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Struggling to put a 4.0 member-serving front-end on a 2.4 corporate culture?  
How's that going for you?  How's it going for your members?

As trade association and membership professionals, we don't really need any more networking groups.  We need time and space to look at the big issues and reflect on what it means to serve today's and tomorrow's members, given that all we've got is yesterday's trade association and our own teams' professional skills.

Preferably without a salesman in the room.

Associations 4.0 is one person's attempt to engage with that need.

Please bear with us as we develop this site into something that provides a bit of stimulus and alternative thinking.  Better still, get in touch.  There's no fee for a chat.  At least, not for the first one!

Here.  Now.  Associations 4.0

As trade association and membership professionals, we feel the tensions. Members value the traditions.  Or the campaigns.  Or maybe the letters after their names.  But the old engagement models just aren't cutting the proverbial mustard any more.  Today's members want more.  


It would be handy if only they knew what 'more' looked like. But they're sure about one thing:  

if we don't give it to them, we lose them as members. 

We rationalise this to ourselves by setting member satisfaction goals or, more recently, developing "member engagement strategies".  We talk about net promotor scores and member-get-member schemes.  We persuade ourselves and our Boards it'll all be better once we've spent the members' cash on a new CRM system.

What we're doing is the associations equivalent of a software engineer re-creating an analogue process to run on a digital platform.  Which puts us in roughly the same place the printing industry was when Pagemaker and Photoshop first started appearing on PCs and sheet-fed desk-top printers replaced the fax machine.

We can't serve Industry 4.0 if our culture is still running Associations 3.2.  Deal with it.

Do members care about CRM?

Stock photography of keen-looking well-groomed white male executive types helps make us feel comfortable handing wads of members' cash to promising-sounding software solutions. They promise us efficiency gains.  We might be better served by a chatty Modern Apprentice and a day's telesales training.

How often are these membership engagement programmes little more than old-school clerical systems which have simply been digitised and paired with some hopeful networking app?  Remind me, when did our members ask for a networking app, again?

Customer Service

Or web development metrics?

We broadcast 'push' notifications for upcoming meetings and use social media and web metrics to drive members and prospective members to unique URLs so we can examine who opened what message and how long they spent on-line as a result. How do you feel when you know somebody's doing that to you?

We tell ourselves existing members and -- especially -- the

up-coming generation are socially-savvy digital natives who want to consume our content optimised for mobile devices.  So why don't they respond and get involved?

Open Laptop

Contact Us

4 Frodesley Hall Farm Barns, Frodesley,

Dorrington, Shropshire SY5 7GA

+4479 6813 1709

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