East Midland International Trade Association.
Established by a group of highly regarded, East Midlands based, export professionals, EMITA’s role is to help businesses grow via export and international trade. This is achieved by facilitating the exchange of knowledge via EMITA events, helping them develop overseas trade opportunities.
Despite a topical, astute and timely events calendar, regular attendance by members was low, impacting on their effectiveness. Meanwhile, new member subscriptions were reducing year-on-year, as was member renewal and retention.
This presented the fundamental challenge of funding. As a not-for-profit organisation, a consistent level of funding is essential, supporting both the pre-published, 12-month calendar of physical events, as well as ongoing marketing.
A customer-first approach.
Leading an immersive research and planning process, we set out to truly understand member opinion; what they expected, what they valued and how they needed support and content to be delivered. Our recommendations would be used to refine the event format and define a more effective sales process. This would be followed by a 6-month lead generation process to boost new sales and re-subscriptions.
Early research revealed that, despite the content being strong, poor event attendance was often being caused by practical factors such as Geography that, in turn, were eroding credibility and impacting member retention.
Furthermore, several key opportunities were being overlooked – such as member’s needs for mentorship, more focused master-classes and a wider variety of industry representation. Meanwhile, branded tools and assets intended to drive new leads into the sales funnel were failing to convey the true quality and diversity of the premium service on offer.
Finally, in being almost entirely PR-focused, sales & marketing activity didn’t utilise several of the channels needed to engage many prospect businesses across the Region. With an over-dependency on a narrow range of marketing channels and the lack of a formal sales process, exposure was limited and conversion opportunities reduced.
Created by Exporters, for Exporters.
Working closely alongside existing suppliers (Future-Plan and RDZ PR), and EMITA Board members, our strategy was therefore to:
- Support the development of a compelling visual identity and positioning that would appeal more directly to the very best regional, export-focused businesses.
- Map out alternative content formats for those unable to attend events or who wanted a new and different kind of information – such as live webinars.
- Implement a joined-up sales & marketing process through the formal combination of channels and accountability, supported by better sales tools and data management.
Working to KPIs determined by understanding the value of existing member subscription fees, retained capital and the forecasted cost of events and other marketing activities, we then collectively set out to attract and secure 300 sign-ups within the financial year.
Through these activities, together, we were able to ensure that Membership of EMITA was regarded as a matter of course for each and every export professional and business located in the East Midlands – delivering the necessary volume of membership subscriptions.