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In our recent Digital Member Study, we found a majority of members say technology plays a big role in their everyday lives. The study shows that members, in general, are ahead of the technology adoption curve (see chart below). Sixty-three percent of members identify themselves as ahead of the curve or early adopters of technology. But, what does this really mean for associations?

Digital Member Study Personal Tech Adoption Graph

We know there’s a disconnect between the rate members and associations are adopting new technology. If your organization isn’t proactive with technology planning, your members could leave you behind for alternatives that deliver the same value in the digital way they like to engage and consume.

This isn’t about implementing every new technology that emerges. But, it is important for your organization to keep its finger on the pulse of member technology usage and expectations.

Prepare for the future with early-adopter members.

If you find your organization is struggling to stay ahead of the curve with evolving technology, turn to your early-adopter members to help keep your finger on the pulse of shifting expectations and preferences. Incorporate member surveying and focus groups in your technology planning to gain insights into changing member needs, before it’s too late. Because early adopters are the first to embrace new technology, they can provide a roadmap for where member behavior and expectations are heading.

The top way early-adopter members want to engage with their association is through their smartphone. Organizations can no longer ignore the need for a mobile-first strategy. Take the time to map out your members’ mobile experience. This extends beyond your website. Also, evaluate the mobile experience for communications and content via email, online communities and education courses. Future content design should be for digital, mobile consumption, rather than forced printed content online.

Early-adopter members also show more interest in engaging with their association through emerging technologies, such as wearables, smart speakers/TVs and virtual reality. These devices can help provide more seamless daily engagement for associations. Associations are already finding ways to incorporate timely notifications, simplified registration and seamless digital event experiences into their technology strategy. It’s an important time for your organization to evaluate its plans for leveraging these devices. There will only be a growing amount of possibilities to extend engagement and improve the overall member experience.

Digital Member Study Early Adopter Graph

Leverage emerging technologies to empower your staff.

The rise in popularity and functionality of emerging technologies not only affords opportunities to provide a better member experience, it also can be a powerful tool to empower your association staff. Most are excited about the prospect of accessing their software and platform tools from a mobile device, allowing for more work flexibility.

Other emerging trends, such as leveraging machine learning or predictive intelligence, empower your staff with actionable insights. However, these insights are only as good as the data to which your systems have access. Prioritizing data analytics and business intelligence will be important as organization prepare for the future.

Digital Member Study Tech For Orgs

The entire Digital Member Study is available for free.