AI, Automation, and New Tech Put Member Love Online


Every member experience with your brand is a plus or a minus. There is no neutral. If the interaction doesn’t register as positive, you’ve earned a negative due to a missed opportunity.

No matter how much marketing techniques evolve, that equation doesn’t change. As you investigate strategies to incorporate AI and other new technology into customer experience, it’s important to keep delight at the center of that relationship.

Getting a “wow” from a happy customer is lightning in a bottle. There is no substitute for that emotional high-five. In an interview for our Book Association 4.0: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Risk, Courage, and Transformation David Caruso, Co-Founder and President at HighRoad Solutions, explained the impact like this.

“There’s a lot of joy that comes from being an innovator. My biggest satisfaction is the reaction and response from the people we serve. Customers can become emotional when you solve a problem that’s causing stress. That gratitude is priceless.”

Helping their clients use cutting-edge marketing tools to better target, segment, and automate communications is HighRoad’s current focus. “Associations have had challenges with the idea of marketing beyond their memberships and finding new audiences,” David advises. “Marketing automation provides that opportunity. Some groups aren’t ready to take the leap to automation, but others already understand how these systems can help them to work more strategically.”

We are tempted to view AI’s powers as primarily in the realm of cost savings and efficiency; however, teamed with or without a human partner, AI can be a digital concierge helping organizations deliver that sought-after wow.

Google made us experts at stringing together the right combination of words to find exactly what we need in a click or two. Generative AI promises to add conversation, depth, and individualized support to those interactions across a variety of areas. 

Match Experiences to People

Professional development and certification are primary revenue sources for associations. Surprisingly, we’ve not seen significant change in the way those services are delivered.

Educational experiences must be transformational.

Tracy King, CEO and Chief Learning Strategist at InspirED, offers this insight into the need for new approaches. “Producing a program for everyone is the same as producing a program for no one. If learners cannot identify themselves and their needs in your program, they will find a more compatible option.”

In the current market, learning experiences must be varied, tailor-made, and transformational. The American Board of Medical Specialists were early adopters of that perspective. At .orgCommunity’s 2022 Innovation Summit, Jennifer Michael, Chief Operating Officer, explained how the organization combined technology with a customer-centric approach to retool the certification process.

“A ten-year recertification exam posed significant drawbacks for ABMS members,” Jennifer notes. “It was disruptive to their practices and family lives, was not always relevant to their specialty areas, and did not offer a path to learn from the experience.

“The association’s goals were to provide ongoing CE, offer physicians feedback on strengths and weaknesses, and fit more seamlessly into their lifestyle, all at a lower cost,” Jennifer advised. We wanted to create shorter assessments of specific content that could be administered over time. This initiative resulted in ABMS CertLink®.

The platform removes burdensome activities, provides an ongoing learning and assessment process, and continues to offer the public a reliable marker of trust.

“We are committed to emphasizing feedback and learning to close the knowledge gaps,” Jennifer observed. “The product provides immediate detailed critiques and rationales. And there’s a dashboard that highlights individual areas for improvement and compares results to other participants. Physicians no longer need travel to take an exam.”

The platform has over 35,000 users. When ABMS surveyed participants, the product satisfaction level was 90 percent. The results signal success within their community, and ABMS is now investigating how to expand into a greater continuing education market.

CertLink is a perfect example of technology with a heart, or systems where the pulse is customer satisfaction. In the coming years, AI promises to help us support members in ways that deliver increasing meaning and impact.

Go Beyond Personalization

Personalization has been a professional persuader’s go-to convincing technique for some time now. Early on, that meant getting the member’s name and last purchase right on an email promotion. Today, it might be providing a web view customized to preference, highly segmented campaign messaging, or simply having detailed information instantly at hand for a service call.

Consolidate tech islands.

Next-generation marketing will move beyond creating content for distinct groups to messaging that is based on an individual’s unique activities and history with your brand. Digital experience platforms are among the technology solutions that make that magic happen.

Currently, constituents probably engage with your association across multiple platforms. A prospective member might check you out on mobile, go to the LMS to look at professional development opportunities, and then jump to the membership, the meetings site, or your store on the mobile app to find products. Each of those stops are visits to isolated digital islands. An experience platform aggregates technology across systems to provide robust interactions.

In a Forbes Agency Council article, the CEO of Clear Digital, Steve Ohanians describes the technology like this.

“A DXP is a single tech system that manages every aspect of a company’s digital presence. It’s a one-stop-shop for everything, including your website, analytics, marketing, and e-commerce. A DXP can totally transform how you manage your company.”

Gartner provides this definition.

A DXP is “an integrated set of core technologies that support the composition, management, delivery, and optimization of contextualized digital experiences.”

Understand the Benefits

The goal is to simplify and provide a seamless and highly intuitive interface for customers. DXP technology has not yet made the leap from large corporate users to smaller industries and businesses. However big guys like Nike, Home Depot, the Mayo Clinic, and Apple are using DXPs to reap these benefits.

Improved Customer Experience


  • Personalization across all channels, including websites, mobile apps, email, and social media including targeted content, recommendations, and offers based on individual customer data and preferences


  • A unified identity and platform across channels ensuring that customers have a consistent experience regardless of how they interact with your brand


  • Tools and features that improve customer engagement, such as interactive content, social media integration, and gamification


Increased Efficiency and Productivity


  • A centralized platform for managing digital content and assets saving time and resources by eliminating the need for multiple systems and tools


  • Collaboration between departments, such as marketing, sales, and customer service for faster decision-making and improved execution


  • Automation of tasks, such as content creation, publishing, and marketing campaigns


Enhanced Agility and Scalability


  • A modular architecture that can be customized to meet the specific needs of each company


  • Faster innovation providing tools and resources to experiment with new technologies and ideas


  • Greater adaptability to market shifts by allowing quick updates to digital experiences


Increased ROI


  • Improved customer acquisition and retention


  • Reduced costs by automating processes and streamlining workflows


  • Real-time data insights that can be used to improve marketing, sales, and customer service


According to Gartner, the DXP market is expected to have reached $20.2 billion this year. This growth is being driven by the increasing demand for personalized customer experiences, the need for organizations to be more agile and responsive to change, and the growing adoption of cloud-based technologies.

DXPs center technology around user delight. With lowering costs and decreasing complexity, these platforms could be the next logical step in digital transformation, getting us closer to making every member encounter both a plus and a wow for your association.





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