The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Like all the best member organisations, The Chartered Institute of Marketing is committed to raising professional standards, providing members with a voice and delivering valuable membership benefits. But is has a careful balancing act to perform. Its members expect the Institute to embody everything they know about marketing best practice and innovation. Yet everything it does is funded by members’ subscriptions and it has a duty to deliver great value for money – not chase every new idea. It also enjoys an active network of volunteers that create events and plenty more, for their peers, all under the stewardship of twelve Regional Boards. The Institute needs to encourage grass-roots activity at the same time as keeping it aligned to the overall strategy, on message and on brand. Now even the best employee can sometimes be hard to handle – so with a small army of creative, innovative marketing volunteers imagine the potential…
Objectives and answers
Marketing Zone’s relationship with the Institute’s Greater London Region first started in 2005. We were asked to pitch for a research project, so that membership benefits matched London members’ passions and priorities. We developed a comprehensive membership research study. Not only that – once we’d presented our advice we were then challenged to create the improvements we’d recommended. Ultimately, the goal was then, and still is, to provide real value to members, so as to retain and develop their membership and to do this in tandem with the volunteers.
About The Chartered Institute of Marketing
Being selected by this client is a big deal. The Chartered Institute of Marketing is the world’s largest organisation for professional marketers and plays a key role in training, developing and representing the marketing profession. Founded in 1911, the Institute has represented members and the marketing industry for nearly 100 years. It is well respected in the profession by members and employers, who look for the Chartered Institute of Marketing qualifications on CVs when recruiting.
Facts first! Research provides a mandate for change
So we kicked off the research with a survey of members in the Capital to reveal a clear picture of the target audience profile, their priorities and their satisfaction levels, providing the Institute’s Greater London Board with recommendations for change.
By analysing the findings we could identify which services the members valued most in supporting their careers and measure how well they believed the Institute was delivering on those services – and even provide a focus for future service development in the region.
Whilst the study provided many actionable insights, it also revealed two important top-level segments – Studying members and Professional members – each with a distinct profile and specific requirements that needed to be addressed. And while ‘hot topic’ events delivered by the regional volunteers were highly regarded by everyone, getting time to attend was an issue for many members. So the Institute needed to develop other ways of engaging with members. We also provided evidence that the more dealings members had with the Institute, the more satisfied they were and the higher their loyalty. This became the key to the strategy we developed with the London Board
Since then we’ve conducted further research to track improvements. The research showed significant uplifts in satisfaction levels with a compound effect on membership renewal rates.
The Chartered Institute of Marketing is very clear on the support it provides to members. As well as qualifications and training, there is a raft of valuable benefits for members covering careers, networking and knowledge. The Board of the Greater London Region localise and personalise this support – and often pilot new developments, such as mentoring, which are then taken on nationwide. Reporting to the Board we developed an integrated communications strategy resulting in more interactions with members, and a positive impact on satisfaction. Our recommendations led to changes in communication channels, event pricing, service development and member engagement. In a nutshell, it’s all about increasing loyalty by providing members with reasons to interact with the Institute and making sure that they enjoy their experience when they do.
Marketers are an innovative bunch and we found they wanted the latest in online communications. Going digital created savings which could then be deployed to bring other aspects of the strategy to life. Marketing Zone now manages the publication of the members’ eNewsletter for London. It brings members the latest regional news and member benefits – with real-life member interviews, case studies, opinion surveys, prize draws and news of events. The eNewsletter has added tangible value for the membership, with a high readership that is still going strong. Members appreciate the regular updates and the newsletter increases interactions which has a positive impact on loyalty.
Virtually everything is here
With headquarters in Berkshire and no London office, members in the Capital lacked a focal point. The regional website we created gives London members contact details for key people, local information about services and events, and news. And it creates leads and drives traffic to the Institute’s main site. Marketing Zone continually refreshes the content on the website and we develop linked campaign sites for special events for the Region. Recently we launched The Pitch which is an Apprentice-style competition. This tailored site encourages participation as well as lifting some of the operational burden from the volunteers.
The social marketing buzz
Because marketers are early adopters of new techniques and technologies we’ve helped the Institute in London be part of the online buzz. We run a blog that has encouraged the exchange of opinions between members, and created a LinkedIn network to support the region’s face-to-face networking event series, Meet with Drinks. It all increases interaction and adds value by helping marketing professionals to connect. And it provides the Institute with a window on London members’ current interests to ensure that support and services stay relevant.
Marketing Zone help local event organisers to promote their events. We publicise upcoming events, through the eNewsletter and website. And we’re there to handle the communications for headline events. Leaflets and posters complete the mix for high profile events such as Women in Marketing, which has been a sell-out event with our involvement.
Much of the Institute’s PR is controlled from head office. We were asked to be their voice in London. With regular business advice columns, press releases, profiles of individual members and case studies we gained valuable coverage for four years. When the Institute sponsored Archant’s London Business Awards, we were there to handle media relations and provide the right sound-bites. Marketing Zone achieved positive coverage and a healthy return on investment.
At the end of the day…
Over the years we’ve held a pivotal role in marketing communications for the Institute in the Capital. And when new initiatives come along, the Regional Board rely on us to make things happen in London. We have a close working relationship with Board and local volunteers who rely on us to keep their marketing fresh with almost daily updates and new initiatives. Everything we do is driven by the Institute’s goals, guided by research, fully integrated and correctly branded. The Greater London Region is viewed as a flagship for communications within the Institute.