web analytics

Category: Membership

Jan 29 2009

Engineering Society Builds Chinese Community for Long Term Growth


The International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) wanted to tap the dramatic trend in the global pharmaceutical industry’s migration of more and more operations to India and China.  This included traditional manufacturing members as well as R&D which was seen as a new target of opportunity, especially in the Generics sector of the industry that is strong in China. In short, being in China was seen as a way to diversify the geographic membership portfolio in some very strong markets.

Initially, ISPE sought to grow membership in China from its global headquarters by fostering relationships with key Chinese government agencies, providing support to local members and volunteer leaders, and building ISPE brand value awareness in China.  However, they encountered some challenges:

  • Initial efforts to build relationships with key government partners slowed due to communication and cultural differences
  • Participation of volunteer leaders was not active enough because they didn’t have proper local functional support
  • Educational events and networking opportunities were not well organized or opportunities exploited

The key to overcoming these challenges was having local resources to provide scale to penetrate and then manage relationships and services using a professional local presence.

ISPE opened its Office through MCI Shanghai to provide locally relevant business service support for local members and prospects, invigorate partner opportunities, and manage critical administrative duties:

  • Establish close and good relationship with stakeholders in China: the government, corporations and universities.
  • Develop new training courses tailored to Chinese market
  • Provide local volunteer leader support
  • Revitalize the ISPE Chinese version website
  • Translate all the collateral and produce a website in Chinese
  • Manage ISPE’s pavilion at the China Pharm 2008
  • Manage the ISPE China Conference 2008 held in collaboration with China Center for Pharmaceutical International Exchange (CCPIE) an arm of State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) in November 2008.
  • Manage the audience generation through marketing and promotion activities, registration, logistics, speakers, sponsorship and on-site support
  • Provide marketing including e-blasts distribution and posting conference information on industry publications

Within 3 months of ISPE China Office’s marketing efforts membership increased by 12.7%, the prospect database grew by 36%, and 85% of e-marketing recipients were reading ISPE conference information.   Conference sponsorship reached 58% of targeted goals after only one month of promotion.   Top officers from SFDA (China’s State Food and Drug Administration) and FDA (Food and Drug Administration) were reengaged and agreed to give speeches at the ISPE China Annual Conference in 2008.   And CCPIE agreed to send its first Chinese delegation to the ISPE Annual Meeting.

At the end of the first year,  ISPE realized: a successful annual conference in Beijing developed with the China Center of Pharmaceutical International Exchange (CCPIE), Chinese membership grew from 124 to 407 members, the first student chapter in Sichuan University was formed with more than 100 students members,  translation of marketing collateral,  an ISPE China website, and a monthly e-newsletter.

To continue this success, ISPE China Office will concentrate on continuing to build a strong local presence to raise local brand awareness, provide strong and timely support to ISPE’s growing volunteer leader network,  and continue to provide relevant products and services tailor-made for the Chinese market.

Apr 21 2008

Strategies for Bolstering International Membership

MCI is pleased to welcome Carolyn Lugbill of Going Global Matters as a contributing writer to this blog. A well-known and respected international association executive, Carolyn will contribute her thoughts on what’s important to include in global strategy and thinking.

Is growing your international membership a goal for your organization? For many, the answer is yes. Many times, however, it can be a struggle to apply the same strategies that have worked successfully in the U.S. and Canada America to other countries.

In the past few years, I have worked with various organizations that have instituted various strategies to increase their international membership. Some of these examples include adopting different kinds of membership categories. Others consist of offering specific products or programs or establishing a local presence. Here are some strategies that have bolstered international membership.

Team or Joint Membership. This membership is designed for individuals who reside in emerging countries and cannot afford regular membership dues. A group of 10 individuals join for one rate and a team leader is designated who receives all the membership benefits. He or she takes on the responsibility to circulate the journal and other association materials to his or her colleagues.

Electronic Membership. All membership benefits are delivered electronically, and dues can be up to 50 percent less or greater than the cost of regular membership. This type of membership is usually available to members outside the United States and Canada, and the dues rate can be based on a set of economic indicators such as the World Bank’s.

Sponsored Membership. This kind of membership, either member to member or by a corporate member, can be extended to individuals, especially in developing economies, who are unable to pay the full cost of membership. Members pay an additional fee to their membership dues to sponsor an individual or even designate a person they would like to sponsor.

Discounted Membership. This category of membership is designed to encourage joining from individuals who want to belong to an organization but can’t always afford it, especially in developing countries. Again, dues can be up to half or less than the cost of regular membership.

Reciprocal Membership. Some organizations offer reciprocal membership with their overseas counterpart. This type of membership allows members of one society to join the other at a discount. Reciprocal membership can be beneficial if the practice of the profession is similar in other countries, there is valuable information that can be gained, and there are networking opportunities available for bringing members of two organizations together.

Using Specific Products and Programs as a Gateway. Overseas meetings, international book fairs, journal distribution, cosponsoring of educational programs with counterpart societies, translation of products, and training and/or certification programs can all be entrées for growing your international membership. Many times it’s a specific product or program that allows the organization to showcase one of their valuable membership benefits to their international prospects.

Establishing a Local Presence. Organizations that want to provide more localized service to help retain their members have established a local presence. A local presence could involve hiring international representatives for a particular country or region who receive a fee plus commission to recruit members and sell the association’s products and services. Another type of local presence can be establishing an office either independently or through an association management company (AMC) within a particular region. An office can be equipped to determine membership potential through market research, coordinate recruiting campaigns in targeted countries, and develop unique member benefits.

These strategies are examples of what organizations are doing to capture more international members. Have any of these strategies worked for your association? Share your successes, and we can all learn and grow from each other’s membership experiences.

Submitted by Carolyn Lugbill, CAE, President, Going Global Matters; Email clugbill@cox.net; www.goingglobalmatters.com