Skip to main content

Association Insights from Xperience 2018

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this before…”User expectations have been forever changed by companies like Amazon and Netflix. If you want to survive, figure out how to keep up!”

We know this is not a new concept, but definitely a harsh reality. It is clear from conversations we had and sessions we attended at Xperience 2018, there is a lot of talk about user experience and disruption, but not enough organizations taking action.

No one is going to become the Amazon of Associations overnight, but perhaps there is another train of thought that could get you moving in the right direction. Customer obsession was another takeaway from our time at Xperience 2018. Being a customer or member-obsessed organization means understanding exactly what your users or members need at each interaction, big or small. Whether the interaction is attending your annual conference or opening an email about an educational opportunity, each of these moments are important.

In his keynote, Community Brands CEO, JP Guilbault, talked about these interactions or touch-points being “Moments of Truth.” Your association members will be saying one of four things during each touch-point:

• I want to know
• I want to do
• I want to go
• I want to buy

These interactions are your customer’s way of telling you what they want and what they value. It’s the association’s opportunity to learn from these interactions and responsibility to make them easier and easier to achieve. Listen and learn from your members and find ways to provide the value they seek.

The Power of Now & Time to Value

When someone “wants to know,” we need to enable them. Whether they are on your website looking for policy or recent legislation, they need to be able to find it instantly. If they want to register for your conference or renew their membership, they need to be able to do it on any device with only a few clicks. If not, you risk losing out on that transaction.

Organization Challenges

During our presentation on Digital Transformation with Rob Katchen, Senior VP of IT at the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we polled the audience for some additional insight.

We asked “How many of these are challenges for your organization?”


These challenges expressed by the audience are right in line with the member experience improvement we have been talking about. Multiple technology platforms causing confusion speaks to the silos that associations often find themselves. As a result, the member experience is damaged. Members do not want to log-in to multiple websites when they are trying to interact with you! Then as a result of providing a poor membership experience, organizations are concerned about retaining members. Member retention would be less of a concern if the value proposition was clear and consistently experienced.

So what do we do? Get obsessed. Member experience improvement starts with being obsessed with the customer and it has to start now!

Survey Results and Key Findings

In addition to the audience poll during the AAP presentation, Adage conducted a twenty-question survey during Xperience 2018. We gathered data from Association employees about their perceived user experience, content strategy, member research initiatives and challenges.

All industries, job roles and market types participated in the survey that focused on their digital landscape and industry trends. Results are in!! And there are some interesting findings. Check them out here.

[contact-form-7 id=”11074″]