Engagement Report Card Has One Organization Smiling at Renewals Time

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The International Association of Plastics Distribution (IAPD) has developed a report card to measure engagement of its members in activities like webinars, certificate programs and live events. In addition, they have now created awards for members who reach certain engagement levels in particular categories.

"Three months before the awards deadline," reports Associations Now, "IAPD staff contact companies to let them know, based on their tracked engagement, how close they are to achieving the awards."

If a publisher went this route, then their subscribers would be inclined to increase their participation—always a good thing—and maybe win an award. Sounds like a win-win. If not awards, then another incentive like a premium or special access at an event might work as well.

We're trying to "reward the behavior that you want to see," said IAPD CEO Susan Avery. "First we needed to know the level of participation and consumption that we had. So, we used the dashboard information to help us identify what some of those critical areas were, and then we would use the dashboard to track the companies."

School report cards don't always bring up the most pleasant memories. But company report cards should be different, especially the kind that measure customer engagement levels with an eye towards ensuring their participation before it's time to renew.

Three years after putting their engagement scoring process into action, Avery said that it has become a "pillar" in IAPD's organizational decision making. The member-engagement report card (see a sample one here) spun off of that process and shows the member's "engagement level in every activity that IAPD tracks," divided into four categories:

  • Training Your Employees
  • Promoting Your Brand
  • Making the Right Connections
  • Engaging in Solutions

Engagement activity is shown for the past three years, and then a final column gives the average engagement of the top 25 member companies per activity. Many of the CEOs received their report cards in person at a forum recently—a funny concept thinking back to our elementary school days—in hopes that they would see where their companies could be getting more value.

Grades, however, were left off. "We don't feel that has value to them," Avery said. "It has value to us internally, but we think at that point, you get into giving a value judgment and companies taking it the wrong way."  

A similar report card for a SIPA company might include these activities:

  • Webinar attendance (extra points for asking a question?)
  • eLearning participation
  • Certificate program
  • Opening the flagship publication
  • Opening the daily newsletter
  • Annual conference attendance
  • Regional meeting attendance
  • Q&A forums
  • Listening to webcasts or podcasts
  • Downloading reports or white papers
  • Social media shares or likes
  • Speaking at an event

The question becomes, what's involved in tracking all that? Amazingly, IAPD's report cards are built on top of their existing engagement-tracking engine—with just five or six hours of developer work needed to build it, Avery said.

Last year, a survey of more than 150 B2B marketers found that only 41% of companies were tracking their customers' engagement. Yet, 80% said that tracking customer engagement is a high priority. That's quite a disconnect. Engagement starts at the onboarding level. That's the time to get new subscribers excited about all the ways you have to engage, and start them on a path to straight A's.

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…