FACED WITH TIME AND BUDGET CONSTRAINTS, MANY
ORGANIZATIONS FEEL THEY CANNOT COMMIT THE TIME OR
ALLOCATE THE RESOURCES TO CONDUCT THIS KIND OF MAR-
launch of the site, see the October 2008
FORUM Signature Story).
The insights gained through research
and analysis enabled AGD to create a new
technology-based offering that equally
met the needs of the public and its members. Reflecting what both moms and
AGD members want, the Web site today
offers myriad tactics that will help achieve
the association’s marketing and membership objectives.
The American Specialty Toy Retailing
Association used the same strategy when
it sought to bolster its positioning as the
leading trade organization for independent
toy retailers and toy manufacturers. It also
wanted to update its brand identity, build
membership, and increase the number of
members and sponsors participating in
its annual events and national convention.
Rather than jump right in and brainstorm a list of creative ideas, the association’s executives and its research partner
took the time to understand ASTRA’s position within the toy industry and, founded
upon strategically focused research,
develop a new industry-leading positioning around the value of play in the healthy
development of children.
The new positioning raised ASTRA’s
visibility among both retailers and manufacturers, helped members make more
money, and contributed to a 70 percent
increase in convention attendance and a
60 percent increase in exhibit booth
sales. A subsequent media relations program based on the new positioning also
increased consumer awareness of the benefits offered by ASTRA member retailers.
The results far exceeded previous efforts.
Faced with time and budget constraints,
many organizations feel they cannot commit the time or allocate the resources to
conduct this kind of market research.
However, it’s in tough economic times
like these that such research can offer the
greatest benefits because it helps ensure
that marketing and other investments
achieve association objectives and deliver
the ROI that’s necessary to justify them.
FINDING THE RIGHT FIT
Research processes come in all sizes.
They can be based on either qualitative
or quantitative approaches, or both. They
should be expandable or collapsible,
allowing you to invest in the exact amount
of research you need. Most importantly,
they should offer deep insights into the
attitudes, opinions and behaviors of your
key constituencies: current members,
lapsed members, prospective members,
industry thought leaders, trade media
and others. In short, they should be adaptable to accommodate the needs, culture
and style of your organization, not the
Even a modest investment in research
should be able to help an association
understand how to address a specific
challenge it’s facing, as evidenced last
year by Selected Independent Funeral
Homes. This worldwide professional association of independent, locally owned
funeral homes realized that its growth
was being challenged by the steady
decline in participation by members of
the association’s under- 40 programs.
As part of the research process, in-depth interviews were conducted
among a small but representative number of under- 40 members. The sample