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

Here are some tips to use when writing your next RFP for surveys or other research services. We like to divide our proposals into the following sections: Introduction and Goal; Questionnaire Design; Research Methodology and Sampling Strategy; Computer Programming and Data Entry; Final Report with Statistical Tables and Graphs; Schedule; Costs; and Company Background.


Company Background--At least one executive should have a college degree that included statistics courses. This can be a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s degree or Ph.D. with courses in research methodology is preferable.


Ownership--Be sure that your assn owns the results.


Costs--Ask for a fixed cost for the research services and it is usual to pay half to start and half at the end. The cost should include design of research methodology and any sampling strategy, q're design, computer programming, data entry, and final report with tables and narrative analysis. With mail surveys there will be additional costs for printing, postage, and mail-related services. With Internet surveys there may be additional costs for sending and hosting.


Schedule--After you cut-off the surveys, it should take no longer than 3 to 4 weeks for the company to produce the final report. In my opinion, if it takes longer than a few weeks they are wasting your time and money.


Final Report--The final report should include a methodology statement, tables, narrative report with analysis, graphs such as pie charts/bar graphs, and an Executive Summary. What if you want more crosstabs in the future? My company offers to produce any crosstabs in the future at no extra cost. The summary statistics at the bottom of each crosstab table should include chi square and mean and possibly more since these help guide the data analyst. Results for salary surveys can be reported by quartiles or every tenth percentile. The summary statistics (at the bottom of each crosstab table) for salary surveys should include mean, median, and mode as well as the lowest and highest salary.


For more info call 703-772-5263

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

Tag lines are powerful for their ability to establish a memorable image and streamline an organization’s mission statement. Here is one challenge and how we solved it.


The Challenge: Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) had changed its name from Future Homemakers of America. Across nearly six decades they had evolved to include boys as well as girls, and to provide a wide range of programs from child development to community youth violence prevention. But the message about how it is different was still not getting across. They hired a firm to facilitate meetings to find a tag line but the groups kept getting deadlocked and could not make progress.


Then they came to us because they know we have a unique methodology for research and breaking logjams - to find the best tag line, count points! We call this methodology Fixed-Sum Preference Scales.


Developing a new tag line was a key part of creating a new image for FCCLA and to find the best tag line we counted points. In focus groups we gave various members 100 points and asked them to spend their points on possible tag lines or words they found the most appealing. One tag line or word could receive all 100 points or the points could be spread among several options. The top picks were then tested again with another 100 points. This allows quantification of the entire process to produce a clear winner. It is also easier for respondents than ranking long lists and it is more effective because it reveals both preference and intensity.


In this process we are going from the general to the specific. The next blog article will describe how various words measured up, and the resulting new tag line.


To learn more about our unique research methodologies visit or call 703-772-5263 or e-mail




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Leah Baker
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