Posted by Brandon Carter on Jan 17, 2017 8:28:00 AM

Last week we made a strong suggestion that companies get rid of all their customers - and replace them with members.

A customer is someone who buys something. A member is someone who belongs to something.

We should all aim to have members, even if we don't have a formal membership structure. Members, in this sense, are customers who have developed a deeper, ongoing relationship with your product or brand.

These relationships don’t happen by accident. Some brands can develop deep cult followings, but not all of us can be Apple or Starbucks.

We can however, borrow specific tactics from membership groups designed to build engagement and long-term loyalty.

Start small. Try any of these 17 engagement tactics used by some of the largest membership organizations in the world.

To open 2016, we put forth a bold suggestion that would help every company create better customer engagement and loyalty.

We doubt any of you took the new business budget and dumped it all into retention. But hopefully the idea of engagement and loyalty having a big voice at the table resonated.

This year, we have another big idea.

Kinda crazy.

Kinda paradigm shifty, if jargon is your thing.

Here it is: get rid of all your customers.

Beginning today, you have no customers. Zero.

"Why would I do something that stupid?" you may be asking.

Well, hear us out for a minute.

Posted by Brandon Carter on Dec 27, 2016 9:34:00 AM

It's hard to believe that another year is already at an end, but the cold weather and snow outside our office are constant reminders that 2017 is just around the corner.

Looking back, 2016 was probably our best year ever. We know, it seems like we say that every year!

But it's true - Access Development experienced more growth and success than ever before. 2016 was just the latest in a steady upward trend for several years in a row now.

So what happened this year that's been so great? Here are just a few highlights from Access' 2016:

Think of a professional association or membership organization you’re a member of.

Now think of the benefits you get from being a member of said organization.

Maybe some networking, the occasional event. Access to a private online community, perhaps.

These are all fundamentals of a successful membership.

But dig deeper into the benefits. What else is there?

Is there anything that appeals to non-members, outsiders?

Is there anything that catches the attention? Anything unique, unusual, or intriguing?

Is there something you can use right now that will have a positive impact on your personal happiness or well-being?

Every membership organization needs their extra little something. A benefit tailored to their membership that speaks to their specific needs, or is just outright fun.

Fill in the blank: To get the most out of my offering, my customers need to _________.

What’s in the blank?

What you fill in that blank with is your best shot at customer loyalty. It's what you need to put customers on a collision course with from the moment they first purchase. 

Here are some sample essential actions you may have experienced for yourself recently:

A few years ago, everyone was declaring the end of the instruction manual.

It was an odd time - consumer technology and everything it’s capable of was rapidly advancing, yet our interest in digesting instructions on how to maximize said technology was going away.

For many it was fine. Most smartphones and tablets are intuitive enough, and everybody has at least one wicked smart nephew they can call in a pinch.

We still don’t read manuals, but there’s been a reversion back to instructions and tutorials. Your new iPhone has a “Tips” app that reveals some of the less-intuitive features of the device. Many apps, in fact, have a tutorial upon first use.

It’s not just technology though. Look through your grocery store - most items come with cooking instructions, but now nearly everything has recipes on it. WD-40 and baking soda come with suggested uses.