Recognising Individuals: Changing Membership Models

by Charlie Thompson

Members go through different stages of varying requirements, and trying to keep up with a ‘one size fits all’ approach can be tiring. In this blog, we’ll look at how segmenting your membership model could improve it.

Over the past two years, many membership organisations have moved away from a singular template strategy and have instead adopted a hybrid membership model. But when such a large structural change can take up a lot of time and effort, you may question why your business should follow suit… we have the answers.


The problem

A traditional, generic membership model may be functioning satisfactorily for your business right now, but there is a reason so many companies are jumping ship to a hybrid structure. The traditional model is less personalised as it homogenises members into one group, and has no flexibility for changes in a member’s financial situation. The age-old question of ‘can I get more for my money’ begins to creep up and members may turn to another scheme that seems more engaging and responsive to their needs. 


What are the benefits?

When done right, offering a range of membership options makes a lot of sense. It shows that your company is adapting to members’ needs by giving them the choice of subscription that suits their lifestyles, rather than a singular membership that doesn’t offer the right option, or something luxurious if they can afford it. Most members will transition through a range of financial stages over their time with you – flexibility can prove a valuable benefit over the traditional model. In the long-term, it can lead to a boost in membership numbers and engagement, in turn increasing revenue.


How to do it

There are a number of more personalised options that you could offer your members. The three-tiered structure of basic-standard-advanced is popular, but there are other ways to make the transition. You might consider adding different benefits to separate membership subscriptions or providing group memberships. Additionally, you could separate your subscription model for organisations and individuals, or provide tailored offers for specific sections within your membership base and new markets.

The main point to note is that jumping straight into a hybrid membership model simply won’t work. You need to survey your membership base and get a strong understanding of what they will respond to best before you make any changes. Research is key to ensuring that the new models you create will resonate with your member’s needs and values. 

There are several research methods you should use in your planning stages:

  • Membership model analysis and review
  • Market share analysis
  • Pricing analysis
  • Membership analysis
  • Membership surveys
  • Membership focus groups (for feedback, suggestions and testing)


Before you leap

Be smart when implementing a new model. Make sure that the majority of your members don’t downgrade their membership if they have the option to do so, as this can cost you. Offer a USP or compelling incentive to keep them interested in a higher level membership, or turn your current generic scheme into a ‘basic’ level so that downgrades are not an option.

Keep in mind that short-term cost savings may appeal more to some your members, and communicate clearly to them that new members are not getting preferential offers or rates. Most of all, make sure that your entire membership base still feels that they are receiving a satisfactory level of benefits, no matter how you change your membership model.


At Infinite Rewards, we provide extraordinary benefits for your members. It’s just another way you can add to your offering and incentivise the transition to new membership models. To find out more about us, click here.