In 2016, MCI, along with its partner, FairControl
(a Germany-based global market research firm),
launched the Global Engagement Index (GEI),
which measured the performance, relationship
strength and outcome of engagement tactics as
seen through the eyes of association customers and
members. The 2016 edition of the GEI specifically
targeted the global community (customers and
members based outside of the U.S.) of associations headquartered in the U.S. This index allows
like-minded associations to benchmark their performance against that of 15 leading brands across
With the GEI, we now have dedicated data and
measures that can be utilized to help association
executives adapt existing strategy and operational
resources to be more effective at building and
nurturing relationships that convert financially and
Along with MCI and FairControl, the following
associations participated in GEI 2016: the American Concrete Institute, American Institute of CPAs,
APICS, American Society of Civil Engineers, American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), ASIS
International, American Society for Quality, American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, International Facility Management Association, International Society of Automation, Information Systems
Audit and Control Association, Material Research
Society, NACE International and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.
Questions we sought to understand included:
1. How strong is the relationship with members
and customers outside of the U.S.?
2. What is impacting, for good or bad, the quality
of these relationships?
3. What resources deliver the most value and have
the greatest impact on engagement?
4. How relevant is the value proposition to the
needs of local members and customers?
5. What levels of engagement are there, and how
do members and customers fit into this model?
The GEI’s sample size was substantial: More
than 123,000 non-U.S. contacts were invited to
respond to the survey through contact lists, and
they were invited to respond in English, Spanish,
Portuguese, Japanese, Arabic and Simplified Chi-
nese. Nearly 9,000 respondents from around the
world ultimately completed the survey. Through an
innovative crowd-funded model, the 15 participat-
ing associations gained in-depth data and feedback
as to how their global community perceives their
value, relevance and engagement efforts and where
they stand comparative to the index.
Following are insights from five associations
that participated in the GEI and how they plan to
respond to lessons learned from the index.
Certification and accreditation programs are consistently strong-performing products according to
the GEI, and some participants found validation of
their own efforts through the index.
“Certification has been a valuable part of oper-
ating to an international audience,” says Sue Reim-
bold, CHEST’s senior vice president, marketing and
communications. “Being able to learn that we’re
doing it well was good to hear in our individual
report. But it was also good to hear what level of
importance there was, specifically for global mem-
bers across all the associations.”
However, participants also found opportunities
to better present and market those certifications.
Jennifer R. Young, director, international operations
at ASCP, says the GEI recommended a more individualized focus on marketing certification based
on where it was being presented.
“We have sort of a template advertisement,”
she says. “In the future, I think we will be pushing
more of a communications campaign, especially in
Young points out that ASCP is currently working
on a pre-certification curriculum that will be deliv-
ered locally and that the GEI served as a prompt
to think about localizing the delivery—an essen-
tial step in building loyalty among members and
Better Strategy & Planning
For Nate Lavigne, senior manager, information
technology at NACE International, the GEI provided
an opportunity to steer the organization’s global
or the first time ever, association executives are better able to understand,
through empirical data, how member and customer relationship strength
impacts the ability to improve engagement. F