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Better Business Idea #35

Build Customer/Client Loyalty By Membership

© 2000 by Michael C. Gray

March 29, 2000

One of the strongest human motivations is belonging. About 70% of the U.S. population belongs to some membership organization. Part of everyone's self image relates to what church we belong to, what school we attended, what service organization we belong to, what athletic club we belong to, etc.

What about hermits? The reference group of hermits is other hermits!

Many organizations have successfully differentiated themselves and become the preferred choice of their customers or clients by having their customers or clients become "members" of the organization. The products or services of the organization become "membership benefits."

For example, the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is primarily an insurance company. By becoming the membership organization and advocate of its identified customer base, senior citizens, it has also become the preferred provider of insurance products to that market.

Price-Costco provides similar products as grocery stores, department stores and discount stores. Since its customers are members, Price-Costco is the preferred source for many of the products it sells. Of course it delivers what their members perceive as consistent good value in what it sells.

Dan Kennedy and other newsletter publishers have packaged their products and services as "membership levels". Silver is a subscription to a newsletter. Gold adds monthly audio tapes and books. Platinum adds periodic "brainstorming" meetings, personal coaching and offers to participate in marketing ventures.

Think about how you can apply this concept for your organization. Build a real relationship with your customers as members, and you, too, can become their preferred choice for what you offer. By consistently delivering good value to your members, you may well have customers for life.

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