The thought came to me that it would be helpful to outline the same type of assessment in the area of membership marketing. Is it possible to evaluate an organization's level of sophistication in membership marketing?
I have been thinking about this for the past couple of weeks, so this concept is very developmental. I thought that I would share this proposed model and benefit from your feedback and insight. I am calling the Membership Marketing Maturity Model the 4M’s.
The model has four levels of maturity: (1.) Initial -- everyone has to start someplace, (2.) Basic, (3.) Good, and (4.) Great – a la the Seven Measures of Success.
The first driver for evaluating maturity that I have is management. So today, let’s take a look at the maturity model as it relates to the organizational management of membership marketing.
- Initial: When organizations start out with membership marketing it is typically a board driven initiative. This is good. One of the roles of leadership is to initiate. A board member might say, “Let’s all call our friends and ask them to join or renew.” However, this model is dependent on volunteerism, so it is not often sustainable or scalable. An organization will not thrive for long by staying in this early stage of maturity.
- Basic: At the basic level, the organization realizes that membership marketing takes a level of professionalism. Membership marketers are experienced with the principles, tools, and techniques that are needed. They competently manage the membership marketing process, but goals are handed down from the board or senior management based on the imperative de jour. They may have responsibility, but not authority.
- Good: Management drives membership marketing through research, testing, and analysis. Goals, strategies and budgets are based on data. However, the organization’s operational constrictions, bylaws, or departmental silos impose a drag on the achievement of the membership marketing opportunities.
- Great: A great membership marketing organization has a unified vision for growth. It brings together the people with expertise and talent; market data based decision-making; and the necessary “structures, processes, and interactions” to achieve this vision.
As always, your feedback is appreciated. With input from others, my hope is that the 4M’s will be a tool that organizations can use in measuring and benchmarking their membership development program.
 Seven Measures of Success, page 24.