No one knows what the future holds. We are certain there's a tomorrow to begin thinking about and preparing for. But how do we get ready for the unknown? If we are without a crystal ball, then isn't it impossible to see ahead? These are all good questions we would challenge with one of our own:
“Is it impossible?”
Recently our team launched a significant messaging and communication project with a new client. As we parsed out the various elements of their narrative, the client experienced what you might call a lightbulb moment. We came to the portion of the exercise where we took a deep dive into the challenges facing their industry and audience. Amid the discussion, we asked, "If this opposition is successful in bringing your industry down, what is the greatest threat to be faced?"
As they rattled off the various worst-case scenarios, it hit them. They didn't possess the exact knowledge of what would come next, but they knew what would be if they stood by and did nothing. Now that they had that answer in hand, it was time to plan their defense against the challenger daring to make them obsolete. Great awareness of what they were facing came to light, and they could move into their plan of attack. No crystal ball was required.
As we move into 2023, we have the privilege of looking at the association landscape to capture the complete picture of what's to come. THuS Marketing has also watched the conditions change over time for our industry and is determined to pierce as far ahead into the future to understand the impacts of what's ahead. As trends evolve, one truth rings above all the rest: how we market to our members must change, or we will only witness continual membership declines.
As a result of changing member expectations, associations must prepare to adapt their marketing strategies to continue to reach and meet their community's needs. The most effective way of doing so boils down to this. You need to build a solid, well-verse marketing support system to stay ahead of the evolution curve. Here are a few reasons why conducting this buildout in 2023 matters.
1. The Marketing Landscape is Constantly Changing
That means associations need to be adaptable. In just the past few years, we've seen the rise of new platforms (like Snapchat and TikTok), new technologies (like AR and VR), and new ways of reaching our audiences (like influencer marketing). As the terrain shifts, so too must our approach to marketing. Marketers who are nimble, adaptable, and always on the lookout for new trends are your go-to. They are your eyes and ears into tomorrow's forecast.
2. Great Marketing Needs to Be Data-Driven
In the past, marketing relied more on art than science. Creative types have dominated the field, while those who are numbers-focused have been left on the sidelines. But that's changing. As data becomes more and more accessible, organizations are beginning to realize that data, not intuition, should drive marketing. This shift has led to the rise of new roles like "growth hacker" and "growth marketer," which focus on using data to drive organizational growth based on trends revealed through the numbers. There are several reasons why data is so critical when it comes to marketing:
Data-driven marketing is more effective because data-based decisions lead to better results and a higher ROI.
Data-driven marketing helps you make better decisions as you can test different hypotheses for the best performance. Testing data allows you to quickly learn what works well.
Data-driven marketing is more efficient as making decisions based on data means you're less likely to waste time and money on activities that don't produce results. This helps you get the most out of your budget.
3. Associations Will Need to Be More Strategic
Traditionally, marketing has been viewed as a cost center—an expendable part of the budget that can be slashed when times are tough. But as your audience becomes more sophisticated and expectations for exceptional service continue to rise, marketing needs to step up and take on a more strategic role within organizations.
Marketers should have a seat at the table during conversations about future forecasting. In today's competitive marketplace, marketing is more important than ever before. Marketing can drive sales, build brand awareness, and foster membership loyalty when done correctly. Marketing can help you intercept the threats taunting your organization's future while allowing you to create what tomorrow will look like on your terms.
Let 2023 be a lightbulb moment for you. Your organization may not be able to see everything that will occur, but the signs are clear, and trends are happening right before your eyes. Stand up, take notice, and allow marketing to help you stay on top of what's to come.
See you in 2023! We would love to meet you and learn more about what your organization is preparing for. Don't hesitate to reach out!