A buffet of options: Mobile, marketing and members

May 3, 2012

Many years ago, I made my first trip to Las  Vegas — a business trip, mind you — and I noticed glitz and excess everywhere. I remember going to lunch in one of the dozens of restaurants at a large convention center hotel, and the buffet seemed to go on forever.  There were so many choices that it was almost impossible to take them all in — and I probably missed whole sections of what they had to offer.

Like that buffet, PRSA offers a broad array of benefits to members. While not every benefit is for everyone, every benefit we offer is for someone. PRSA members have different and evolving needs based on their career stage, environment and discipline. Therefore, we have a range of options to support everyone from agency veterans to educators to recent graduates.

As a result, one of our greatest challenges is making sure that you are aware of what we offer, and that you can find exactly what you need to take full advantage of your membership.  That’s why we’ve developed a mobile version of our website during the past year, which is now available in beta form. If you visit prsa.org on your smartphone, then our site will appear with simpler graphics and menu choices so that you can access what you want, wherever you are. 

Just a year ago, about 1 percent of our site traffic came from mobile devices.  That number continues to grow every day.  We’ll continue to fine-tune the mobile site in the coming months to improve your experience and expand functionality, and in the meantime, we welcome your feedback.

Responding to research

We rely on membership research to help set priorities and understand what our members want.  We’ve learned that members highly value two of the less tangible aspects of their membership: our advocacy program and our Code of Ethics.

About 18 months ago, the Board of Directors decided to refocus and streamline our advocacy program, allowing us to react more quickly and visibly to issues affecting the profession — with an emphasis on the value of public relations, ethics and diversity. 

And since the beginning of the year, PRSA has spoken out about the FDA’s regulation of social media, a Senate investigation into government spending on public relations and the proposed copyright-related legislation. (Check out the “Advocacy” section of  PRSA’s website to learn more about these issues.)

But understanding member needs and responding to them as they change is a never-ending process. We’re currently looking more closely at the high-level qualities that members have in common — in other words, do PRSA members who work for agencies want different member benefits than those who work  for corporations?  We’re digging deeper into this topic through member research to see what the implications might be for our offerings, and how we can best present them to you.

And speaking of presenting our member benefits, we just completed an internal restructuring to consolidate and strengthen our marketing function. We’ve created a robust, dedicated marketing department for the first time in PRSA’s history — without adding to our overall staff levels. We’re excited about this change, and you’ll be seeing the results in the months ahead as we communicate about your benefits and the value of membership in new ways.


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