May 21, 2007

Direct Marketing Association, Dues, And ROI

An open-ended question for you.

During my time at Nordstrom, I paid the Direct Marketing Association more than $200,000 in annual membership dues from my operating budget. That's money that I could have spent doing things that benefited Nordstrom, or more importantly, benefited my staff. Think about this ... we had to generate between $600,000 and $1,200,000 in sales to cover the profit lost by paying these dues. We had to sell an additional 6,000 to 12,000 pairs of shoes to cover the profit lost by this expense!

If you belong to an association, what do you believe is a valid return on investment for your annual dues? Whether you belong to a stamp club that charges $10 annual dues, or you are an $8 billion dollar business paying a huge organization $200,000+ over five years, what is an acceptable ROI? How would you measure ROI?