What is “engagement” and how do you measure it? These are questions that associations have been grappling with for many years and will continue to do so. We would like to add five research-based observations to the engagement conversations:
- We find it’s important to distinguish between strategies for engagement and strategies for membership sales. One has to do with experience; the other with promises. The two issues are often confused in research and membership development initiatives.
- Our experience also indicates that what earns engagement is not that complicated. How each of the requirements for engagement manifest does require informed thoughtfulness.
- Popular writings on generational issues tend to treat each generation as monolithic. Decision- focused research demonstrates that they are actually composed of definable segments with differing motivations and preferences.
- There are important choices in strategy that are often overlooked when the focus is on size rather than success. Will the primary priority for allocations be to maximizing the contribution of the engaged or to pursuing new participants?
- There is an important distinction between segmentation and stereotyping. We see too many research efforts ignore the difference. If I say “because you have this characteristics, you will behave this way”- that’s stereotyping. If I say “because you behave this way you belong in this group” – that’s segmentation.
Read Leigh’s thought on engagement: It’s Not That Simple.