The Membership of Things is rooted in the Internet of Things. Simply put, it’s the concept of connecting essentially any device with an on-and-off switch to the internet and/or to each other. This includes everything from cellphones, coffee makers, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, and almost anything else you can think of. And this collective connection is driving and changing consumer behavior in dramatic ways, to the point where consumers are expecting organizations with which they engage to offer nothing less.

By extension, this consumerization of the association/member experience will have a tremendous impact on associations of all shapes and sizes, as members request more mobile, nimble, personalized, and efficient engagements, similar to the experiences they have with an Amazon or Netflix.

The relationship will be between people-people, people-things, and things-things.

The real value that the Internet of Things creates is at the intersection of gathering data and leveraging it. All the information congregated by all the sensors in the world isn’t worth very much if there isn’t an infrastructure in place to analyze it in real time.

So, how does the Internet of Things influence membership? We call it the Membership of Things. 2017 is a great year to gather data and insights about your members. Uncover their trends and behaviors to develop a broader, future-looking engagement strategy, with purpose-built technologies as the foundation. Understand how your membership is interacting with your organization and what channels have the greatest impact, both for sharing information and creating dialogue. Look at individual member behavior, with tools like Abila’s A-Score™, for a detailed perspective to help prioritize tests and initiatives.

For example, several organizations are looking at geolocated messaging to target attendees to annual conferences. How is that information translated back to an association management system (AMS)? And when it is, does the AMS have a workflow in place to send them, based on the session they just attended, a text message reminding them to check out relevant materials hosted on the member portal? This is a trend we only expect to grow over time. Get the ball rolling in 2017 by gathering data and insights about your members!

How can you envision leveraging the Membership of Things to get smarter about your membership and ultimately improve engagement?

Check out our predictions whitepaper to learn more about trends we see driving the industry forward in 2017 and beyond.