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What “Where’s the Beef?” Taught Us About Member Retention

by | Jan 10, 2013 | Industry News & Trends

On this day in 1984, Wendy’s International aired a commercial featuring three elderly ladies gathered around a hamburger bun squinting at a dime-sized patty. “Where’s the Beef?”, one of them asked and the catch phrase took off honey badger style.

Member retention and a commercial from 1984?

When it comes to member-based organizations and member relations, you’re going to have two kinds of benefits. There are the gargantuan, fluffy bun-type offerings that your members associate with you. They are the events and services you’re known for; the ones you’ve built your reputation on. Come dues renewal time, you never have to remind your members about this type of offering. They know about it. It’s front and center on the plate.

The other value member organizations bring to their members are the smaller, more subtle items. They are the things members take for granted — could be the tireless lobbying efforts you perform on behalf of the industry or the community service you provide on a local level. While the impact of these actions may be vast, these smaller values may be overlooked by your members (just like those ladies in the commercial) when it comes to renewal time. Regardless of its size, the beef was in front of the ladies at all times; they just couldn’t see it. What made it worse was that they announced it to one another and made sure others were asking the same question.

Don’t give your members reason to be feeling the same way. On top of all the other benefits you provide them on a regular basis, add one more to the list — reminding them of the benefit they receive from membership. There are giant, pillowy bun-type advantages and there are seemingly tiny, easy-to-forget advantages in membership. If you don’t remind them (on a regular basis, not just at renewal time), they’ll be clamoring for more like good ole Clara Peller.

Let’s take one last look for nostalgia’s sake:


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