The Client: NiKnack Marketing & M200
M200 is a private nonprofit association that connects executives in the risk management space. The association is highly exclusive, serving a maximum of just 50 elite members across the globe. Risk Managers from some of the top Fortune 500 Companies convene at in-person and virtual meetings to confidentially discuss developments in their field. Brenda Lombardo of NiKnack Marketing acts as the association’s Program Manager, coordinating communication between members, committees and the Board.
The Challenge: Keeping a Global Community Engaged & Connected
With members scattered across the globe, M200 needed a strong digital community to nurture member interactions. Members actively relied on M200 for strategic advice in their profession, so they needed a functional, sleek digital space where they could easily exchange such information. Naturally, they assumed their website was a good starting point.
Through NiKnack Marketing, they teamed up with MobileUp partner MemberClicks to modernize their online presence and refresh their website. This eventually spurred an interest in creating a mobile app for the association; they believed it would provide the best possible hub for member communication and interaction.
NiKnack Marketing had to think creatively about how to attract new members and appear “fresh” before an audience of up and coming risk management professionals. As Lombardo notes, mobile apps and smartphone usage are a fixture in the current landscape, no matter the industry. Creating a mobile presence for the association was a natural ‘next step’ in maintaining their appeal and relevance with new members and engaging with a global community.
Why Email for Member Communication Wasn’t Enough
With a global member base, communication wasn’t always easy and traditional methods were falling short. Risk management executives are regularly flooded with emails, diminishing the effectiveness of email as a communication strategy. M200 needed a more reliable way to reach members with important updates, and encourage member engagement and participation. A mobile app quickly emerged as the logical solution.
The Solution: A Year-Round Mobile App to Keep Members Connected
With the website component in place, NiKnack Marketing was referred to MobileUp through their partnership with MemberClicks. While MobileUp was already providing M200 (via NiKnack Marketing) with an event and conference mobile solution (through MemberClicks), M200 wanted to expand the mobile solution to create a complete year-round member app. This is when NiKnack Marketing began working directly with MobileUp to complete a custom branded year-round member solution.
Why NiKnack Marketing Chose MobileUp Over Competitors
Although they shopped around for app developers, NiKnack Marketing ultimately selected MobileUp for three key reasons.
- MobileUp’s app product was considered to be the easiest by far for them to build out and maintain, from an administrative and technical standpoint.
- They were won over by MobileUp’s sales and customer support team. “They know the app inside and out; they’re very collaborative and very responsive.” Lombardo raves.
- MobileUp offered custom branding for the app, and could fulfill the association app ‘wishlist’ at a very affordable price.
Building Their Association Mobile App: A Seamless Process
NiKnack Marketing did considerable research on similar association apps and their capabilities. This helped them gain a better picture of what they were trying to create. When they came to MobileUp to start the app creation process, they were able to provide a well-flushed-out sketch of what they wanted the app to look like and accomplish for members. With NiKnack’s firm vision in place for the M200, MobileUp was able to bring the app to life.
App creation is a collaborative, iterative process in which the client and MobileUp go back and forth on drafts of the app, with the client testing it out and offering feedback as they go. At this stage, the app is in the “sandbox phase.”
Launching the App to Their Members
The pandemic added newfound urgency and pressure to complete the app, given the sudden removal of events from their ‘member engagement toolkit.’ It underscored the need to have a strong digital community in the palm of members’ hands, at all times – which is exactly what the app would do.
In advance of the launch, the app was heavily promoted by NiKnack Marketing to M200 members. “We started communicating where we were on the app journey, and explaining the fun tools it would contain. Members have been so excited about it.” Lombardo explains.
To test the app’s performance and solicit member feedback, they “did a small trial of the app with the Member Experience Committee, followed by an overview with the board members. We took their feedback, and proceeded to launch in February.” They regularly accumulate feedback to update and improve the app. In association meetings, “a staple on the agenda is to review the app,” Lombardo says. Member reception has been resoundingly positive. As planned, M200 now has a central place for members to digitally gather, share advice and distribute resources.
Would NiKnack Marketing recommend other associations create a mobile app?
“Oh absolutely.” Lombardo says, citing MobileUp’s excellent customer service as a key reason they’re the best app provider for associations. “If associations have the resources to maintain, market and analyze a mobile app, I fully recommend it.”
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