How can your technology tackle the cost-of-living crisis?
The cost-of-living crisis is one of the biggest challenges currently facing the UK. This, of course, includes membership organisations and their members. With less money in their pocket, now, more than ever, members need to see significant, tangible value in order to be convinced to join or renew.
For membership organisations, the same pressure means that there is an amplified need to deliver more with less. When you invest in a new platform you need to be sure that it will deliver great results - for you and your members.
There is a perception that a bigger budget equals a better platform. This puts pressure on organisations to pay for fully-featured Enterprise solutions that are seen as the “gold standard” - but how do you know that they really are the best solution for your organisation?
“Best” of course, means different things to different organisations. This blog is a debate between Enterprise and single all-in-one platforms - in which I’ll bust the myth that big budget technology always provides the best solution.
The Institute of Internal Communication (IOIC) has a small team of 7 people. It moved to a single (non-enterprise) platform last year and has seen a 24% increase in new revenue this year to date. Overall revenue is up 14% and membership numbers are, at 2,300, the highest in the Institute's history - an increase of 86%. Sales for their in-person annual festival have increased by 100%.
Another of our clients, the Institution of Gas Engineers (IGEM) launched its new website in January, and grew their membership exponentially in the first three months by up to 150%. All because they very carefully chose the platform that was right for them.
What are the key factors to consider when deciding between an Enterprise platform and an all-in-one single platform?
Is your association large, with a complex membership and organisational structure and runs advanced activities? An Enterprise platform with its extensive features could well be a good fit.
Or, is your focus on operating a traditional membership scheme - with engagement activities and events? A single platform that brings together your data, website, events and marketing could better suit your needs and provide better value.
The membership technology market has grown and changed over recent years providing more flexible and powerful single platforms that could be a better fit for your organisation’s needs. There is a myth that single platforms are inflexible and don’t provide the functionality available in Enterprise solutions - but this isn’t true.
Organisation’s needs and goals will vary but these are just a few areas where the right single platform can deliver value for you and your members:
- Unified CRM and CMS
For IOIC, having a single view of member data was not just important for improving their intelligence as an organisation. Being able to draw on that data in the CMS was essential in being able to convince both prospects and renewing members with relevant targeted content.
- Website and personalised user experience
Sharing expert content through an online knowledge hub is at the heart of the IOIC’s member value proposition. Improving the digital experience was essential so they could deliver it and maintain a competitive advantage. Will the platform you’re considering help make your members feel they are getting good value?
- Operational ease and efficiency
Does the technology reduce manual tasks and make it quicker and easier for your team to do their jobs? IGEM’s new platform allowed them to run more events - 28 in three months - and has freed up their team of two to do their jobs - managing speakers and supporting events in person.
- Scalability and flexibility
Your organisation may not be ready for an enterprise system due to size, skillset or membership structure - but your longer-term ambitions may mean that you need some of its capabilities a few years down the line. IGEM selected a single platform that gave them the option to grow and scale their capabilities if needed.
Single platforms can be easily augmented with business intelligence tools, accounting software, learning management systems and many other integrations. Look for a platform that allows you to extend your capabilities as your organisation grows or members' needs change.
These are just some of the areas to consider when comparing enterprise and single platforms. Come to my session at the Memcom Conference on Thursday 29th June with my guest from the Institute of Internal Communication. Hear their case study and discover the details of their approach and learnings.
Session: How can your technology tackle the cost of living crisis?
Time and location: 4.20pm, in Finsbury Room 1, at the Memcom Conference 2023.