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Gabrielle Wathen

Gabrielle is a Content Specialist at Higher Logic with a background in journalism, film, and marketing. When she's not writing about online communities or marketing automation, you can find her cuddling her cats Harvey and Wilbur, traveling the world, or storytelling in any way she can. Favorite food: All things cheese. Favorite place: Black Rock City, NV.
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Recent Posts

Webinar Recap: Attracting Young Professionals to Your Association

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 27, 2020 at 11:52 AM | 5 minute read

To attract young professionals to your association, you have to understand what matters to them in their early career stages and what really drives them to succeed. Wondering how to get in the mindset of a young professional in today’s world? 

This week, Higher Logic teamed up with Community Brands to host a webinar on just that – strategizing for the next generation. 

Discussion hosts Vivian Swertinski, Higher Logic Sr. Strategist, and Tara Pawlak, Community Brands Director of Marketing, shared top strategies that associations are using to grow their young professional membership, including: 

  • Young member priorities, like job opportunities and professional development
  • Building a network of peers and mentors within your industry
  • Personalizing your communications during recruitment and retention 

Fun fact: Job opportunities are one of the most sought-after benefits associations can offer. As Tara noted in the webinar:

“In times of economic uncertainty, association job boards see an increase in job seeker traffic, as professionals turn to them as a resource to help fortify against risk or find new job opportunities.”

Let’s go over some actionable insights from our experts, based on industry data, that can help you reach professionals earlier in their careers.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Member Communities, Associations, Member Retention, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Online Community

10 Ways to Learn with Higher Logic

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on March 24, 2020 at 8:00 AM | 6 minute read

Here at Higher Logic, we’re passionate about lifelong learning and dedicated to providing resources to drive our customers’ to achieve their goals. Education is the foundation of success. 

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Topics: Member Experience, Customer Success, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Super Forum, Learning Management Systems, Product News

MTI's Story: Harnessing Community to Digitally Transform

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 24, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 7 minute read

The Metal Treating Institute (MTI) is a nonprofit trade association built to support its members, companies in the heat treating business. It has 370 member companies across 40 U.S. states and Canada. MTI adopted an online community in 2009. This is their digital transformation story.

Wondering how your association can stay relevant, effectively connect with younger members, save staff time, increase revenue, and boost retention? We’ll let MTI tell you. 

Before MTI adopted an online community, it was short on staff, didn’t have an AMS, and its revenue was decreasing. The trade association needed to update its value proposition dramatically to thrive again. That’s where the value of communities came in.

MTI chose community as a tool for digital transformation, and has achieved the following successes with less than 4 full-time staff members: 

  • 50% decrease in transactional requests due to community
  • 2600% revenue growth in 14 years
  • 97% member retention rate

How do they do it? We sat down with Tom Morrison, MTI CEO, and Kristen Speer, MTI Director of Member Experience, to hear their story and learn about how they’ve harnessed the power of online communities to tap into the future of their membership and provide maximum value. 

“We’ve used technology, including our online community, our learning management system, and our benchmarking database to empower our members, help them do more for themselves, connect with them, and expand services without expanding staff. We’ve turned MTI around.” -Tom Morrison, MTI CEO 

As you scroll on to soak up lessons from MTI’s strategy, be sure to watch the videos featured throughout to hear about MTI’s digital transformation directly from Tom and Kristen.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

10 Association Communications Stats with Tips to Reach Younger Members More Effectively

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on February 4, 2020 at 6:45 AM | 9 minute read

Strong retention across a multigenerational membership base starts with an effective communications strategy. 

Here’s what we know: Recent data shows associations are increasingly struggling to engage young professionals, effectively utilize technology to cut through the clutter, and clearly communicate membership value.

Here’s what else we know: You can reach and retain younger members by exceeding their expectations with a customized member experience that meets them where they are in their careers, and positions you to grow together. 

Let’s explore 10 of the newest industry statistics revealing various association communication challenges, and thus, opportunities for strategic improvement.

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Topics: Communications, Millennials, Associations, Member Retention, Member Engagement, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Online Community

Email Marketing vs. Marketing Automation [Explained]

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on January 10, 2020 at 8:30 AM | 12 minute read

A well-informed association communications strategy requires a comprehensive understanding of the differences between old-school email marketing and modern marketing automation. If you need help wrapping your head around the nuances of these technologies, you’re not alone–and you’ve come to the right place for clarity.

Did you know that 87 percent of associations consider marketing automation an important component of their current strategy? 

Yet, according to Naylor’s 2019 Association Communications Benchmarking Study, associations are increasingly struggling to effectively leverage technology like email marketing and marketing automation to deliver the customized experience members (especially younger generations) have come to expect, noting that:

  • Less than 20% feel they are effectively leveraging their career center, content management system, learning management system or marketing automation system to deliver a customized member experience
  • 3 out of 5 respondents feel they could improve their member engagement with their communications by improving their ability to customize for different subgroups
  • Nearly half (44%) of respondents agreed with the statement: “We could do a better job of promoting our communications as a member benefit”—up from 41% who felt this way in 2018

These stats reveal opportunities, and the need for some additional knowledge.

Visual learner? For maximum understanding of the differences between email marketing and marketing automation, be sure to read on and watch our featured video below (which breaks this all down in a super simplistic way).

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Topics: Marketing, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation

2020 Association Tech: 3 Expert Tips to Guide Your Planning

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on December 19, 2019 at 11:51 AM | 7 minute read

Good news: Four association experts sat down to share their favorite trends and lessons learned from the newly rebranded ASAE Technology Exploration Conference (TEC) and their valuable conversation can help guide your association’s 2020 planning strategy for success. 

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Topics: Member Experience, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

6 Email Deliverability Pitfalls and Best Practices

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on December 5, 2019 at 8:15 AM | 7 minute read

If you want your marketing emails to earn a home in the right inbox, you’ll need more than brilliantly crafted content and personalization working for you. Those factors have the potential to pay off when your email hits the inbox and is opened, but what if it doesn’t make it that far? It’s important to understand what goes on behind the scenes after hitting send.

If you’re up against poor email deliverability rates, or simply need a refresher on deliverability best practices, assess your strategy for these common pitfalls then get busy making improvements to impact how you’ll send emails moving forward for maximum exposure.

If you were at our recent Super Forum conference, you may recall these tips from an engaging breakout session on deliverability presented by Amanda DeLuke, Higher Logic Deliverability Analyst, and Dean Canellos, Manager of Deliverability Operations.

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Topics: Email Deliverability, Email Marketing, Marketing Automation, Super Forum

Association Growth Strategy: 6 Tech Tools to Drive Member Recruitment + Retention

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on November 12, 2019 at 12:48 PM | 4 minute read

For associations focusing on strategically attracting new members (and keeping them engaged for the long haul), it’s important to package your tech stack for ample growth and retention

Association membership in the modern age is all about providing people with real value on their terms, and strategically leveraging technology is an effective way to attract and retain those members who you’ll transform into your trusty advocates. Give people indisputable reasons to renew.

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Topics: Engagement, Volunteer Management, Associations, Member Retention, User Group Management, Member Engagement, Collaboration Tools, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Learning Management Systems

3 Add-on Tools to Drive Association Revenue + Amplify Member Engagement

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on October 17, 2019 at 2:07 PM | 7 minute read

Is your association leveraging technology to its fullest potential? You can elevate the success of your online community and marketing automation activities by integrating solutions that fuel long-term engagement, like data collection, mobile apps, and volunteer management programs. 

If you know data exists within your online community and marketing automation activities, but you aren’t leveraging it to inform your ability to provide a targeted, valuable member experience, well - it’s as if Charlie Bucket found a golden ticket then decided he didn’t feel like going to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory that day. 

Magical experiences are earned on the other side of diligent courage and execution. Embrace change. Identify what you need to deliver the member experience you want, and learn how to make the data work for you.

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Topics: Member Communities, Associations, Member Experience, Member Engagement, Marketing Automation, Online Community, Integration

2019 State of Community Management: What Now? 5 Stats with Action Items for Executive Stakeholders + Community Leaders

Written by Gabrielle Wathen on June 26, 2019 at 1:08 PM | 5 minute read

The data published in The Community Roundtable’s 10th Annual State of Community Management report was collected from 325 community programs between January and March 2019. ICYMI: We shared a collection of 39 nitty-gritty stats from the report in our first blog recap.

Communities are change agents, there’s no doubt about it. The 2019 State of Community Management report reveals that communities are transforming organizations in fascinating (and profitable) ways. Program outcomes can be connected to a variety of complex business objectives like customer retention, innovation, and culture change.

Because communities are complex, adaptive systems, they have the ability to address a variety of complex problems with a multitude of different solutions.

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Topics: Online Community Management, Customer Communities, Member Communities, Online Community Software, Customer Retention, Customer Success, Online Community

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