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Mark Gregor, CEO of Velir, and Adam Ribaudo, Velir’s VP of Accounts, recently sat down with the team at Associations Now to explain “digital maturity” and why it matters to associations. A detailed look at the discussion is provided below, along with a link to the original article.

What is digital maturity?

Digital Maturity is a state at which an organization’s digital efforts and presence are at their peak. They have been repeatedly streamlined and optimized to provide the ultimate, engaging experience to customers. The organization has a comprehensive, multichannel infrastructure in place for its digital marketing efforts and its customers receive consistent experiences, no matter the channel. At this stage all of the people, processes and technology involved, complement one another seamlessly.

There are a few organizations out there that have achieved this level of maturity with their digital activities. Everyone sees these companies accomplish amazing things on the web, often through the implementation of advanced techniques such as personalization, automated engagement, dynamic content, etc. and with seemingly unlimited budgets at their disposal. So while many companies or associations would like to get to this same level of digital maturity, this leads them to think that they don’t have the knowhow or capabilities to do so. We come in to try and bridge this gap.

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So, how can associations get there?

The best way to tackle the evolving digital marketing landscape is through a step by step process. Most marketers look at the end product/results and it’s daunting to think about all off the effort that’s required to get there. It’s important for associations to remember that they have to crawl, walk, and then run if they want to be in the same realm as larger organizations who have implemented mature, progressive and dynamic engagement models on the web.

We provide our association clients with a roadmap that walks through the different phases of digital maturity.  Regardless of the stage they’re currently at, odds are there’s a lot more they can do to improve brand experiences for their members and this maturity model is a great step-by-step path to get there over the course of time. It removes analysis paralysis and allows associations to get started right away with small-scale improvements that can be continuously measured and refined.

Why do you think some associations may not be taking advantage of this roadmap process?

Implementing the digital maturity roadmap goes deeper than just incorporating new toolsets and processes. A primary challenge for most associations is the cultural shift and political barriers involved with digital transformation.  This is where data and metrics become critical to the entire process.  Demonstrating how digital marketing and the related technologies can improve the bottom line is imperative to gaining the support of executive-level stakeholders.

The return on investment for most associations can be significant – through operational cost savings, faster time to market, and revenue generation.  But more importantly, the member’s experience can be significantly improved to a level that ensures retention and growth.

What else should associations know about the digital maturity model?

One of the things that gives associations an edge and makes the maturity model particularly suited to them, is the fact they are so membership-driven—they know so much about their audience and their behaviors and needs.

This allows for a ton of rich data to be captured by an association management system (AMS) or customer relationship management (CRM) system – more so than we might ordinarily see with an anonymous type of website. When this data is married with the predictive analysis or scoring practices of digital marketing, it can produce highly effective and engaging results.

There’s power here that associations can leverage that they’re not taking advantage of currently. The maturity model paired with a strategic partner who can help provide a vision, navigate what technologies to use, and put in place metrics to measure what is and isn’t working will help them bridge this gap faster and more efficiently.

Check here for the original article that appeared on Associations Now, including additional details on technology budgets as reported by 700 non profit organizations in 2014. 


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