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CEO to CEO: Unique Marketing Tactics

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, December 2012 Leadership

Summary: Association CEOs share how they've reached out to members, and potential members, in interesting ways.

What unique marketing tactics is your organization employing?

The best marketing has been, and remains, word of mouth. The New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc., catalogs positive feedback from members and others and then uses it in a variety of ways: testimonials, in the media, in packets for legislative visits, for events, and in special publications. This type of marketing allows the message to raise visibility and engage even more satisfied customers.

—Debra L. Wentz, Ph.D., CEO, New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies, Inc., Mercerville, New Jersey

We use Google Alerts to target membership prospects. Upon learning about a new chief, we send a congratulatory letter followed by a phone call from our recruitment manager. If the departing chief is a member, we instantly transfer that membership to the new chief. The new chief benefits with a no-cost membership, and it gives us time to demonstrate our value prior to renewal. This program has been very successful both for recruitment and retention with little marketing expense.

—Mark W. Light, CAE, CEO and executive director, International Association of Fire Chiefs, Fairfax, Virginia

The National Speakers Association began using a customer relationship management system that allows us to gather and segment information about our members and those who may be part of our industry but are either not yet members or are simply interested in buying a la carte programs and services (vs. actually joining). We can use this system both in capturing data about them and then again in how we choose to communicate with them. It creates a much more personal marketing and communication experience.

—Stacy Tetschner, CAE, CEO, National Speakers Association, Tempe, Arizona

There's no substitute for face-to-face meetings, but getting companies or members to the point of taking the meeting requires tenacity and creativity. We offer "be a member for a day" incentives, allowing prospects to participate in a conference or a webinar at the member rate; we invite these prospects to join one of our committee meetings to hear how we discuss regulatory issues and solve problems. We occasionally share a members-only bulletin with our prospects list to give them a taste of industry intelligence and expertise.

—Steve Mister, president and CEO, Council for Responsible Nutrition, Washington, DC

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