May 20, 2010

Making Contributions vs. Winning Competitions

I received a Member Get a Member pitch in the mail yesterday, exhorting me to get people to join one of my professional associations.  Doing so I was told would register me to win prizes and have my named added to the Wall of Recruiters.  Not a single line of text used any appeal other than the competitive aspect of participating in the campaign and the possibility of extrinsic rewards.

It didn't speak to me at all.

That's not to say that the chance of winning prizes or being honored as one of the top recruiters wouldn't attract others.  But too often we appeal only to the competitive motivator and forget an equally powerful enticement for many others: making a contribution.

I'm not exciting about chalking up new members for fame and prizes, but I do believe in sharing with others the value I've received from belonging to this particular association and in growing the community of professionals it serves.  By not attempting to tap into that intrinsic motivation, this association lost out in two ways: (1) it did not get me to engage in any new member recruitment, and (2) it failed to remind me of why I am still a member myself.

Instead its marketing efforts left me feeling as if I was being solicited to turn into a late-night pitchman on QVC, hawking that extra special value deal, but only if you respond in the next two hours.  I doubt ... at least I hope ... that's not what was intended.

3 comments:

Matt Baehr said...

I would love to see a test marketing campaign where half the folks get a pure competitive message and the other half get a contribution message. Let's see what truly wins out!

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

That's a great idea Matt. I'm not sure the results would be definitive since we wouldn't know if a higher% of the "right" messages reached the audience most receptive to them, but testing the approaches is a worthwhile experiment. I think The Decision to Join would suggest that the message will resonate more than people might expect.

Joan Eisenstodt said...

I'm not competitive -- even watching the 'bench' of the not-winning team makes me miserable. So this recruitment stuff never appeals to me. More, if this is an association with an ethics policy, how do they know the person who "wins" a prize is allowed to accept it? Isn't this putting people in an awkward situation .. like drawings at trade shows?