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A Select Seminar with MemberWise: The Highlights

November 2019 4 min read

Cantarus Select Seminar with MemberWise

Digital Transformation is Nonsense and Your Members Don’t Care


Last week myself, Tom, Mark, and Mike joined Rich Gott, Founder of MemberWise to deliver a seminar titled, ‘Digital Transformation is Nonsense and Your Members Don’t Care.’ Each year we deliver two seminars with MemberWise which cover a range of themes and topics, and for this particular event, the team was keen to talk about all things member value. If you couldn’t make it, we wanted to give you a quick overview of what went down and some highlights from the day.

The seminar was held at Carlton House Terrace in central London, a quick walk from where we were staying in Covent Garden. Despite the early start, we were absolutely delighted to see 21 delegates show up from a variety of membership organisations including The Woodland Trust and BHTA.

Select Seminar Breakfast

The morning began with networking breakfast and coffee (check out that pastry selection!), before Rich kicked off with the intros and a presentation on digital trends in the membership sector. He discussed the top goals in membership, noting that the top 3 goals are increasing member engagement (which is the #1 goal for the 3rd year running), member acquisition and member retention.

Rich Gott at Select Seminar

Other interesting stats from Rich’s presentation were:

  • 56% of organisations regularly report website statistics to senior management,
  • 49% review analytics at operational meetings,
  • Only 10% are generating reports that provide engagement scores.

Rich felt that these stats, in particular, are detrimental to progressing the goal of increasing member engagement.

He then went on to cover mobile apps, and the fact that 72% of membership organisations don’t yet have one. Of those that do, 55% are only ‘fairly satisfied’ with it – so there’s definitely room for some serious improvement in the app space.

You can read more about the pros and cons of a membership app over on the MemberWise blog. We also have a blog post titled Mobile Apps & Membership: Do you even need one? in which we cover the value of an app for membership organisations, and whether an app could be relevant for you.

Rich Gott Select Seminar

Rich concluded his session looking into personalisation – although 78% of members expect personalisation as a given, 53% don’t personalise their web content. He closed the session with a few recommendations for going forward, including:

  • Review your online and offline member value proposition,
  • Establish what you, and your members, want from digital transformation,
  • Create a clear digital strategy.

Then it was time for Tom and Mark to take the stage with their main presentation all about digital transformation, why they had chosen this as the topic to cover, and what the catchy phrase even means.

Cantarus Select Seminar - Digital Transformation

Well, turns out it can mean quite a lot. Whether it’s big data, CMS, social media or artificial intelligence – all of the above can fall under this umbrella of ‘digital transformation.’ But there’s a huge misunderstanding – digital transformation suggests a need to throw everything out and start from scratch, and Tom explained why that’s simply not the case. He even threw in some references to Channel 4’s Grand Designs and how essentially, although ‘transformation’ sounds like a great idea, you’re usually just left at the end with no money and a mud pit to call home.

Tom ran through the various worries that organisations have when it comes to digital transformation, from feeling left behind to wondering how everything will possibly work together. However, he noted that often because organisations are so worried, they end up losing sight of what’s important: member value.

So, is there another way? According to Tom and Mark, yep – digital strategy. Buying everything in one go is rarely the best approach: the correct strategy starts with alignment to member value.

Cantarus Select Seminar - Digital Strategy

Further highlights, tips & tricks:

  • If you’re considering an app, there needs to be value. Don’t just get one for the sake of it.
  • Back in 2000, everyone got their news from the papers, but by 2010 this was places like bbc.co.uk. In 2020, we think this will all be done in apps.
  • Apps = personal, convenient, entertainment, educational, interpersonal.
  • However, it’s less about the app itself and more about those main goals of member engagement and improving member experience.


Cantarus demonstrated various apps like National Trust, MemberWise and the College of Optometrists app, the latter two built on our MemConnect platform.

The final key takeaways from the overall session were:

  • Start with member needs,
  • Iterate quickly,
  • There are no silver bullets.

We ended the morning with a Q&A session and more networking. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and had an insightful morning, and we made plenty of great connections. It was fantastic to see people that had travelled into London specifically for our seminar too.

Thanks again to the MemberWise team for sponsoring the seminar and putting on a successful morning. We’re already looking forward to the next one!

If you’d be interested in attending our next seminar, please let us know.

Written by Tabby Duff Digital Marketing Executive

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author unless explicitly stated. Unless of course, the article made you laugh, in which case, all credit should be directed towards our marketing department.