Mass marketing is so 1990's! Spend spend/waste wasteThis blog will take you in a different direction. It focuses on association recruitment and retention of members by using targeted methods and communications, and there will be an occasional sojourn into related topics of interest. Rather than discuss the broad, the general, and the "same old," the goal of this blog is to provide useful tools, fact sheets that answer specific questions, and inspiration to those looking to make their jobs more interesting and fun.Thank you for visiting and I welcome your feedback and ideas.

Posted By Leah Baker

When you start a new marketing project you want to work smart, spend money wisely, build member loyalty, and find new members. But before you start spending on hit-or-miss mass marketing or direct marketing, ask the following questions of the companies you are considering or of your staff. Remember, you do not want to start a project that uses guess-work as the strategy, and that is based on most people tossing your brand into the trash!


Q What response rate is expected? With mass marketing/direct marketing it is usually 1% to 2%.


Q How many times does the mailing go out? Some mass marketers say it has to go out nine or ten times.


Q How much of your brand and logo ends up in the trash? Probably over 95% of the mass marketing mail ends up in the trash which means a lot of people are rejecting you. This cannot be good for your assn since your brand is now associated with rejection. And it is not environmentally conscious since it can mean thousands of pieces of paper thrown away.


Q Are gimmicks constantly used? Some discounts here, some new sentences there. I believe mass marketers/direct marketers often rely on gimmicks because they do not know what works best.  


Q Do you have the feeling the project is hit-or-miss? Selecting lists for mass marketing/direct marketing is not based on scientific methods, and they may not be as current as you think.


Q Is there any sophistication to the strategy? It will probably lack any underlying philosophy or innovative methodology.


Q How expensive is it? There is the cost of the project, cost of rejection, cost of lost opportunities, and sometimes you pay the hidden costs of high rent and high salaries. Just how much are you giving away to find a new member?


There is a better way to do assn marketing that is personalized, targeted, cost-efficient, and effective. It is called member segmentation and target marketing or YTheyJoin™. Call 703-772-5263 or e-mail

Posted By Leah Baker

 YTheyJoin™ knows that members have varying needs and expectations. They attend meetings, buy products, read articles, become volunteer leaders, and mobilize for action at varying rates. By understanding their needs and expectations you can segment members into nine types such as Shapers, Cognoscenti, and Altruistics. It starts by asking members or prospects a simple question, “what do you expect from the association?”


How is member segmentation and target marketing different from other methods?


* It is unlike data mining that is based on past behavior, is time-consuming, and has little or no info on first-year members.


* It is unlike mass marketing/direct marketing that is expensive, wasteful, assumes everyone is the same, and achieves very low response rates.


* It is unlike membership surveys that just go to a small, random sample and answers are not recorded in member records.


* It is unlike membership or renewal applications that are cold and impersonal.


YTheyJoin gives you the opportunity to change all this. It may be the only time you ask every member why they wrote the check and what they expect. The one-page form (see May 14 article in this blog) goes to all members and their most important answers are recorded in your member database. Members appreciate being asked about their needs, and a personal relationship can be established. It makes your job easier and personal relationships also lead to increased loyalty to the association. The form can also be given to prospective members and in that case you ask, "why would you join the association?"


For more info about the YTheyJoin program, visit, e-mail or call 703-772-5263 in the U.S. We welcome inquiries from around the world.

Posted By Leah Baker

     Yes, mass marketing is so 1990's. Spend spend/waste waste. You spend lots of money on mailings to random lists, assuming everyone is the same, to achieve maybe a two-percent response rate. Think of all the paper you sent that ended up in a trash can. Way over ninety-percent of the people you contacted rejected you and how can this be good for your association?

     Did you know there is a better way? Did you know there is a way to achieve high response rates? Did you know there is a way to save a lot of trees? And you can look like a star in the process!

     Sure, it is easy to sit back and send the same letter to everyone or have a vendor do this. If that is your nature, then you will not be interested in this blog. For those who are looking for a better way to serve members, to save money, to increase retention, and to make their jobs more interesting please read on.

     No, this is not about data mining that takes a lot of time and money, is based on past behavior, and gives you little information about newer members. And this is not about membership surveys that go to a small random sample and the results remain anonymous.

     This is about target marketing and the best way to do this is to get to know your members--learn about their professional needs--and record this information in their member record. Want to sell books? Go to those who say they are interested in your publications. Need help with legislative affairs? Go to those who say they are interested in grassroots efforts. Want to staff committees? Go to those who say they are ready to serve.

     I can hear you now! "My database is a mess!" "My to-do list is very long right now!"

     Hey, target marketing as I describe it can go into any database and the time involved is small. As a matter of fact, it will save you time overall. Target marketing takes three steps and I will describe them in my next blog article.






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Leah Baker
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