Thursday, September 26, 2013

What business, financial pros can learn from association leaders

A recent article of mine (with companion video and benchmarking research), drew from interviews with over a dozen top execs at North American associations. As many of you probably know, trade associations are at a crossroads right now. Many of their core members—Boomers—are aging out of the workforce and the up-and-coming members of many professions don’t use the word “join” the same ways previous generations do. What’s more, the web provides many of the same information for free that associations used to charge a pretty penny for and social media has allowed Millenials to be better connected and on a more global scale, than even the most extroverted of boomers and Generation X’ers.

So are trade association about to go the way of the 8-track, the PC and the Blackberry? Not so fast. Our research shows that about 40 percent of them have enjoyed membership growth over the past three years. The better ones are getting pretty good at adapting to changing times and are finding new and clever ways to connect with always-on-the go members and think long and hard about what their key value proposition is. In most cases, it’s by being the most trusted and No.1 voice of their industry. They’re deep into data mining to see what makes their members tick and they’re finding new ways to generate revenue besides the good old fashioned dues bill.

So what’s in it for me?

Just substitute the word “client” or “customer” for member and much of what top associations are doing could be very transferable to your business or practice. I also thought you’d be interest in how one of our clients is smartly integrating articles with companion video and proprietary research to provide a deeper content learning experience for their stakeholders.

As always, more tips can be found on our blog and the FREE Resources page of our website.


There are a lot of smart people out there. Don’t limit yourself just to your own industry and professional peers. A good idea is a good idea, regardless of who or where it came from.

More tips can be found on the FREE Resources page of our website.


Tags: what business leaders can learn from trade associations, boomers retiring, Millenials well connected

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