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What we learned at Memberwise DX 2024

28.05.24NewsPeople & Culture

Over the years we’ve worked in numerous sectors - manufacturing and industrial, sport, education, travel, charity, automotive.

More recently (in our case that still means over 5 years!) we’ve found a fresh and exciting niche in the Membership sector - and what a sector! It’s hugely varied, but has a set of challenges that we don’t encounter in some of the other industry areas we cover.

They’re complex - and we’re into it 

All of them share a common concern - they exist to service their membership body. Sounds simple, but those members could be businesses, individuals, groups, and other sub-memberships (think of federations).

In many membership organisations they’re dealing with multiple member needs - some need to learn or gain a certification, others need to enter competitions, attend events, others want to use legal services, lobby Government or buy insurance. Most also want information specific to an issue, problem or topic.

Joining up all the dots is a heady challenge for the membership organisation - oh and then they need to manage all this with often limited resources and budgets. Competing parts of the organisation clamour for the attention of the digital, comms, PR, IT and marketing teams.


Membership Organisations have ‘things’. Only some of them are joined up

And as a coup de grace, they have ‘things’. Lots of them. CMS, LMS, CRM, DAM, Member Management systems (yes they have an acronym too, unsurprisingly MMS), as well as ecommerce, forums, mobile and other web apps.
This is the kind of challenge we absolutely thrive on. How to make the member experience feel like they’re getting their needs met and - when it comes to the digital experience - still actually in the same organisation as they flip from software product to digital tool with separate logins and sometimes poorly branded aesthetic. 

So we made a recent trip to the excellent Memberwise Digital Excellence 2024 Conference and Exhibition in order to find out more about their challenges, opportunities and generally to understand better so we can solve problems with current insight. We took a stand to make sure we had a better opportunity to speak directly with the 400 plus attendees.


memberwise content image 2.jpeg

So what did we learn? 

  • Pretty much everyone we met was willing to be open, to share, collaborate, be curious and to help. I’ve been to Sports event too in recent days and the same is true there - (I think there are plenty of other sectors which could learn from this open approach!)
  • Although there are nuances and individual differences, many of the challenges faced are the same across all member organisations. That doesn’t mean there’s a silver bullet or magic software product to fix all ills (though some exhibitors there would have you believe so!). It does mean those of us experienced in the sector can  quickly get to grips with the individual challenges and look at the variance without having  to start from scratch.
  • Always go to events that are evidently run well. As an exhibitor or delegate, do a little homework. This is a good event. Sure it could be improved, and I know they’re looking at new venues where exhibitors and content are closer together, but the content was strong, the organisation slick and the attendees high quality. 3 big ticks.
  • If you’re going to have a stand, make sure it stands out. No promises about world peace through innovative software, and no silly gimmicks totally disconnected from your service (and your audience!). We did our research, had a strong creative vehicle which resonated, and had a lot of attention and conversations as a result. 
  • We also proudly had a ‘no merch’ stand, instead spending our swag money on planting trees in exchange for scans - which seemed to be well received. Anyone desperately needing a branded stress ball could head next door
  • All in all a positive experience, a lot of lessons learned about commonality of challenges and a step forward in the way we understand and can help membership organisations.

Well done everyone at Memberwise, we’ll be back for next year and hopefully with more membership customers to reward us for our efforts and skill.


Alan Cooper Founder of Freestyle

Alan Cooper

Founder Freestyle

Contact us:

+44 1926 652 832

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