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Posted by Ashley Autry on Aug 13, 2019 9:09:28 AM

In simplest terms, successfully managing (and growing) any membership organization boils down to two key objectives. 

Member acquisition. And member retention.

While many membership professionals focus their growth strategies on luring new members into the fold, the bigger and more urgent challenge that most organizations face today is churn – i.e., the unhappy outflow of members who for whatever reason decide their needs have not been adequately met.

For example, more than 20% of members say they have canceled their membership or let it lapse in the last year. And when asked their reason for ending membership, 32% said it was too costly, 19% said it had too little value, 16% forgot to renew, 13% can get same benefits elsewhere, and 12% said there was a decline in benefits.

So what can you do about member churn? Focus heavily on member engagement.

Simply put, member engagement is the ongoing interaction between a member and organization in exchange for meaningful value.

In previous blog posts, we’ve also defined it as “…building relationships with your members, adding value to their lives and capturing their attention just often enough to remind them of the role you play in it so there’s never a doubt.”

For example, 58% of alumni organizations report a lack of engagement as the primary reason members don’t renew.

Member engagement is something many organizations continually contemplate, but rarely take the time to define. A key component mentioned in the definition above is that in order to achieve meaningful engagement, interaction must be frequent. Sending emails one or two times a year won’t cut it.

The other essential piece of information the definition points out, is that there must be value involved in the transaction that is of personal relevance to members. Offering them something like a logoed bottle opener or a campus bookstore discount is unlikely to be enough to cross that perceived value "tipping point."

Member engagement is affirmed, reaffirmed and/or damaged with every interaction, including reading a tweet or Facebook post, a “Like” on Instagram, looking at an email, utilizing member benefits, etc.

Each of these interactions should be connecting the organization with the member’s needs and preferences. Create those relevant messages with frequency, and that’s how member engagement is built.

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Posted by Gary Toyn on Jul 25, 2019 10:33:47 AM

We’ve written previously about the underlying science behind why discounts are such a powerful member/customer engagement tool. Aside from the rush of endorphins that comes from getting a good deal, evolutionary science tells us that our brains are hard-wired to conserve our resources and avoid inefficiencies. That’s why saving money is a universal desire.

So it’s no coincidence that virtually every retailer, airline, supermarket and restaurant offers a discount or rewards program. Most membership organizations understand the potential impact of offering a discount program as part of their membership perks because of how such programs drive member retention (among other favorable behaviors.)

With the increasing popularity of using discounts as rewards and incentives, it’s not surprising that more and more discount programs have sprung up, trying to sell their white-labeled discount network (also called a private-labeled discount network) to member associations, trade organizations and other membership-based groups.

But not all discount networks work the same. And not all can drive member retention and boost acquisition rates.

If your organization is considering a white-labeled discount program to help you connect, attract and engage your members, good for you. It’s a wise decision that has helped many organizations grow.

Once you’ve decided to offer a discount program, what criteria should you use to find the best one suited for your organization? As the competition for your attention intensifies, so too will the intensity of the competing voices who are trying to win your business.

As a result, be prepared to encounter some rather creative methods with how discount networks compare themselves to their competitors. Here are some of the tricks some companies use to trick you, and how they spin their message to get you to sign on the dotted line.

Posted by Ashley Autry on Jul 11, 2019 11:38:50 AM

It seems these days everyone has a loyalty program – coffee shops, restaurants, airlines, education associations, hotels, retailers, etc.

And if you’re not currently rewarding your loyal customers and members for their stellar engagement and dedication to your brand or organization, then it's probably time to get moving.

Why? Because 70% of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand with a good loyalty program, 77% say loyalty programs make them more likely to stay with brands, and 63% say they modify their spending habits to maximize loyalty benefits.

Not only are a lot of businesses, brands and organizations offering loyalty programs, member benefits and discount programs, but a lot of consumers and members are actively participating in them, too.

We're talking 43% of 18-24 year olds, 57% of 25-34 year olds, 66% of 35-44 year olds, 71% of 55-64 year olds and 65% of 65+ years who currently participate in at least one loyalty program.

So, we thought it’d be a good idea to once again delve into our 2018 and 2019 loyalty stats pages to gain some insight on what people really want out of their loyalty program(s).

After all, if a loyalty program is going to effectively do its job – creating higher engagement and long-term loyalty among users – then it has to offer relevant value. So let’s find out what members think is and isn’t valuable when it comes to loyalty programs – at least according to the data.

We’ve ranked these loyalty attributes on a scale of “Heck Yes” → “Nice to Have” → “No Thanks.

Posted by Andrew Graft on Jul 1, 2019 9:34:00 AM

Ray Bradbury – author of the space travel and colonization classic The Martian Chronicles – once wrote, “Half of the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.”

What did Mr. Bradbury mean when he penned this now famous quote? We may never know.

Don’t get the wrong idea, of course. We get the part about travel being extra rewarding when people get far off the beaten path into places they didn't even know existed. (Duh.)

What civilization will always wonder is this. Did he mean “half” in the general sense, as in give or take a third? Or “half” in the 50% sense, where if he’d meant 51 percent, he’d have said 51 percent?

Whatever the math behind Ray’s statistical calculations, one thing we know for sure…

People looooooove to travel.

Families and individuals of all ages, sizes and incomes. To faraway lands. For weekend getaways. To pursue new business deals. With kids. Without kids. On planes, trains, automobiles, boats and buses.

And when it comes to the best corporate discount programs, association member benefits, and membership perks in general, discounted travel is often among the most hotly pursued additions to the mix. Why? Because lots of money AND emotional expectation are wrapped up in most of our travel purchase decisions.

So to better understand today’s traveler, we at Access have compiled what we believe is a comprehensive “ultimate collection” of statistics having to do with the travel and tourism industry. We've tried to make this list as relevant as possible, which means we combed through recent research from travel and tourism related sources.

Most of these stats are focused on Americans who travel – though other nationalities may creep into the mix from time to time. We've provided source links for each statistic. Sometimes you’ll find the data conflicts with other sources - so we’ll leave it up to you to decipher which is most accurate.

We'll keep this list updated regularly with the latest and greatest. If you know of a stat we're missing, or want your own research included in our collection, leave us a note in the comments. Enjoy!

Posted by Ashley Autry on Jul 1, 2019 9:18:47 AM

Access is often used by subscription services as a way for them to bring extra value to their product and customers. Discounts offered on or with these subscription-based services are more relevant than ever before as their popularity continues to increase. And we’re predicting this trend will only continue to pick up steam as it’s already grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years.

But what do we mean by “subscription services” exactly?

A subscription service involves paying a certain amount of money in regular intervals to receive a product or service –  everything from magazine subscriptions (i.e. People), to TV and music streaming (i.e. HBO NOW & Apple Music) and subscription boxes (i.e. Birchbox).

15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions and the average amount of subscriptions an active subscriber holds is two, but nearly 35% have three or more.

And as popular as these services are becoming, they are just as popularly being canceled (known in the industry as "churn"). Overall, 40% of e-commerce subscribers have canceled their subscriptions, with more than one-third canceling in less than three months and over half canceling within six.

The subscription service game is a hard one to play. With high churn rates, consumers are looking for some kind of added value that makes them stay - a big part of the reason so many of them start working with Access. So what is it that influences consumers to 1) sign up for a subscription service, 2) cancel it, or 3) become a long-term customer? These stats offer some insight:

Why do people say they sign up for subscription services?

  • It was recommended by someone (68%)
  • They wanted to try something new (66%)
  • It came with a financial incentive (65%)
  • They specifically needed the product (37%)
  • They liked the subscription model (34%)
  • It had the flexibility to cancel (30%)

Reasons given for cancelling subscriptions:

  • Insufficient value for the money (78%)
  • Dissatisfied with product/experience (77%)
  • Preference to buy when needed (69%)
  • Lack of flexibility (45%)
  • Found better subscription (30%)

Factors that positively influence retention among subscribers

  • Personalized experience (78%)
  • Convenience (56%)
  • Value for the money (54%)
  • Tailored experience (49%)
  • Surprise and delight (38%)
  • Sense of community (24%)

Because of the current trendiness when it comes to subscription services and the fairly saturated market for them right now, we thought it’d be interesting to highlight 10 subscription service picks that we think are doing it right and bringing value to the customer.

Posted by Gary Toyn on Jun 6, 2019 9:28:07 AM

When membership organizations make bad decisions, we can learn a lot from their mistakes. Here is a tongue-in-cheek look at ten easy ways to smother member loyalty and engagement.  About a 7 minute read.

My role as a marketing consultant has allowed me to work with all types and sizes of membership organizations. From large organizations with a million or so members, to small non-profit and trade groups with just a few thousand members. Most organizations seem to get it. They’ve figured out how to adapt to meet the unique needs of their members, and they can seamlessly integrate our discount platform into their existing suite of member benefits and privileges.

A few others -- dare I say -- are unprepared for success.

They have so many fundamental problems with how they run their organization that adding a powerful engagement tool like ours will actually make matters worse.

After more than a decade in working with various groups, I’ve noticed some important patterns among the few groups that struggle the most. The ones that have a knack for suffocating member engagement.

I think there’s great value in learning from the mistakes of others, so here’s my list of the ten easiest ways an organization can smother their member loyalty and engagement: