Every Halloween I get an almost irresistible urge to watch, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I can’t help but notice how each character is uniquely drawn to (or completely turned off by) Dr. Frank-N-Furter and how many of the actions he takes can be metaphorically aligned to ways associations engage with their members – both the good and the bad.
Whether you have every step of the Time Warp down and can quote along with the whole science-fiction double feature, or have yet to step into Frank-N-Furter’s secret laboratory (here’s a beginner’s guide to the cult-classic), we’re going to take a quick trip to Transylvania to examine what member engagement lessons can be learned from, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.”
Leverage alternate membership models, online learning programs, and access to networking opportunities to draw members into your very own “Frankenstein Place.” Each association has unique benefits for its members, but unless membership to your organization is an industry requirement, it’s on you to prove the benefit of joining and maintaining membership. Members aren’t just going to join your association because it sounds like fun; each member has his or her own reason for joining, and it’s up to you to provide the benefits that will attract them. Like Dr. Frank-N-Furter says, “Don’t dream it, just be it.”
Think about what unique benefits your association offers members they can’t get anywhere else. Are you providing opportunities for continuing education and credentialing? Are there tiered and alternate membership models for members at every stage of their career? Define your differentiators, and make them known to your members – don’t make them “quiver with anti-ci—pation.” Any freemiums, member discounts, and added value you can provide to your members will keep them engaged for the long haul.
Welcome apprehensive new members like Brad and Janet, and ensure they’re engaged from day one. A recent study reveals most members join an association within the first five years of their career, and more than 20 percent of members let their membership lapse in the past year (the main reason being cost). A strong onboarding program to hook them into your association is key to new member success.
In, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” newly engaged couple Brad and Janet accidentally stumble into Dr. Frank-N-Furter’s castle. Looking for nothing more than to borrow a phone, Brad and Janet find themselves fully immersed in Frank-N-Furter’s lore and wanting “more, more, more.” The Doctor gets their attention immediately by introducing them to his version of “Super Members,” teaching them how to dance the Time Warp, and bringing them “up to his lab to see what’s on the slab.”
Take a look at your association’s new member onboarding and see what you can do to get newbies invested in your organization for years to come and throughout their career journey. Check out our Checklist for Onboarding for New Member Success and Onboarding in 10 Simple Steps for tips and tricks you can use to make your members love you.
Avoid dynamic tension with long-term members like Magenta and Riff-Raff, ensuring they don’t blast off and get lost in space. As members advance in their careers and age into different generations their wants and needs change with them. It’s up to your association to know your members and make sure you’re delivering them the continuing education, industry info, networking, and job opportunities they’re seeking. If you don’t, the benefits of being a member will slowly wane and you’ll start feeling the tension.
Unhappy members can be unwanted baggage. They probably won’t have to meet the same fate as Eddie does in, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” but you do run the risk of members like Magenta and Riff-Raff harboring negative feelings about your association, and inadvertently spreading their malcontent.
Look at your data and see how, when, and why members are engaging with your association. Take note of member preferences and generational differences in the content they may or may not be interested in. By segmenting and targeting your members, you’re more likely to avoid any “dynamic tension” and have happy members that will help your organization thrive.
Want to learn more about the engagement lessons you can derive from, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show?” Join our resident mad scientist and Director of Member Strategy, Amanda Myers, on Wednesday, October 26 at 2 p.m. ET for our free CAE credit-eligible, G-rated webinar, “The Rocky Horror Membership Show: Engagement Lessons From Dr. Frank-N-Furter.” Costumes, bread throwing, and singing along are highly encouraged!