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Segmentation – Revealing The 8 Elements of Member Success Management

Membership Mondays – Memberships Matter – Make the most of Your Membership Program.

To actually ensure your members achieve their Desired Outcome (Outlined in our article The Ideal Member Profile)– or what they need to achieve, the way they need to achieve it – and not just hope it happens, you need to actively work your members toward that goal.

That’s where Member Success Management comes in.

We define Member Success Management as the process of moving members toward their ever-evolving Desired Outcome.

And Member Success Management is made up of eight main elements which we are going to outline over the next several articles:

  • Segmentation
  • Orchestration
  • Intervention
  • Measurement
  • Expansion (and Renewal)
  • Communication
  • Instrumentation
  • Operationalization



Logical Member Segmentation is at the core of a sound – and scalable – Member Success Management strategy.

Segmenting members based on how much they pay you for membership fees, or service level fees (ARR, LTV, ACV, etc.) is one of those traps that a lot of organizations fall into.

It seems logical (from your perspective, at least), plus it’s what industries have been doing for a long time (it’s simply a holdover from traditional Account Management of the association or membership model introduced by the Baby-boomer generation which created the model).

Just because that’s how it’s been done, doesn’t mean it’s right!

Each member segment has its own Appropriate Experience (part of the Desired Outcome for each member)– even if they share the same Required Outcome (also part of DO)– so if we understand what their Appropriate Experience is, we’ll know the type and level of coverage (humans – required skills, characteristics, etc. – plus technology) to get them there.

Segmenting your members based on Appropriate Experience is the only way to both give the member exactly what they need and the coverage levels to do that.

Segmenting members based on how much they pay us is one of those traps that a lot of Member Success organizations fall into, mostly because it seems logical, but that isn’t a correct assumption, and it will hamper your overall Member Success strategy for growth. Let’s explore a bit, shall we?

Appropriate Member Segmentation

Each member segment will have its own Appropriate Experience (AX) – even if they share the same Required Outcome (RO)– and this will tell you the type and level of coverage (humans – required skills, characteristics, etc. – plus technology).

Required Outcome + Appropriate Experience is, of course, what makes up the member’s Desired Outcome.

This means that segmentation should be logical (take a step back and really think about it) and done from the member point of view (think: Experience Segmentation, more on this later) rather than from an internal-focused view (i.e. ARR, revenue potential, etc.).

It’s not about what a member pays us… it’s about the member’s Appropriate Experience.

It’s easy to just assume that those things would be correlated, but that’s not always true; and that assumption can cost you dearly, in revenue, profit, and ultimately, members.

Don’t Over-deliver. Don’t Under-deliver. Just Deliver.

Some high-revenue members paying the same amount will have very different Appropriate Experiences and if you don’t know this, you’ll normalize across all members paying us that same amount.

But, one segment of members within that same “revenue band” may have an Appropriate Experience that requires much less coverage by your staff, resulting in a super profitable segment if you understood this.

By not knowing this, however, we inadvertently take what could be a very profitable segment and over-deliver, costing us more in the process and – worst-case – actually driving the member away because the experience is inappropriate for them.

The Appropriate Experience Discovery process

Before trying to figure out all of the logical segments that may exist across your member base or Total Addressable Market, start with one and discover the Appropriate Experience for them.

After that, you’ll start to see how important Appropriate Experience is to the member, why it’s not going to be the same across all member segments, and other logical segments will begin to appear. So do this:

  1. Start with your Ideal Member
  2. Create a hypothesis based on the characteristics of your Ideal Member
  3. Interview Members and Prospects that fit your Ideal Member Profile
  4. Observe them in their daily routines
  5. Ask about their goals
  6. Ask about experiences with other vendors that they thought were right on
  7. Ask about adjacent products/services they use and research the experience those vendors offer
  8. Come out with a more solid Appropriate Experience hypothesis
  9. Create a Member Success Management process for that hypothesis
  10. Run it by some of your trusted members to see if you’re on the right track or
  11. Start testing it with members

Once you’re comfortable you have the process down, start doing this with your other logical Member Segments.

Next time, We’ll take a look at Orchestration – one of the simplest and yet amazingly effective things you can do to ensure your members aren’t just on the path toward success but to know what to expect along the way.


“Memberships are the most important asset in our Industry today.  Are you making the most of your membership program? Is it growing your organization? Are you putting enough resources into growing your member base? Do you have a targeted plan for Recruiting, Engaging, and Retaining your members? We can help.” – Andrew McElhannon, CEO – Association Project Management, LLC®.

APM® helps member-based organizations & professional Trade Associations achieve Member Success, stabilize their member retention and guarantee membership growth through Prospect Development and Member Recruitment, as well as Member Engagement and Concierge Onboarding.

Organizations implement APM’s® programs to sustain their current revenue, reduce losses due to Churn (member non-renewal) and generate new revenue by creating Raving Fans® who evangelize new members that over time becomes automatic, organic growth. “Members begetting Members”.

Association Project Management, LLC® also provides a list of other project management and project completion services through a virtual staff member – a committed, trusted expert who helps to reduce costs, lower risks, improve efficiencies, meet deadlines, solve challenging problems, support strategic initiatives and produce better outcomes for your association staff. Visit them today at

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