Monday, January 31, 2011

House Parties for Associations--Really?

So have you heard about House Parties? The first time I heard about them was when I read about Microsoft's cringe-inducing Windows 7 launch party video. Didn't exactly make me think of House Parties in a great light. Granted, that same campaign won a Forrester Groundswell Award...go figure....but I still maintain that it's a goofy concept, at best, for some things. Like, say, associations.

Of course, that didn't stop me from applying to become a party host--because who knows, maybe I'm wrong and they're actually awesome. So now I get emails from House Party about various upcoming campaigns, ranging from Pull-ups to Trojans to DiGiorno to...AARP. Huh? Seriously? Yup.

I mean, I get the concept of a DiGiorno House Party. Or a Pull-ups one. Hell, even a Trojans one. But an association house party? Which of these things is not like the other? How about the fact that the hosts for the first three kinds of parties would likely be of the younger-than-50 set, while the AARP one is geared at hosts age 50+...hence the "Life @ 50" theme. I mean, not to be ageist or anything, but do the math yourself. First enter an age group likely to host, say, a Pull-ups party, in the handy Forrester Research Consumer Technographics tool below. Let's just generalize and say 25-34 and female. According to Forrester, 31% of that population are likely to be creators--e.g. the kind of person you'd want hosting a marketing campaign hinging on someone CREATING content about a party and sharing it online. Now do the same for ages 45-54, either gender. Only 19% of those people are Creators; and if you go to 55+ that number drops to 12%.

Call me crazy, but I don't see House Parties as the ideal marketing tool for an association serving the 50+ population. You? And what's more, what if it were a different association, one not specifically geared to older people...would it even be a good idea then? Is membership in your association something you want to sell at the equivalent of a Tupperware party?

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