According to the recent MemberWise Digital Excellence Report, member engagement is still a top priority for membership organizations, however, legacy technology, data silos, and poor integrations are key blockers to improving digital engagement.
In our recent webcast with GRM Digital, we explored why understanding your digital experience maturity can help you overcome these challenges, and how our digital experience maturity model will ensure you’re making the right technology investment choices to reach your membership goals.
The importance of member engagement.
The most recent MemberWise report found that the top three priorities for membership organizations haven’t changed since 2018.
Member value came in at number four, pushing member satisfaction to fifth place.
Member engagement is on the rise thanks to organizations investing in their digital strategies. However, only 53% of membership organizations are actually measuring engagement, with most unable to do so.
According to the report: “Members expect an interactive, engaging, and value-driven online experience”. Being able to deliver personalized experiences that make your members feel like VIPs whenever they interact with your organization, therefore, should be a top concern. Your content should be entertaining and tailored to their specific interests. Members should be able to communicate with one another, enjoy members-only content, participate in your gamification initiatives, and self-serve whenever possible.
If you fail to deliver on these, not only are you not engaging members, but you’re not reminding them of why they should stay with you.
Key obstacles membership organizations face
Membership organizations face some major obstacles in delivering the kind of experience their members crave:
No data strategy.
A mere 21% of all membership organizations have a data strategy in place. Either they’re using legacy platforms that are unable to share data, or they’re investing in new technology but not taking data into consideration when they do. This results in a lack of insights and inadequate data management. Without data, you’ll not be able to measure what is and isn’t working, learn why your members join in the first place, or understand why they’re leaving.
According to the report, only 65% of all membership organizations’ websites are integrated with their Association Management System (AMS) – otherwise known as member databases e.g. CRM, member database etc. Inadequate integration across your technology stack will result in valuable data being siloed, a disjointed view of your members, and an inability to put your digital tools to best use.
Despite engagement being a top priority, and members crying out for more personalized experiences, just 39% of all membership organizations are investing in delivering them. In fact, only 13% of personalization even reaches beyond “Dear <first name>”. Members expect more. Much more. But to deliver personalized experiences, you don’t just need the tools that enable it; you need to data to feed it with.
What is digital experience maturity?
As discussed in the webcast, digital experience maturity refers to your organization’s level of sophistication in measuring and delivering digital member experiences across your various touchpoints.
In order to deliver good experiences, you need visibility into how your customers are behaving and why, as well as the ability to turn those insights into actions that iteratively improve the experience in an infinite loop of observation and enhancement.
Simply attracting members to your website is not enough. You need to deliver a stand-out personalized customer experience across your website, mobile site, apps, and social channels to ensure your members are welcomed, treated like VIPs, nurtured, and impressed at every step of their digital journey with you.
But in order to do this, you must first understand where you’re at on your own digital journey.
Digital maturity is not about having all the fancy tools that do all the fancy things; it’s about having the right tools for the job at hand and being able to use them effectively to reach your goals. Only when you understand what level of digital maturity you’re at, can you see clearly what your next steps should be to get where you want to go—it’s about getting the most value out of your technology stack in order to drive membership engagement and ROI.
The digital experience maturity model for membership organizations
Let’s explore digital experience maturity from a “delivering engaging membership experiences” perspective.
1. Providing good quality content that keeps members coming back for more
Where are you at?
Are you still copying and pasting content from your editor to your publisher, then from your website to your mobile app, and from there to your social channels? If so, your current maturity level is somewhere between a Home and a Hamlet. It could be time to consider content workflows.
If you’re already using content workflows (like Google docs, MS Office 365, or a DXP), then you’re moving up the maturity levels for content creation and can start considering moving onto managing content in many languages with automated translation services, and doing sentiment analysis to check output sentiment before content publishing and to filter client inputs. These capabilities will help you move your maturity level.
There is no point in investing in sentiment analysis if you’re still copying and pasting your content. So understanding where you’re at on that journey helps you work out what capabilities you should be considering next.
2. Having a strong data strategy and smooth data sharing abilities
If you’re doing basic CRM integrations and utilizing low-code platform integrations to enable basic lead-collecting or sending of visitor data from online forms to your CRM, then you’re at level Village.
Your next investment would be in integrating your external data sources (like PIM, ERP, accounting systems, and AMS) in order to drive better personalization experiences.
Of course, as you grow, you’ll likely need multiple integrations with your AMS and more (e.g. CRM, background calculators, SAP SuccessFactors, ERP systems etc.). This creates a complex ecosystem requiring a higher level of digital maturity. You need a central hub from which to work that also serves as your single source of truth for data fed by two-way integrations from your various other systems.
3. Delivering the highly coveted personalized member experience
Personalization requires a decent digital maturity level to begin with. This is because you first needed to get your integrations within your technology stack implemented, as these are essential to your personalization efforts.
Now it makes sense to invest in personalization tools that enable website content and rule-based personalization to your contact groups and personas. Then, once you’ve got that in hand, you can think about moving on to leveraging Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning capabilities to enable 1:1 personalized content.
As your digital maturity grows, you get more confident in your decisions, can be selective in where to place your efforts, can adapt to feedback and market changes, and can keep your organization ahead of the curve and the competition.
What is your digital maturity?
The digital experience maturity model will help you assess your own digital sophistication, see clearly where your efforts should be going to progress you along your maturity pathway, and impart valuable tips and tricks that will get you closer to your audiences.
Free digital experience maturity model ebook
Attendees of the webcast were offered a free digital maturity assessment by GRM Digital, but for those who couldn’t make it, you can get your own copy of the digital experience maturity model, so you can work out where you’re at, where you’re going, and the steps you need to take to get there.
In our experience, most membership organizations are around the Village level. Let us know if that's the same for you!
Alternatively, catch up with one of our experts who will happily share more insights about digital experience maturity for free.
Subscribe to the Kentico Xperience newsletter
You'll receive our newsletter once a month with all the updates you need to know to keep you in the loop with the Kentico Xperience community. Just the hits—guaranteed.