john spence speaking to audience about ai for customer engagement webinar

Whoever Owns the Voice of the Customer Owns the Market: Our Upcoming Webinar

Whoever owns the Voice of the Customer, owns the market

Our team at is joining world-renowned business leader, John Spence, to deliver an action-packed educational webinar focused on how to understand and own the Voice of the Customer.  

John Spence: Business thought leader and world renowned speaker

John Spence is known worldwide for his talent at making complex business challenges simple - awesomely simple. A key area of focus in John’s teachings is that a company must truly listen to the voice of the customer and deeply understand it, to own a market. Historically, gathering the insights necessary to understand the voice of the customer in depth, with breadth, and with high frequency, has been challenging.

Today, there are unprecedented opportunities to gain the necessary insights on a daily basis with both depth and breadth, and understand the voice of the customer like never before. The question now is, is your firm ready to listen?

Using AI to understand the voice of the customer

Our team at is partnering with John to deliver this new educational program that combines his practical lessons on strategy and execution with the latest in cutting edge applications of Artificial Intelligence. Using AI, we can now understand the customer in ways that even the customer sometimes doesn’t notice. We can gather insights in a non-invasive and elegant way that is completely privacy-safe, and utilize those insights to better serve each and every customer in a unique way.

We can further utilize these insights to develop new products and services ahead of the competition and reach new opportunities faster. Experimentation and innovation requires a steady stream of new ideas and having deep and real time insights into the customer’s viewpoints, preferences and personalities, at scale, provides us all with a new paradigm to consider.  

Webinar hosts

John is an author, business management consultant, executive trainer and speaker. He is recognized as one of the top 100 business thought leaders and one of the top 500 leadership development experts in the world.

I am a serial software entrepreneur. I have founded, scaled and sold several successful companies including Aptify, a worldwide leader in software for non-profits and member-based organizations.  My team at and I are focused on using Artificial Intelligence to “Better Inform the World”. We use AI to understand customers better than ever and use those insights to curate and personalize content in new ways. We are also able to share those insights with our clients using methods that are deeply informative while maintaining privacy safety.  

In this webinar, John and I will discuss the John Spence Formula for Business Excellence, the Voice of the Customer, and how AI can be leveraged to better understand the Voice of the Customer than ever before.   

John will explain why "extreme customer focus" is an essential strategy for creating a highly successful business and offer several suggestions for how to better connect with your customers. I will share how AI can be used to optimize customer engagement by gathering behavioral insights, and we will both share how to take action on the knowledge you gain.

AI: Made awesomely simple

Many people hear the words “artificial intelligence” and think complex and maybe even scary.  John has made a career of “Making the Very Complex…Awesomely Simple”. In this webinar, we will do just that by breaking down how AI can make your life simpler and your customer experience better and more successful.

Register for our webinar today if you are interested in learning more about using artificial intelligence to better understand your customer.



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Our One Billion Person BHAG

One Billion Person BHAG

What is a BHAG?

BHAG stands for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goal. It is a far-out, massive-scale aspiration that an organization establishes in order to motivate the internal team, and all other stakeholders, in working together toward a uniting goal. It should be consistent with an organization’s purpose and values, and it should join a team in action. Typically BHAGs are goals that an organization sets with a ten to thirty year time commitment in mind, and they are simple enough for people to understand without an extensive, supporting explanation.

The History of the BHAG

The idea of the BHAG was first conceptualized by best-selling author and business visionary James Collins in his book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies. Collins explains that BHAGs have the potential to change the very nature of the company, to one that is inspired to consistently work outside of its comfort zone in order to achieve seemingly impossible results.


At, we seek to cut through the noise created by the inundation of content that people see on a daily basis by delivering only the most relevant and personalized information to their inboxes. And our BHAG reflects just that: “By 2030 we will improve the lives of one billion people around the world with better information.”

Our BHAG together with our Core Purpose

At, our core purpose is To Better Inform The World. We seek to deliver the most relevant information to people, and we do so one inbox at a time.

So how do we do it? How do we cut through all of that content noise? We leverage Artificial Intelligence in order to pull only the most relevant information into a given user’s email newsbrief. We are inspired to be the so-very-needed filter on the endless stream of not-so-useful content.

We help associations and other organizations spread their missions of informing their members and greater communities. Once our customers identify the most authoritative content outlets in their industry, we ensure that only the most relevant articles from their sources are delivered to their members’ inboxes. And it takes no extra work on the part of the organizations in order to reach these ‘segments of one.’ This allows our customers to be at the forefront of the most important news in their spaces and deliver that news under their trusted brands.

BHAG and our day to day

So how do we work on meeting our BHAG and progressing toward our ultimate aspiration? Our BHAG, along with our core purpose, (and our supporting values), inform and guide us in our daily interactions. We talk about all of these tenets that guide our business on a regular basis: we reference them in making important decisions; we acknowledge them in our successes and failures; and we let them inform discussion in our huddles, our various weekly meetings, and our company meetings.

Most importantly, in our company meetings, we measure a critical number that directly reflects progress toward our BHAG: the number of people who have received information from Although we are relatively early in our purposeful journey, it is fun to objectively monitor and measure the movement we have made, and we have already touched the lives of thousands upon thousands.

Using to develop and meet your BHAG

We want to support others on their journeys toward meeting their Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. One aspect of our AI technology that our customers appreciate most is the fact that they can use to send industry news automatically to their members. This can help them concentrate additional time and effort on other methods of fulfilling their core purposes, experimentation, and meeting their BHAGs.

We are excited about the progress that we have made and the future that awaits us. We will be sure to keep you informed of our progress as we work toward our one billion person BHAG, and we are here to teach you more about’s mission in the meantime.

Association members shaking hands after being connected with artificial intelligence software

3 Ways to Experiment with AI at Your Association Right Now - Part III: Using Artificial Intelligence to Help Forge Member Connections

With its low barrier to entry, you can start planning how AI can help you bridge the engagement gap between your association and members right now. Most members only engage with their associations on an infrequent basis; they might attend an in-person event every now and then, or watch a webinar a few times a year. Maybe they read your newsletter, but benchmark open rates show that most probably don’t. Artificial intelligence software makes it possible for you to make your members’ experiences more meaningful by changing the way they connect with others in the organization.

Help members make intelligent connections

The top reason members join associations, according to MGI’s annual membership marketing benchmark report, is to network with others in their field. But how do they do this? Some, usually a minority, meet fellow members at in-person events. Others are extroverted enough to find like-minded members in online communities. But many struggle to find and develop relationships with members who could become their peers, mentors, or industry partners.

AI to the rescue. AI taps into behavioral data to steer members toward the people they would most want to meet online. For example, a young professional could find other members her age with similar positions and interests who may want to join her in a virtual mastermind group. Or that same member could find someone who’s about five years further along the career path who could act as a mentor. AI can also lead members to the most relevant content, conference sessions, exhibitors, educational programs, and products.

AI goes one step further than many of the matchmaking apps on the market—it tracks what happens after a member connects with someone else. Again, this is a task (and benefit) that staff wouldn’t normally be able to fit into their workload.

How to try out AI at your association

AI can help your association become an indispensable and regular part of your members’ lives. AI can help you bridge that engagement gap.

With AI in your toolkit, you can think big about the membership experience. For example, consider a brand you interact with regularly—maybe Netflix, Spotify, Blue Apron, Starbucks, or Stitch Fix—and the customer experience they provide. How can you use one of these three applications of AI which we have explored in our blog series—chatbots, curated personalized news-briefing, or intelligent connections—to provide a similar experience for your members?

Or, approach the opportunity from the other direction:

  •      What problem do you want to solve?
  •      Who’s doing something similar now?
  •      How can you copy them?

Let’s say you’d like to make people more aware of the different publications you offer. That’s simple: plug Amazon’s recommendations API into your online store. With it, you can make an intelligent connection between a customer and the publications they’d be interested in based on their online behavioral data.

Engage your members with AI right now

AI for associations doesn’t have to be overwhelming, think of it merely as a tool to plug into your existing technology. AI makes possible opportunities associations never had before to transform the membership experience. Adopt an experimental mindset along with AI and see what happens.

This blog is the third part of a 3-blog series designed to teach associations about how artificial intelligence tools are accessible and effective for decreasing the association engagement gap.

Read Part I: Using Artificial Intelligence for Website User Engagement.

Read Part II: Artificial Intelligence for Curating Individualized Email Content.

Association member checks individualized email created using artificial intelligence

3 Ways to Experiment with AI at Your Association Right Now - Part II: Artificial Intelligence for Curating Individualized Email Content

Artificial Intelligence does what isn’t humanly possible given an association’s resources. It can find non-obvious correlations and patterns in member and customer data. It can interpret vast quantities of content and make sense of it.

The media loves speculating about AI’s potential but there’s no need to get caught up in the hype. The best place for your focus is AI’s practical applications for your association right now.

Organize and curate information automatically

It’s nearly impossible to keep taxonomies current and accurate because staff must struggle to constantly review and tag content. With AI, you never have to work on a taxonomy project again.

Natural Language Processing (NLP) is an AI application used to understand the meaning of written or spoken language. NLP makes automated taxonomies possible. It works in the background doing the heavy lifting for staff so your taxonomy is always up to date.

But most of what your members read is from external sources; what about those? AI can analyze and tag external content too. You can now provide a service your members have only dreamed of: you curate the industry information streaming by them each day.

Deliver daily, individualized, industry-related news to your members

Now your members don’t have to spend time skimming through junk trying to find treasure. Instead you send them a daily news brief containing personalized recommendations of content from internal and external sources that are most relevant to them based on an analysis of their data. That value is worth the price of dues and then some.

We’ve learned in our projects with associations that AI-curated content drives higher engagement, i.e., more email opens and clicks. As time goes on, AI analyzes a member’s behavior and learns what they’re interested in as well as their format and reading time preferences. This behavioral data is more reliable than self-reported data—as they say, actions speak louder, and more truthfully, than words. Associations are using what they learn about their members’ interests to make decisions about future conferences, educational programs, and association marketing content.

As the software collects and analyzes data, and algorithms adjust, engagement metrics continue to increase. A project of this scale is not humanly possible without the assistance of AI.

Learn more about engaging your members with artificial intelligence engages community members by curating content and delivering daily, individualized newsbriefs. If you are interested in engaging your membership by catering to their unique interests, learn about how can help.

This blog is the second part of a 3-blog series designed to teach associations about how artificial intelligence tools are accessible and effective for decreasing the association engagement gap. Read Part I: Using Artificial Intelligence for Website User Engagement.  

Computer demonstrating success using artificial intelligence

3 Ways to Experiment with AI at Your Association Right Now - Part I: Using Artificial Intelligence for Website User Engagement

AI—it’s everywhere these days. Since becoming a marketing buzzword, AI can easily be dismissed as hype or beyond the reach of your association.

But AI is not hype and it’s definitely not beyond your reach. In fact, AI is an affordable and accessible software tool that can help your association become a welcome part of your members’ lives on a regular basis. AI can help you fill the engagement gap that exists for your members between infrequent association events and activities. And it’s never been easier for your association to experiment with AI.

Understand why right now is the time for association AI

We’re now in the future we’ve all been waiting for—the good Jetsons future, not the Terminator version. Intel co-founder Gordon Moore saw it coming. Back in 1965, he said computer processing speed would double every 18 months. His prediction was so accurate it ended up being called Moore’s Law.

Here’s one example of the exponential growth Moore foresaw: an iPhone today possesses more computing power than the entire spacecraft for the 1969 Apollo moon mission.

According to inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil, Moore’s Law is a subset of the Law of Accelerating Returns. He said, “We won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century—it will be more like 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate.”

An example of this law in action: right now, a single CPU has the computing power of a mouse brain. In 2030, a single CPU will have the computing power of one human brain. 50 years from now, it will have the power of all human brains. AI is riding on this same curve of accelerating returns.

What does this mean for your association? Because of these accelerating returns, you now have affordable access to increased computing power, more data, and powerful AI tools. And, the more you use AI, the more powerful it becomes because its algorithms keep learning. For example, take AI in autonomous cars. When one car encounters a scenario and learns from it, the algorithm changes so all cars benefit.

The same thing happens with the AI-powered tools available now to associations. AI learns from the behavioral data of all your members, customers, and constituents, and constantly refines the algorithms it uses.

AI-powered software can plug into the technology you already have, and it does not have to take a massive implementation. This blog series will explore three ways you can try out an AI tool and see the positive impact it has for your members and staff:

Help your association engage with website visitors

AI-powered chatbots are increasingly used by organizations in a wide range of industries. A website chatbot is a high-value application for associations, because it can intelligently and quickly answer questions and guide people through a process. Staff members no longer have to spend time providing basic information; instead they can work on more complex tasks and issues.

A medical society can use a chatbot to answer the questions of doctors visiting their website. The software looks at data to see a person’s prior interactions and other background information, for example, what content the person has read. It provides an answer based on this insight—the answer most relevant to that member.

Chatbots can answer questions in a contextually appropriate way and do so more quickly and thoroughly than humanly possible. They provide better answers. Like all AI, the machine learning continues, spotting more clues, patterns, and trends, and understanding how to handle more situations.

Learn more about engaging your members with artificial intelligence is engaging more of our associations’ members every day through the use of AI technology. Do you want to learn more about how we can engage your membership on a more meaningful level? Learn about our tools today.

This blog is the first part of a 3-blog series designed to teach associations about how artificial intelligence tools are accessible and effective for decreasing the association engagement gap.

Three computers and background coding represent the power of artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence for Associations: Is It Worth the Hype?

Originally posted on the American Society of Association Executives website.

To prepare for the future, associations should embrace the possibilities of artificial intelligence. Here’s a primer on what AI can do for your organization.

Barely a day goes by without media coverage of how artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into almost every industry, including theories on how it’s going to change the world as we know it. Is it all sensationalized? Or science-fiction daydreaming? Or is the hype around AI something that’s truly going to affect the world?

I believe we will see profound impacts in the next decade, and these have several implications for associations. The good news is that AI can be a disruptive and positive change, helping associations do more than ever before to advance their missions.

Incremental vs. Transformative Change

When thinking about AI, I see two types of change: incremental and transformative. I like to think of incremental change as taking existing business processes and making them better. For example, AI can be used to more efficiently answer member questions or to help attendees find the best-suited sessions at a conference. These tools incrementally improve the way we do business.

In contrast, a transformative impact is a situation where the business model, or the fundamental method of engagement with association members, is disrupted and changed, for better or worse. Self-driving cars are an example of a transformative change in the auto industry, radically altering how people use cars for work and leisure.

What Is AI?

Before we get down to specifics, let me explain some of the terms you’ve probably read, heard, or seen:

The term AI refers to a computer’s ability to mimic the behavior of a human, or more than one human, to reprogram itself over time based on learned observations.

Machine learning is an application of AI that involves learning by applying statistical algorithms to data. It takes a statistical approach to gain insights into data and make informed decisions based on these insights.

One category of machine learning includes using predictive analytics to help an organization figure out what factors influence things like revenue and sales. In the association space, similar algorithms can be used to predict how factors, like location, affect conference registration, or which members are most likely to renew or not.

Deep learning is a subcategory of machine learning. The most advanced cognitive machine is the human brain, which is a network of neurons that fire together. Deep learning mimics the way a human’s neural networks function in terms of how information is transmitted.

The good news is that AI can be a disruptive and positive change, helping associations do more than ever before to advance their missions.

Do you use Siri to get information from your iPhone—or some other type of voice assistant technology?

If so, then deep learning is already making your life easier. In the past few years, these technologies have drastically improved in their ability to accurately detect speech patterns across languages, age groups, and accents. Another example of deep learning in action is facial recognition, which is used by everyday apps like Snapchat.

AI for Associations

Could your association use AI technology? As you explore the possibilities, I urge you to think of AI as a tool, just like any other piece of technology. It has major potential to automate tasks that would be arduous to undertake manually, leaving more time to focus on strategic work.

Allow me to zoom in on one potential application of AI for associations—content curation and personalization. Imagine the effort that would go into personalizing member experiences manually. It means getting to know individuals, then taking the time to provide them with content resources. This would be inefficient and infeasible, particularly for large associations.

AI can facilitate personalization by sifting through large amounts of content within the association. It can also go beyond that content and look at other quality and trusted sources that your members are already reading.

AI can identify patterns to determine what content is of greatest value to the individual and provide tailored information at just the right time. It can also share content with the audience based on known factors, like career stage, location, and job title. More so, AI can learn from user behaviors and find new patterns to group people into personas that are not as obvious to us.

A key role of an association is to help people find valuable information, which makes life easier and ultimately advances their work. AI can do that right now without a single hour of human labor involved. Content delivery is just one example. There are far greater opportunities for AI on the horizon as the technology advances.

It’s also an exciting time to explore the tools and applications that enhance the work we do. AI is here. It’s improving at an exponential rate, and it’s capable of benefiting many associations today.

People + AI = A Winning Team

“If only I didn’t have so much work on my plate, if only there were more hours in the day, if only we could do…”

We’re entering an era when many of our perennial “if only” wishes are going to start coming true. Organizations are taking on tasks they never thought possible and getting results they never imagined. They’re not working harder or longer to get more done, in fact, they have more time now to dedicate to more rewarding work.

They’re working differently. They’re letting technology and data do the heavy-lifting for them so they can focus on more strategic work—the work that requires wisdom and experience.

Success story: the wisdom in people combined with the intelligence in data

In the Houston Astros office, the nerd cave is as essential to the team’s success as the dugout. It’s here that Sig Mejdal, director of decision sciences, and his analytics team finessed the evaluation system and decision tree that eventually helped the Astros win the World Series in 2017.

It might sound like another Moneyball story—when the Oakland A’s used sabermetrics player analysis to outplay teams with deeper pockets—but Mejdal takes issue with the comparison.

“For all the wonders that the book did, the portrayal was a dichotomous one. It’s either the scouts or the nerd in the corner of the room. But from the very beginning…, Jeff [Luhnow, Astros general manager] framed it as an ‘and’ question. The question was not which one to use, but how to combine them.”

The Astros combine the work of the scouts and the nerds, the people and the data. “They’re not asking us to be sabermetricians,” said Ralph Bratton, an Astros scout for the last 25 years. “They’re asking us to do what we’ve always done.” The team got to the Series because they learned how to combine the wisdom of their scouts with the intelligence found in their data.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is taking the analytics of the nerd cave to a new level. MLB Advanced Media has developed a tool that uses deep learning, a type of AI, to track the movements of players and balls throughout a game. With the help of this tool, coaches will be able to make predictions about player performance and plan strategy. In the process, these coaches will also learn a new skill: freestyling.

The in-demand skill of the future: freestyling

When you combine the strengths of both AI and humans, the collaborative potential is limitless. But you have to know how to collaborate with AI. You have to know how to freestyle: to work alongside AI and robots.

The term ‘freestyling’ was inspired by freestyle chess: a competition that allows any combination of human and computer chess players to compete. Chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov described an upset victory he witnessed in a freestyle competition:

“The winner was revealed to be not a grandmaster with a state-of-the-art PC but a pair of amateur American chess players using three computers at the same time. Their skill at manipulating and “coaching” their computers to look very deeply into positions effectively counteracted the superior chess understanding of their grandmaster opponents and the greater computational power of other participants… Human strategic guidance combined with the tactical acuity of a computer was overwhelming.”

Futurist Stowe Boyd, who identified freestyling as one of the most essential work skills of the future, said:

“We have to learn to dance with the robots…We will have to balance their strengths and blind spots, just as we do with people, and as programs grow even more capable, we will have to learn when to stand to the side when it is time for the algorithms to take the next step, make the next move, or to decide who to hire or fire.”

In associations, AI’s current role is to handle tasks that would be impossible for staff to do themselves—the “if only” projects you wish you had the staff time to do. For example, AI-powered software, like, does all the arduous work of analyzing data and creating personalized newsletters for each individual member.

AI takes over laborious tasks and frees up staff time for more strategic work. But, in the future, AI will empower associations to fulfill their mission in ways we can’t even yet imagine. As technology evolves, every association office will be full of AI coworkers. In many industries, this type of human + AI partnership is already making a positive impact.

We’re in the golden age of AI-enhanced productivity

Doom and gloom headlines make it seem as if everyone is worried about AI taking over their job. In reality, many industries are eager to put AI to work because they’ve seen how it’s already helping professionals around the world do their jobs better.

“It’s a myth that AI will take the place of the internal auditor,” said Richard Chambers, CEO of the Institute of Internal Auditors. “I see AI as an enabler. It enables the auditor to be more efficient and effective in addressing the problems of the organization.”

AI can sort through huge amounts of data to uncover problems quickly, but it takes a human to understand the issue, find out why the problem occurred, and determine how to prevent it from reoccurring. The auditing team of the future will be a mix of machines and people working side by side.

Nurses and doctors in the UK’s National Health Service rely on AI applications to instantly analyze test results, determine treatment plans, and notify them when a patient’s condition deteriorates. Nurses say the AI-powered tools are saving them more than two hours each day—time they can spend with patients who need them most.

In many organizations, AI-powered chatbots already handle common customer service inquiries (“the easy questions”) freeing up the time of support professionals so they can handle more complex cases.

“We are living in the golden age of AI-enhanced productivity,” said a recent Wired article. “Machines take over the thankless tasks that were, until recently, too complex to be automated, and humans get to immerse themselves in the most creative and rewarding aspects of their jobs.”

Imagine what you and your association could accomplish if you could delegate laborious or impossible tasks to an AI coworker. Make your wish list now because for many tasks, like creating a personalized daily email with stories and news that match each member’s interests, that day is already here. Let us demonstrate for you and you’ll see what I mean.

If your association serves an industry where AI is already making an impact, you already know how it’s changing the lives of your members and their organizations. Hone your freestyling skills and start making your wish list because AI is going to make a difference in the association industry too.

The Real Inbox Culprit: Email Relevance, Not Frequency

In conversations with association execs, many of them tell me:

“Our members say we’re sending too many emails.”

Problem: Too many emails.
Solution: Fewer emails.

Problem solved? Not necessarily.

If every email you sent contained something members valued, they wouldn’t complain. Instead, they’d thank you. The real problem is the disconnect between what you see as valuable and what your members see as valuable.

Why associations send so many emails to members

To get a handle on your email situation, first you have to understand how you got to this place. Who decides what you’re sending members? How did you decide how many emails they should receive weekly? Is anyone monitoring the situation?

In many associations, nobody knows how many emails members receive or what they’re receiving because nobody tracks what you’re sending out. An email audit will reveal some basic information you need to know:

  • Number of emails sent per week/month
  • Number of departments/staff sending emails
  • Email frequency by type—promotions, industry news, educational content, association news, advocacy, etc.
  • Percentage of emails delivered
  • Percentage/type opened
  • Percentage/type of links clicked

What’s the appropriate frequency? According to the 2017 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report from Marketing General Inc. (MGI), associations send their members, on average, four emails a week. Is that the appropriate amount? Only your members know but they won’t all give you the same answer because they have different communication preferences.

Why do associations send so many emails? Because every department thinks their emails are important, need-to-know information. The bigger the staff, the bigger the problem, according to the MGI report: Associations with operating budgets of $20 million or more are most likely to send five emails per week. In contrast, associations with budgets under $5 million are more likely to send only one or two emails per week.

If your members think you’re sending too many emails, you are. But that’s not the real problem.

The real culprit: relevance, not frequency

I’ll say it again: Members wouldn’t complain if all the emails you sent them were relevant. They don’t open your emails for a simple reason: based on past experience, they’re not worth opening.

Their complaints are symptoms of two problems:

  • No cross-departmental communications strategy and collaboration
  • Not enough list segmentation

Departments and teams must have the tools they need to achieve their goals, but their interests must be aligned with the greater interests of the association—keeping your member’s attention, loyalty, and trust.

One department can’t solve the email problem. Everyone must agree to a new email strategy—one that puts the member’s needs first, not the association’s, and definitely not each department’s need to cram their “important, need-to-know” stuff into members’ inboxes.

What’s relevant to all your members? Not much. That’s why the best approach to emails starts with list segmentation.

You must segment your email list so you only send relevant content to each member. By understanding their needs, interests, pain points, and aspirations, you’ll figure out the type of segmentation needed, for example, by position type, career level, specialty, etc.

Hyper-personalization: engage with a segment of one

What do members want in your emails? The same things they want as consumers: relevant information. According to the 2017 Adobe Consumer Email Survey Report, when asked for the one thing they would change about emails they get from brands, 40 percent of respondents said they’d want them to be less promotional and more informational. And, 27 percent said they’d want content that’s better personalized to their interests.

With the technology available to associations today, you no longer have any excuse not to personalize content by a member’s interests. ASAE’s Chief Information and Engagement Officer, Reggie Henry, talked at the Aptify Users Conference this month about the need for hyper-personalization. He believes associations should communicate with and market to a segment of one.

Reggie said people are willing to share data in exchange for personalized experiences, and that’s the direction associations must go. He had the numbers to back his argument up:

  • Forrester reported that 77 percent of consumers have chosen, recommended, or even paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
  • Accenture found that 75 percent of consumers are more likely to buy when you recognize them as an individual and provide recommendations based on their unique wants and needs.

Members can find information anywhere. Your promotional and informational emails are no better than anyone else’s unless you give each member what they want. And, unlike other organizations in your member’s world, your association has (and can get) the data to deliver personalized, if not hyper-personalized, content based on their unique wants and needs.

Your association has an advantage: your members have chosen to have a relationship with you. They’ve paid to have a relationship with you. But, in an information marketplace where personalization is becoming more prevalent, your members expect you to understand and deliver what they need.

If you know what content each member wants and you deliver it when they want, they’ll give you their attention, loyalty, and trust because you always get it right, or almost always. Take advantage of the technology in the association marketplace that will allow you to send emails your members will always open and never complain about.


Help Members Filter the Noise with Personalized Content Curation

Taking a few days off isn’t as easy as it used to be—because when you get back, you have to deal with your inbox. 

Joe learned that the hard way. After his last vacation, he spent a day slogging through his inbox. This time, after a few days off, he returned to a more manageable 438 unread emails. If he hadn’t deleted a bunch while waiting to board his plane home, there would have been hundreds more.

But, he wonders what he missed in all those unread emails he deleted. All those newsletters he usually reads to keep up on industry news, practices, and trends—gone. Too bad, there’s no way he could spare the time to go through them.

Why members need you to think differently about content

If only there was an easy way for Joe to find and pull out the best stuff in the never-ending stream of information that crosses his screens.

If only Joe belonged to an association that did that for him.

All associations have members like Joe—members (and potential members) who are faced with information overload. They need to be lifelong learners if they have any chance of thriving and surviving in their profession or industry. They have to understand what’s going on in their niche, what’s coming down the pike, what others are doing, and what new ideas and practices are emerging.

But, they have limited time and energy to find that information. They can’t afford to spend hours browsing the web or reading every newsletter they receive.

Here’s where you step in. You want your association to become indispensable to your members on a daily basis. You want to provide such value that it’s a no-brainer for potential members to join. And, you think you already do that because your newsletters go out regularly with the latest news and information.

Sorry, that’s not enough. Everyone does that now. Vendors, consultants, industry media, bloggers, and other organizations send information to your members every day. What makes your content so special?

Another newsletter in your member’s inbox is not the answer.

Unless, you do something those other organizations haven’t figured out yet.

Help Joe and the rest of your members find only the best things to read. Filter and select the most valuable and relevant information and share that with your members and subscribers. Forget about sending a one-size-fits-all selection of content to everyone on your list. Instead, send each member a personalized selection of content based on their individual likes and dislikes.

And here’s the kicker: this content isn’t only sourced from your association, it comes from a wide range of sources.

Cast a broad net for the best curated content

Your members would be willing to unsubscribe to dozens of other newsletters if they could rely on your association to bring them news and information from all sources, not just one source.

It’s not like your association has the monopoly on their reading habits. Maybe you did once, but you don’t now. Members are reading, watching, and listening to information from all kinds of sources—you’re just one of many.

But you can rise above all those other providers by becoming truly indispensable, by helping members cut through the noise and find what they really need to know. You serve as their primary filter and provider of information.

Your members need the best content, not only your content.

Tailor content to individual needs with the help of AI

Some associations have already discovered the power of curation and send out daily or weekly newsletters featuring the best industry reads for their members. Joe receives a newsletter like that from his association, but usually only one or two articles speak to his interests as the senior marketer in his firm. That’s why he subscribes to dozens of other industry and marketing newsletters.

Association newsletters are too easily deletable if members have to scan through irrelevant information. Joe wants content based on his interests and needs as a CMO, not the interests and needs of his CEO, nor the interests and needs of his marketing intern. Joe needs to learn how large marketing departments like his are leveraging their agencies and technology stacks, not how a one-person marketing shop is using MailChimp.

But his association’s staff can’t afford to spend time selecting and sending personalized newsletters to every member and subscriber, so Joe has to clutter his inbox with all those other newsletters if he wants to keep up his game.

Or does he?

Personalized content is no longer the privilege of for-profit organizations with deep pockets. AI-powered technology makes it possible for associations to deliver tailored, personalized content to members and subscribers.

AI’s job is to analyze a member’s behavior to learn about their interests, preferences, relationships, and more, and then automatically tailor content to the member’s needs. Over time, AI shares new content ideas based on market trends that are likely to be a fit for the member.

Joe gets what he wants. Not only that, Joe can unsubscribe to dozens of newsletters—he no longer worries about missing something he should read. No more FOMO. No more inbox anxiety. No more overwhelming information overload.

And, Joe, who’s always in the know, raves about his favorite daily read to his colleagues. You see where this is going, right? AI is member recruitment magic.

Up to now, it hasn’t been easy to find a way to be a daily, indispensable part of every member’s life. Now you can provide that kind of value, thanks to AI-powered technology. Let us know if you want to see how AI works in real life for associations.