Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Want to Make Membership Everyone's Business? Call in the Marketing Subversives!

In two prior posts (What Would Tony Soprano Do? and Don't Tell Me Membership is Everyone's Business!), I discussed how to engage the entire staff of your association in the cause of membership. To further this cause, I will now discuss how to act as a Marketing Subversive.

The term comes from an article of the same name, Marketing Subversives (I highly recommend you download it). The author spent five years interviewing more than 1,000 managers in 30 companies. His goal was to understand how the certain managers were more successful in communicating and collaborating across departments and functions to achieve their marketing goals. Hmmm....seems to me some of these lessons might be useful in furthering an association's overall goal of recruitment, retention and member satisfaction.

Three Things Marketing Subversives Do

What is that subversives do? It comes down to three things:
  • They constantly work at organizing informal contacts among functions and departments?
  • They have a knack (or a charm or simply the persistence) for breaking through territorial defenses and organizational insularity.
  • They are savvy about knowing when and where to bend or break the rules.
The articles notes that "marketing subversives constantly analyze people's motivations" and seem to be constantly asking, "What do they really want?"  In other words, they are using a thinking process similar to that of the "Don't Sell Me ___, Sell Me ___" exercise discussed in Don't Tell Me Membership is Everyone's Business!

Furthermore, subversives build goodwill in their organizations by developing an exchange bank - "by doing favors for others,  they amass credits that can be traded for information or help." This is just another way of stating the principle of  "think cooperation and reciprocity" as outlined in What Would Tony Soprano Do?

The Bottom Line: Are you ready to become a marketing subversive?

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