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Emily Nash

By: Emily Nash on December 17th, 2020

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Rethink Association & The Power of Podcasts

Membership Growth | Adapting new technologies

mailto:demo@example.com?Subject=HighRoad Solutions - interesting article

Here at HighRoad, our mission is not only to equip associations with the latest and greatest marketing technology solutions but to empower associations with the data and insights that will take their outreach efforts to the next level.

We continually strive to be the go-to source for all things trending in the association world: from marketing best practices to challenges unique to associations, we're here to help solve problems and innovate solutions.

For these reasons, we take 'practicing what we preach' seriously.
While we're always on the pulse of emerging trends in the association space, connecting with incoming generations, specifically those categorized as Gen Y and Gen Z, tops the list. 
Let’s face it—businesses of all sizes in all industries have had to adapt to the new demands and values aligned with younger generations, and associations are certainly no exception.
Both anecdotal and formalized research attests that reimagined approaches are key with Gen Y and Gen Z. Still, tightened resources and the 2020 upheaval have made it challenging to tap into these new approaches. So how do we truly lead by example and give associations demonstrative insight into the approaches that work?
Cue HighRoad's very own Rethink Association Podcast. A podcast for and by association digital experts with a lens on getting new generations on tap. 
Why a podcast? 
Podcasting has risen sharply in popularity, up from 40 million monthly listeners in the US in 2014 to 103 million listeners in 2020. And that number is expected to continue growing by about 20 million monthly listeners each year for the next several years.
While podcasts are highly appropriate for new gen multi-taskers, in reality, podcasts reach listeners across all age groups and interests. (source: statista) The audio delivery itself feels less “buttoned up” than a formal webinar experience, allowing listeners to play the content on-demand, at any time. Many listeners tune in while commuting/driving, doing housework, or even doing more mundane work-related tasks to keep their minds engaged. 
There are various formats for podcasts, from one-on-one interviews to solo commentary to fiction or nonfiction storytelling. In order to best serve associations, we’ve implemented a panelist approach to podcasting. 
Our podcast panelists:
  • Emily Nash, Digital Diva & HighRoad Digital Advisor
  • Nicole Crilley, Digital Nomad & HighRoad Email Marketing Specialist 
  • Ariel Saultz, Innovation Accelerator & HighRoad Technical Project Manager
In terms of content generation, HighRoad's Center of Excellence (COE) 
is a topical compass for association-specific content. Driven by our multi-disciplinary subject matter experts, it systematically surfaces industry trends and nuggets of valuable information for association "smartech-ers". New gen topics then get funneled into our podcasts based on content fit.
Each month, our audio pioneers deliver bite-sized (15-25 minute) episodes to help organizations rethink their routes to younger generations. Episodes feature insights from our panelists and special guests such as association executives, millennial members, and more. 
Our panelists bring decades of association smartech experience. These Millennials (Emily and Nicole) and Gen Z (Ariel) know first-hand what works and what doesn't when it comes to marketing to and engaging with younger professionals. They have on-the-ground perspectives on generational traits and patterns and can counsel go-to-marketing approaches given their digital expertise. So let’s dive into what associations have learned from these panelists so far. 
What’s different about Millennials and Gen Z?  
You’re not alone if you still think Millennials are the fresh-out-of-college, brand-new-to-the-workplace generation. This perception is wide-reaching across all industries. However, many Millennials are nearly a decade or more into their careers. The oldest Millennials turn 40 this year. Let that sink in for a moment.
The term “Millennial” describes anyone born between 1981 and 1996, or anyone currently between the ages of 25 and 40. Young professionals that are 1-2 years into their careers, or still in college, are classified as Gen Z. 
So, what do these young professionals want? What do they value? Our podcast takes a deep dive into all of this, but here are some highlights on what they're looking for:
  • A seamless technological experience: Gen Z has particularly high expectations when it comes to tech, starting with their first impression on your website, including sign-up and payment usability. They’re used to the Netflix model—put in your credit card info once, get charged automatically, and have the flexibility to customize your experience and cancel at any time. In this way, Gen Z are the “tastemakers” for Millennials and even the older generations. They grew up expecting this experience, and the rest of us have become accustomed to the convenience. 
  • An organization they believe in: Millennials and Gen Z identify strongly with social justice causes, and they want to know that the organizations they’re investing their time and money in will not only provide value to them as individuals but contribute to the greater good. As such, advocacy programs, legislative charges, and policy movements will keep this group loyal and engaged in associations.
  • Tangible value: While previous generations joined associations because it was what was done," most Millennials and Gen Z-ers just don’t operate this way. These younger professionals are accustomed to learning and networking using free resources online. They’ve grown up with YouTube, Facebook, and LinkedIn, so to prove your association’s value to them, you’ll have to be very specific about your benefits and experiences.  You'll need to go beyond traditional programming into the realm of new, more diversified, and more flexible offerings with highly demonstrated return.
We’ll cover these topics and so many more—from real-world successes and failures of Gen Y and Gen Z acquisition to interviews with younger members who’ve found great value in their own professional association since joining. Our goal is to share insights and resources that will energize your organization to take the leap into young professional recruitment. 

Rethink Association Blog

About Emily Nash

With a unique background in start-ups-to-studios, and consulting-to-corporate settings, Emily specializes in solving for unknowns, pioneering new services, and collaborating with marketers and strategists. In her community, she served on the board of American Institute for Graphic Arts as their Communications Director to help promote networking and mentorship opportunities for area designers and creatives. She’s also a co-producer for Rethink Association, a podcast for associations.