Guest post by Rasheeda Childress, Associations Now
While the pandemic led many associations to offer free education and events as a way to best support members in 2020, now is the time for organizations to re-evaluate their pricing strategy to ensure sustainable revenue.
With 2021 upon us and a vaccine slowly rolling out, associations are starting to move out of the pandemic pricing mode and into a post-pandemic normal. But many are wondering what pricing should look like this year. Michael Tatonetti, CPP, CAE, a consultant who specializes in association pricing, said organizations should move away from the discounts that marked 2020.
“I think discounting and knee-jerk reactions to make everything free need to stay in 2020,” he said. “I understand that for 2020, we wanted to get the right education to our members. That’s noble, but moving forward, it’s not sustainable financially. It can undervalue you if you eventually decide to do hybrid [events] or if we go back to in person.”
Tatonetti recommends starting fresh this year and looking at all pricing to ensure it makes sense.
“Now is a good time to reevaluate the value, and not just for events and sponsorship, but for membership and education, certification, publications, everything we offer—whatever those offerings are,” Tatonetti said. “The best associations will keep price and value conversations in step with their strategic planning, asking not only what value they provide to their members, sponsors, and the public, but how will they monetize it.”
Monetizing will typically require charging something other than free. Associations can decide that price by aligning it with the value of their offerings.
“Sit back and ask, what is the value? What are we charging? What is the strategy?” Tatonetti said. “When we get into conversations about value, we are actually having a conversation about innovation because we are saying, what else can we do? How else can we serve? What new things should we be doing? What should we stop doing? Is there anything that is no longer of value that we can sunset?”