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Thank You for Sharing Your Voices

June 9, 2023

In late 2022, we asked you to complete a member survey. This study, conducted by the firm, XYZ University, targeted SMPTE members and individuals who were not members but had an association with the Society. We selected XYZ University because they specialize in membership analysis that addresses the multiple generations participating in associations today. This is important because our members have different needs and expectations regarding their membership. Many of these are directly related to the stage in a person’s career and when they were born.

Participation in professional societies has changed over the past decades. The once all-important member directory, a primary reason for joining, has been replaced by LinkedIn, Google, and general web searches. The expectation of networking events has changed, and the thoughts on who should speak at events have evolved. While these are generally true across all associations, many are specific to SMPTE. Younger members tell us they want a voice and older members still want to contribute. People ask the question, “What does my membership get me?” What is the return on investment? “If I pay X dollars, what is the tangible value I get for that?” This is another valid question; paying for access to discounts you may or may not use does not have great value to people these days. There is a clamor for tangible returns from our individual and corporate members. We must be able to answer those questions. What are people looking for, and how can we help provide it?

XYZ University broke down our data by age range because we must answer those questions according to that demographic. We must build a SMPTE membership relevant to people at all stages of their careers. We must make a simpler membership structure with tangible benefits. We need to create spaces where people can connect based on their interests as well as geography, and we must acknowledge that people of all ages bring insights and inputs.

People want to know how to get involved at SMPTE without feeling like they have to wait their turn after years of membership. People want to know what is going on in meetings and hear from the leadership. Some of these changes have already begun. We are now holding open “Leadership is Listening” sessions where members can hear from and engage directly with the Society’s leadership. These sessions include open Q&A, allowing you to interact with SMPTE’s leaders. We will be working with teams of members who offered their assistance through the survey to review our membership structure and build a structure that provides value as determined by the membership. And we will create spaces where people can engage based on interests and find communities that focus on what you have to share from your experiences at all ages.

At the same time, we asked what you wanted in this journal in a different survey conducted by Hickman Brady Media, a firm specializing in association publications. We heard that you like the research but want use cases as well. You want content at varying levels of expertise rather than “needing a PhD to read the journal,” as several commented. SMPTE will ask you questions, seek your input, and act on it. This will be a data-informed and member-driven change over the coming year. We will get some things right the first time, and some things will require evaluation and revision, but that is part of the process.

Thank you for sharing your voices. They are important because SMPTE is your Society, built for your profession and professional development relevant to your needs today.

Tag(s): Featured , News , membership

David Grindle

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