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March 13, 2006

Are association memberships impulse-buys?

So much (too much, really) attention has been directed recently to the emotional side of selling and marketing memberships, that I was delighted to see this little counter point from Kevin Whorton of Whorton Marketing & Research recently on ASAE's Membership Section listserv:

"Our past research has indicated that renewals
are more of a logical than an emotional decision."

I e-mailed Kevin to find out more about this research, and he stated that while the research was more qualitative than quantitative, we had an interesting discussion about the logical and emotional sides of membership renewals. He concluded,

"...renewal really is a hard and fast issue,
especially for those individuals in their critical
first year of trial/adoption who are specifically
the individuals that associations need to keep if
they are to grow and replace their older members."

Emotion can override logic, even when it comes to membership purchase decisions. But I suspect you would have to crank up emotions to a pretty high level in order to get someone to renew on feeling rather than logic. And how much emotion can you really conjure up through a letter, e-mail, invoice, or telemarketing call?

Lesson? Taking advantage of face to face interactions with members is crucial. It may be your only chance to make an emotional connection with them.

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