to switch to a new way.
The new way
is based upon the three Ss: Segmentation, Social Media, and – everybody’s
favorite – Sex.
Segmentation has to come first, and this means
knowing, anticipating, and understanding what your customers need and how to
reach them. For example, a company with a weight-loss product will have some
customers who want to drop a few pounds for bikini season, some who are chronic
dieters, and some who have been ordered to lose weight by their doctors. Each
group needs materials targeted toward their interests.
Social Media is the harder S to measure. This
means that an organization has to know what is influencing the conversation
about them. Facebook makes this difficult because the site has been unfriendly
to services like Rapleaf, which seek to analyze fan involvement.
there is Sex. This is where we have
to give our audience something to look forward to. As a teachers’ association, we’re
about as apple-cheeked wholesome as it gets, but there is still room for sex.
to implementing the three Ss, we must also tailor our publishing to hit
multiple-age demographics. As we in publishing know, the industry is going
digital, but this is more than putting your magazine in an electronic format.
This means a shift toward social media and user-generated content, as well as
understanding generational differences in media use.
people are more likely to go to a news site for information, while younger
people like to get an idea of what’s happening from the overall stream. In the
old way, we were the providers to hunter-gatherers. In the new way, we must
take our content to our readers. No longer can the Highest Paid Person’s
Opinion rule. What we think our members want must be backed up by real metrics.
As we plan
for the next school year, my eyes will be open to new data-collection tools and
opportunities. It looks like data and I will be getting cozy.
Rachel Webb is an associate editor
at Missouri State Teachers Association. Association Media & Publishing
thanks her for covering this Annual Meeting session for our members who were unable to attend.