And the survey says…

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What WEDA learned from member survey

Somewhere… someplace… right now a survey is being conducted. What that survey reveals will help an organization determine if it’s on the right path with its customers… or whether the newest flavor of cookie should be oatmeal with avocado or chocolate chip with kale. Surveys tell us if we’re in touch or out of touch.

While the WEDA has no interest in new cookie flavors, it does have an interest in knowing how its members feel about association programs, products and services and, more importantly, how information about the industry or the association is distributed and received.

A recently completed 2019 WEDA Member Engagement Survey suggests the association is moving the bar upward when it comes to distributing information and dealers told us how they prefer to receive it.

“WEDA was created with the merger of three regional associations in 2014-15,” says John Schmeiser, CEO, WEDA. “Even though we have been engaged in strategic planning since then, we thought now was the time to go back to the membership and get their feedback to ensure we are still on track and are meeting their expectations.”

“Every day a dealer faces challenges in serving their customers, in coordinating staff and managing their relationships with their suppliers,” adds Schmeiser. “We respect that their time is valuable and we want to communicate with them in an effective and efficient way.”

As shown in the chart Preferred Sources for Industry Information, E-newsletters are the overwhelming choice for receiving information. That’s not surprising in 2019 but it probably would have been 10 years ago… or even five years ago.

E-newsletters, email, e-this or e-that are quick and they move through cyberspace with lightning speed – no stamps, no paper, no envelopes. 

“We try our best to not overload members with information,’ adds Schmeiser. “However, it’s important that each member knows exactly what resources we have to offer and how we can help.”

 

Preferred Sources for Industry Information

Not to be overlooked in this chart is the relevance members still place on Industry Trade Magazines, Industry Events, Social Media, and the WEDA Website for information. However, notice that Webinars trail only E-newsletters in popularity for information.

What members want from social media

The explosion of social media is something no organization can ignore – and WEDA is not ignoring it, either. As noted in a recent association magazine article, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram have 5 billion monthly visitors. 

These sites obviously have something that appeals to visitors. That “something” is constantly analyzed, measured and updated to provide content that keeps people coming back day after day.

In the WEDA survey, we asked What Dealers Want to See on Social Media. We learned the top three items are Industry-Related News, WEDA Events and WEDA News.   

What Dealers Want to See on Social Media

While dealers told us what they want to see on social media, getting dealers to engage with the association through social media offers room for improvement.

According to the chart, Dealers Who Follow WEDA on Social Media, nearly two-thirds of respondents said they’re not following the association on social media.

However, the association has stepped up its game in this area in the last six months and the percentages most likely change to the better each day as awareness increases.

Dealers Who Follow WEDA on Social Media

But notice that WEDA isn’t limiting its outreach to dealers using one form of social media and it’s being noticed as shown on the chart, Preferred Social Media Platforms.

The biggest surprise in choice of social media platforms is that Twitter is keeping pace with Facebook and outdistancing LinkedIn, which might be preferred by less adventurous social media users.

Preferred Social Media Platforms

Advocacy

Although much of this article centers on social media and how the association is working to connect with its members, the most important thing to know is whether the connection is being made. Dealers were asked if they believe the association is a strong advocate for the issues important to their businesses.

As shown on the chart, Do You Feel WEDA Advocates for Issues Important to You?  dealers overwhelmingly believe WEDA is hitting on all cylinders when it comes to advocacy. When you consider all the areas in which the association is involved, such as manufacturer and industry relations, state, federal and provincial laws and regulations, pending legislation, and legal issues, an approval rating of nearly 98% is meaningful to the association’s board and staff.

“As a member driven organization, what we learn from our dealers is critical to our success. Advocacy is core to our existence, but we also look at every service, program or association initiative as to whether it will help our dealers in their business operations,” adds Schmeiser.

“Under the leadership of the board of directors, we have established the most comprehensive program and service delivery of any similar association,” adds Schmeiser. “At the same time, conducting member engagement surveys such as this ensures that we are on top of changes within the industry and can quickly respond to the needs of the membership.”

“There is no other organization that specifically represents an equipment dealer’s point of view in state, provincial and federal capitals when it comes to government policy,” continues Schmeiser. “Our dealers want the best business environment possible when they serve their customers and WEDA is at the table to speak for dealers to make sure our perspective is heard.”

 Do You Feel WEDA Advocates for Issues Important to You?

Based on the comments from dealers who completed the survey, there is no shortage of issues in which the association’s role of advocacy will be tested. Some of the issues include but are not limited to:

  • Right to repair
  • Trade
  • Health care
  • Hiring technicians
  • Manufacturer relations
  • Legislation and regulatory issues
  • Hiring qualified employees
  • Legal issues
  • Warranty reimbursement
  • Risk management
  • Training
  • Profitability
  • Cost of new equipment
  • Glut of used equipment
  • Employee issues
  • Technology growth
  • Trucking regulations
  • Succession planning

Being heard, being understood and being effective are critical to WEDA members and Schmeiser says he is proud of the association’s effort in working with the industry’s many stakeholders and policymakers. “Our government affairs activities have gained the respect of our elected officials as they now reach out to us for comments about government policy and regulations.”

“When I review the issues of importance that have come from WEDA membership through this survey, it tells me that we are on track,” concludes Schmeiser. “This is critical information for the board and staff as we work on our strategic plan and growth initiatives.”

As for ideas about new cookie flavors, we’ll leave that to someone else.

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