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The Membership Agency

A River Group Company
London Resources with Regional Agility
What do we do that benefits you?

Everything that a professional, corporate, charity or consumer organisation needs to provide effective communications, build revenues and strengthen relationships with members - to deliver you improved reputation, retention, acquisition and revenue.

We are Full Service if you need us to be. Plug and Play if not. We can work from our offices or from within yours. 

Fish creates engaging Content. This might be for a website, member emails, social media or a magazine. In short, we deliver all the publishing, communication and marketing solutions you need and completely complement your in-house skills.

Membership organisations are different. We know that because we have worked in them and for them. Our understanding of the nuances of culture and internal stakeholders that membership organisations have to engage with, is our strength. This experience allows us to deliver more efficiently and cost-effectively to you and your audience.

Fish are part of The River Group of companies. This makes us well resourced in the engine room but focussed, agile, flexible, fast and cost-efficient on deck.
Proactive Solutions
Strategic Advice and Consultancy

Getting some direction in these days of shifting attitudes to loyalty, and seeking advice on what is possible is always a good thing. You might have declining member numbers, need to monetise your assets, develop a digital strategy or just have some new strategic thinking inside the organisation. We’ve been there and can help you in shaping the brief as well as delivering on it.


We offer a wide range of services: magazine design, re-design, editorial content, print and production, comms materials, supplements, books & reports as well as advertising sales & sponsorship.

Designing, Branding and Marketing

These three core elements all work together. But equally may be needed separately. From campaigns to exhibition stands, we make sure that your communications are visually brand consistent, impactful and perfectly represent your values.

Media Sales

We help you commercialise your magazines and media, including digital. All membership organisations need on page revenue and sponsorship to offset their costs. Our sales teams deliver impressive revenues, often from a standing start. And yes it is possible to publish a self funding title these days with the right member profile and advertising sales approach!


We can help you redesign or rebuild your website, build you an app, design segmented email campaigns for specific member cohorts, as well as ensuring you are found online by potential new members by making your content SEO friendly. In addition, we can create a social media strategy for you and create video and photographic assets for specific social platforms like Instagram and Facebook.


Understanding what your audience is thinking and measuring what is working within the organisation, is as key as tracking what you should do next. We’ll help you understand your audience, how to engage them better and keep them longer!

New Revenue Streams

All marketing should be driving revenue. You may also have limited revenue streams or the need to grow them. It is important to do this effectively and sensitively. We will help you identify potential new revenue streams and improve revenue in those you are already engaging in.

Membership Campaigns

We are experts in managing audiences, whether you need better acquisition, engagement, retention or improved data collection and data management. Managing your members expectations is at the core of what we do. for you.

We recognise that every organisation has similar challenges but very different needs
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Most organisations have a long-term view of where they want to be but not always on how to best get there. They are accountable to many stakeholders both internally and externally and cannot be seen to waste funds. They have good staff, resources and structures, and are experts in their field. Often though, they need change to survive and grow as businesses. Meaning they need a plan of action that makes sense to all stakeholders to implement and so progress. 

There is usually a need for change which can be stressful and there are often internal barriers. 

At Fish we don’t recommend anything until we understand you, your members, your structure, your governance and your culture. Then we journey with you to understand what it is you need when you need it, and the issues you are facing along the way, and importantly how we can measure success. 

Put simply, we look at your needs as an organisation first, then at your audience, and lastly at possible solutions to help you best achieve your organisational objectives. 

We are channel-agnostic across strategy, design and editorial through to creation, production and execution, results and analysis. Use us as your full-service agency or plug and play with our planning and delivery teams on specific projects. 

Our approach
Our parent company, The River Group has London’s best planners, digital teams, designers, wordsmiths, content strategists and sales teams. The River Group are the UK’s best and brightest content agency working with large membership organisations, sometimes globally, as diverse as Weight Watchers, the Co-op, Diabetes UK, the Ramblers and Everywoman.

At Fish we utilise the expertise, buying power and talent of a large London content agency, but we deliver regionally with flexibility, a focussed sector approach, specialised knowledge and an agile service. It’s not London versus Local. You can have the expertise of both agencies.

Your Lead Team

Mike Barnes
Managing Director
Mike has worked for trade bodies and membership organisations for over 18 years in marketing, business development and commercial director roles, including the Direct Marketing Association and British Eventing, as well as running his own consultancy in the membership sector. He has worked as a publisher and marketing director for Emap consumer magazines and in the very distant past, when things were sepia, he worked for British Gas.  A Fellow of both the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Institute of Digital and Direct Marketing, Mike is also a past Trustee of the Institute of Fundraising and a marketing awards judge for the CMA, DMA, BPMA, Haymarket and the PRCA. His claim to fame is a Macnab (Google it. We had to). Favourite fish? Thymallus.
Nicola Murphy
Founder of The River Group twenty-five years ago, and with interests in several other businesses and agencies, Nicki is a marketer by trade and is passionate about it. Before founding River in 1994, she had an extensive career in marketing that involved working in publishing, and before that, in marketing for six years at Procter & Gamble. Nicki is a regular conference speaker and a proud mum of two children and four stepchildren, three dogs and seven cats. She lives in a barn in the country which is completely mouse free due to the seven cats! She is a big supporter of the PPA, and an active member of FIPP and the Marketing Society. Nicki is also a four-year director & trustee of The Katie Piper Foundation, and a previous media board member for Leonard Cheshire Disability. Favourite Fish? Any that’s edible.


Fish Content Agency Ltd. 48 Broadway Peterborough PE1 1YW D: 0203 488 0654 M: 0780 3617859 E:

Last Thought

If you are thinking about a change in your content strategy or don’t believe you are getting the results you deserve from your membership comms then let’s have an informal chat. We’d love to show you how we would approach things. Even if you aren’t in the market right now, please feel free to drop by – we always like to meet new people. That is unless we have Gone Fishing.

Let start a conversation

We would love to chat about your challenges or just make contact or simply chew the fish. Yes. We know that one was a step too far.