Since 1954, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has led the charge in helping people worldwide live longer, healthier lives. ACSM’s passionate, global membership base spans 50,000 professionals in more than 70 countries across sports medicine and health fitness, including clinical practitioners, exercise science faculty, researchers, and more.
As the historical role played by membership associations evolves alongside technology, workforce needs, and how new generations prefer to network and seek professional development, ACSM engaged SmallBox to strategically reimagine its membership offerings, with specific goals around increasing retention, engagement, and relevance across key audiences.
Focus groups are great – but it's difficult to hear from a wide range of voices. SmallBox created a positive, safe space for honest ideation from an individual and group standpoint.
– RACHAEL MCLAUGHLIN, CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER, AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE
To reimagine ACSM’s membership offerings we employed human-centered design methods. In addition to existing quantitative data, new audience surveys, and competitive research – we also interviewed current and potential members across each audience sector, from students and professors to researchers, gym owners, and beyond, identifying career needs, professional struggles, and unique experiences.
After synthesizing recurring themes from stories & data, we identified potential areas of focus for the future of ACSM membership and allowed key stakeholders (and our audiences) to contribute ideas through a series of facilitated creative exercises. These sessions generated actionable ideas and membership prototypes and created organizational value in the form of member buy-in and audience alignment. By project end, ACSM was equipped with multiple membership recommendations – all backed by data and actual members – to present to their board and move forward into implementation.