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Bob & David James Exec: "Multichannel Eluding Association Marketers"

List expert David James says new survey proves associations are oblivious to "massive shift in members' buying habits."

Bethesda, MD, May 20, 2017 --( A new survey by the Association Research Board (ARB) indicates "multichannel marketing is eluding associations," says David James, Vice President of Bethesda, MD-based association marketing agency Bob & David James.

James, an accomplished list manager and broker, has guided associations’ non-dues revenue-generation programs for decades.

The new survey reveals that associations favor email over other marketing channels, including direct mail, telemarketing, and social media.

The survey found that 62% of associations rely on email to market products and services. Only 27% use direct mail; and only 12% use telemarketing.

The survey also found that only 18% of associations use some additional channels to market products and services, including social media and face-to-face.

“Associations are oblivious to the massive shift in members' buying habits that's underway," James says. "They're failing to use the many channels members use, and to understand how members move from one channel to another."

By favoring email over other marketing channels, James says, "Associations are plagued by low inbox rates, dismal email response, and over-digitalized members."

Associations also struggle with "list fatigue," according to James.

The ARB survey revealed that associations are over-reliant on their "house lists." Only 25% ever rent or buy outside lists; 75% never do.

Associations’ problems are compounded by a dependence on staff for marketing, a practice James calls "DIY marketing."

The ARB survey found that 47% of associations do not outsource any marketing services. Fewer than 10% outsource marketing research, marketing strategy, list management, email marketing, telemarketing, digital advertising, or social media. Only 38% outsource creative services and graphic design; and 16% outsource direct mail.

"Staff may understand members’ needs, but they can be close-minded toward marketing channels they haven’t tried—despite the declining performance of email," James says. "We live in different times. Maybe it’s time to try something different."

The ARB survey findings are based on Quarter 1 2017 poll completed by 100 association executives.

Bob and David James
Bethesda, MD-based Bob and David James helps associations and publishers generate revenue. More information is available at

Association Research Board
Bethesda, MD-based Association Research Board conducts B2B and B2C surveys, interviews and focus groups. More information is available at
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Bob & David James
Bob James
202 641 5131

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