Saturday, February 12, 2011

CYA is Not Marketing

The letter from the association membership director stated “after all our efforts” it looks you are leaving us.

That phrase jumped out at me and the immediate question in my mind was “What efforts?”

I had been a member of this association for at least seven years and during at least the first four years quite active. I attended monthly events, contributed to the publication and completed surveys. Curious that no one noticed my diminshed participation.

And like every association membership at some point one measures the investment against the return and decides to leave. When the annual renewal invoice arrived I ignored it. I didn’t renew. As a marketer I was curious about their member retention program.

I expected to hear from someone about my renewal. I did, but not in the way I expected. The following month I received another invoice – and every month after that.

Finally after month six I received a phone call from the membership staff person. I immediately returned her call and advised her that I was not renewing because I was no longer seeing a return on my investment. She thanked me for my call.

Shortly after that call I received the “after all our efforts” letter. There was no acknowledgement of our phone conversation. There was no promise of a phone call or request to complete an exit survey. No invitation to meet for coffee or lunch.

So I wondered why this letter was so cold.

Then I saw the answer. This letter was copied to the Executive Director (chief of staff) of the association. This was a CYA letter. The purpose of this letter was not to retain me as a member. It was to suggest to her boss that she had exerted “all her efforts” to retain me as a member.

A month later I received another invoice.

No phone calls from satisfied members or board members. No reminder of benefits.

I guess they aren’t bleeding members fast enough.

What are you doing to retain members for your association?

CYA = Cover Your Ass.

George Torok

Former member of ....


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