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Benchmark survey executivesummary

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Benchmark survey executivesummary

  1. 1. 2011 Association Communications Benchmarking SurveyThe definitive annual report on best practices and peer benchmarking data exclusively serving the association community Conducted by Naylor, LLC, and the Association Adviser in partnership with the Association Societies Alliance Executive summary A ssociation DVISER Follow us: A SSOCIATION DVISER .com
  2. 2. 2011 Association Communications Benchmarking Survey – EXECUTIVE SUMMARYEconomic, demographic, technological and social factors are making it increasingly challenging for North American trade associations andprofessional societies to retain members and maintain their position as thought leaders. As the pressure on communication effectivenessmounts, our latest research shows that associations of all sizes and operating budgets have ramped up the pace, the volume and the varietyof ways in which they’re communicating with their members—but they aren’t sure if they’re communicating more effectively.While 90 percent of the 674 respondents to our just-completed comprehensive online survey of association leaders stated they werecommunicating with members more frequently than they did three years ago, fewer than half (45.8%) felt their members would say they’recommunicating more effectively, and nearly two-thirds (62%) believe their members ignore at least half of all the communications sent bythe association. How would you rate the overall effectiveness of your communications relative to your peers? Best in class 9.1% Above average 49.4% Average 38.2% Below average or poor 3.4% 0 15 30 45 60 Source: Naylor, LLC, and Association Adviser, 2011 What percentage of your overall communication vehicles do you believe members are reading on a regular basis? Less than 25% 14.9% 25% to 50% 47.1% 51% to 75% 27.3% 76% or more 10.6% 0 15 30 45 60 Source: Naylor, LLC, and Association Adviser, 2011© Copyright 2011 Naylor, LLC, and Association Adviser. All rights reserved.5950 N.W. 1st Place • Gainesville, FL 32607 • (352) 333-3358
  3. 3. 2011 Association Communications Benchmarking Survey – EXECUTIVE SUMMARYInformation overload—cited by 53.6 percent of respondents—was the top communication challenge for association leaders, followed by: • Inability to communicate member benefits more effectively (32.1% agreed) • Struggling to remain their industry’s No.1 source of information (28.4% agreed) • Inability to customize communications for their SIGs and sub-communities (23.1% agreed)Despite widespread consternation over information overload, 74 percent of respondent indicated they had no policy for monitoringthe frequency of communication sent to members—or simply didn’t enforce it. What’s more, one-third (35.4%) of respondents reportedthat they did not monitor their reputations online and nearly half (45.2%) assigned an administrative or IT person to handle their onlinepresence—not a content or communications specialist.On the bright side, our data suggests associations are adapting to the fast-changing media consumption patterns and expectations of theirmembers: • Nearly two-thirds (66.5%) of survey respondents have changed their organization’s “flagship” communication vehicle during the past three years—it’s no longer the member magazine by default • More than 70 percent of respondents now make their member magazine content available online or in e-zine form • 58 percent are developing online-only premium content for members • 57 percent are offering, or planning to offer, virtual attendance options for their live events • Two-thirds (66.3%) will be increasing their reliance on webinars and social media as primary tools for listening to membersSo how do associations learn to communicate more effectively with their time-pressed, media-saturated members on members’ preferredterms? How do they customize their offerings to appeal to member sub-groups? How do they measure their progress (or lack thereof)and invest their resources more appropriately to mesh with member preferences? And how can an integrated communication programbenefit them? That’s the impetus for this report, prepared by Naylor, LLC, in partnership with the Association Adviser enews, the executivedirectors of six state societies of association executives (SAEs), and M. Sean Limon, Ph.D., oral communication coordinator in the Center forManagement Communication at the University of Florida’s Warrington College of Business Administration.Survey methodology and respondent profileIn December 2010 and January 2011, the Association Communication Benchmarking Survey was sent via e-mail to senior staff membersof nearly 7,000 North American trade associations and professional societies in 90 industries. Respondents were offered a $5 gift card asan incentive to complete the 54-question multiple choice online questionnaire. When the survey closed on January 28, 2011, 674 surveyshad been satisfactorily completed, including 533 (79.1%) that were completed in full. More than 70 percent of respondents identifiedthemselves as senior management, with 55 percent holding the title of executive director, president or CEO.To order a copy of the full report, please go to https://ssl.naylor.com/benchmarking© Copyright 2011 Naylor, LLC, and Association Adviser. All rights reserved.5950 N.W. 1st Place • Gainesville, FL 32607 • (352) 333-3358