Resetting Membership Engagement Strategy With Some Classic Marketing Tools

Read how OSPE reset their membership engagement strategy through the lens of marketing

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) is a mid-sized membership-based association with a prime goal of advocating for the needs of the province’s engineering community. Like many associations, we have been building momentum with a new strategic plan, a renewed membership engagement team and lots of energy.

But in 2018, it was time to level up and align the full team of 17 staff to achieve more meaningful engagement across all career stages of our members. We embarked on a classic and holistic approach to viewing our opportunities through the lens of marketing strategy and planning to help us connect the dots with our corporate strategy.

Problem & opportunity

OSPE wanted to improve our engagement with our members to drive better bottom-line growth. The opportunity was to increase membership and revenue to help support core advocacy initiatives.

We mapped our problems, and here are the basic diagnoses

  • Students and young professionals were engaged, but this wasn’t translating into the mid-career engagement necessary to support advocacy initiatives.
  • Our board and management saw the membership team as “very productive” and “skilled,” but leaders were not sure how it was “all adding up.”
  • Our organization is investing heavily in provincial advocacy, but membership surveys showed that members perceived very little benefits from our advocacy efforts.

The opportunity was to be more member-driven and to expand our representation of the engineering community in Ontario.

Action

We wanted to get back to basics and develop OSPE’s fundamentals of membership engagement. Grounded in the methodologies of marketing strategy, we set a course of action to help us focus on:

  • Value proposition — creating focus, clarity and unified understanding across the organization
  • Personas — probing, observing and improved understanding of the needs and wants of current and future members to serve them better
  • Marketing intelligence — increasing our confidence in decision-making capabilities by attaining market knowledge through improved digital analytics and CRM-driven dashboarding
  • Customer experience design and planning — focusing on bringing together professionals from across the province and from different backgrounds and disciplines

Solution

OSPE has completed this strategic marketing work and we now have a confident and unified approach to aligning all activities to drive member engagement. The guesswork about what members want has been removed and there is a clear roadmap for what lies ahead. From the board to the membership team, we have shifted our view of our members, learned to mobilize more effectively on actionable insights, and set a solid, methodical approach to membership engagement.

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