While attending Hubspot’s Inbound17 Marketing Conference, I listened in on Katie Martell’s session Find an Enemy: How the Right Foe Can Motivate Your Buyers to Action. After her talk, I couldn’t help but think that this topic could easily integrate into any association’s membership recruitment campaign. Take a look below to see if your association should considering adding a villain to your next marketing efforts.

Wait, what? A villain – in the association industry?

Most marketing efforts, especially in the association industry, highlight your benefits (which you should be doing). It’s how you know as a member what to expect when joining a new association. However, what if you could find something more primal to spark the interest of your potential members?

When we talk about creating a “villain” for your association, we are not condoning pointing fingers at other organizations. Rather, Martell states “you should brainstorm about an abstract idea that goes against the mission or intent of your organization.” You can then use this villain as a call to action for your potential members to eagerly jump on board with your association.

But, what should this villain be?

Remember: Your goal with this endeavor isn’t to bully another organization but to inform your potential members about the kind of changes you can accomplish together if they join your association.

So, let’s take a fictitious example: Mars Law Society. If we had to guess, their mission would probably have to do with upholding the laws of Mars, right? Well, the enemy of teaching knowledge could be seen as the exploitation of another’s lack of knowledge. In this example, you could have your enemy stand for false or inadequate knowledge being spread around to the public. Maybe you could have this representation be a cartoon of a Martian in a Neighborhood Watch outfit. Get creative!

The final word on villains

While this may not be a good fit for every association, using a villain as a call to action could empower your potential members to ask what they are willing to put up with in your industry. You never know if this ideology could push them to see your association as the solution to that problem. Most people want to be a part of a team, so make it crystal clear for what you stand for and hope that your statement helps you stand apart from the crowd.

Wondering what other actions you can take to bring in new members into your association? Worry no more! Take a look at our guide, Best Practices for Online Member Acquisition, to learn how to get those recruitment rates up!