Marketing Communication (marcom) pain points within an association can be common. But they can also be frustrating for the association’s Board, staff and members leading to mixed messages, negative member experiences, and halted decision-making, which can potentially stunt the association’s overall growth plans.


Examples of pain points include ineffective member engagement that can impact recruitment and retainment or information overload that leads to clutter and misunderstanding of the association’s mission and values. The good news is these pain points can be overcome!


Marcom pain points for associations can vary depending on the size, structure, and its key objectives. In this blog, we’ll review the three most common pain points for an association and how to resolve them.

  1. Member Engagement & Participation – Associations at some point struggle with effectively engaging and retaining members. The main cause? Ineffective communication strategies that fail to convey the value of membership or provide compelling reasons for participation. Resulting in members feeling disconnected or disengaged if they don’t see how the association benefits them personally or professionally. Additionally, difficulty in reaching out to members or maintaining their interest in association activities can exacerbate this issue. Solution: Reevaluate and reset your marcom strategies to ensure your communications are still relevant with the ever-changing needs of the association and its key stakeholders. It’s important members feel real value in their membership and that they are part of an exclusive ‘community’ that benefits them and their industry.


  1. Mixed Messages & Clutter – Too much or too little is never a good thing. And associations often have a wealth of information to share with their members, including updates on industry trends, events, educational resources, and advocacy efforts. However, this abundance of information can lead to information overload and clutter, making it difficult for members to prioritize what is most relevant to them. Poorly organized communication channels or platforms can exacerbate this issue, leaving members feeling overwhelmed and less likely to engage with association communications. Solution: Content is king! Relevance is Queen and Engagement is the Kingdom. Plan your marcom roadmap for the association in terms of email marketing, social media, events, etc. to ensure consistent key messaging and targeted communications is the basis of all outreach. Don’t just send out communications for the sake of trying to stay ‘top of mind.’


  1. Effective Internal Communication – Associations typically involve multiple stakeholders, including Board members, committee members, staff, and volunteers. Ensuring effective and consistent communication among these groups is essential for smooth operations and decision-making. However, associations may struggle with siloed communication channels, miscommunication, or lack of transparency, leading to inefficiencies, misunderstandings, and frustration among team members. Solution: Communications is not a one size fits all approach. Take a step back when creating materials for multiple audiences. Ensure all materials going to different audiences are targeted to their needs and interests and timed appropriately. And also review the communication channels being used and if that particular audience prefers a different method of receiving their news, then switch things up to ensure they’re getting the information, its useful to them and they’re actually reading or using it.


Resolving these marcom pain points is possible but requires a strategic approach from the association’s marcom team that prioritizes member engagement, streamlines information delivery, and fosters effective communication channels.


This may involve updating or implementing new targeted communication strategies, utilizing technology solutions for member outreach and engagement, improving the organization’s internal communication processes, and regularly soliciting feedback from members to gauge the effectiveness of communication efforts.


In the end the time invested to overcome these common marcom pain points will be worth it, as it will help to propel the association forward in achieving its strategic marcom goals to recruit and retain new members, enhance member experiences, ease decision-making roadblocks, and ensure the growth of the association.