Financial Executives International / Silicon Valley (FEISV) is the one of the largest chapters of the international professional organization for chief financial officers. The 25-year old chapter has experienced a steady drop in membership in the last five years and had a low recognition profile both Silicon Valley companies, the financial community and the media.
Spiralgroup kicked off the engagement with a comprehensive set of 1:1 interviews with both existing chapter members and prospects. The research revealed a deep disconnect between the traditional (older white male) membership base and the (younger ethnic female) prospects; indeed, the differences in needs and expectations were like night and day. As its older membership was “ageing out,” Spiralgroup recommended a multi-year plan to migrate the group to better serve a new generation. The Spiralgroup team segmented the audience into three lifecycle stages: Startup (collegiate-lower level financial management); Growth (lower-to-middle management); and Maturity (CFO-level). In the first year, Spiralgroup worked with FEISV to map new programming to each of these groups, resulting in such programs as the CFO Readiness Academy, which won top national FEI honors for innovative programming. In the second year, Spiralgroup rebuilt the chapter’s costly offshore-managed website for a low-cost self-service and overhauled the chapter’s communications program to better focus on individual and group special interests. Now that the programs and communications channels have been improved, in the third year, we are focused on a thought leadership effort that can be replicated year after year, leveraging the chapter assets in a low-impact way while maximizing the chapter’s authority as a leading voice in Silicon Valley business.
The research and audience segmentation revolutionized FEISV’s approach to its market. The new understanding of the needs of its constituents led to the creation of new programming that has increased chapter event attendance dramatically and boosted membership back to a positive performance level. The new programs developed won the FEISV the “Most Innovative Chapter” award for its parent organization in 2017.
The new communications channels allow FEISV to connect with its members in a frequent and more personalized fashion, which also minimizing the time and cost to produce materials. The new website has decreased annual website costs by over 90%.
In 2018, Spiralgroup solicited Response:AI, an AI-powered market research firm, to do a research project surveying FEISV CFO members for no charge. The resulting report — Voices of Silicon Valley — will include never-before-revealed Silicon Valley statistics, which will be analyzed and enhanced by FEISV members. The final materials will generate enough PR, content and activities to fuel the chapter’s marketing and programming effort for the next 1.5 years and can be easily templated to repeat its success on an ongoing basis in the many years ahead.