Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

advocacy drives business outcomes

For leading Associations, their mantra is clear Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes. These organizations collaborate with their boards to make sure that the Association’s Advocacy Strategies reflect the growth challenges and opportunities that their members care most about. Even though the U.S. economy grew at a brisk 3.5% in the third quarter of 2016 growth forecasts for 2017 remain mixed. What also remains to be seen is just how much disruptive technologies and policies of the new Administration will impact the business landscape in the new year.

What is becoming increasingly more clear is how Associations can accelerate their business impact for their members in 2017. There is already evidence that CEO’s are leveraging organizational resources to engage their members in ambitious policy and regulatory agendas. In doing so these Associations are key allies in helping their members overcome challenges, reduce costs, and in several cases enter new markets.

Policy Priorities Mirror Industry Outcomes

Associations including the Global Cold Chain Alliance, GCCA,  and the American Bakers Association, ABA, utilize their Advocacy Strategies to link member dues investments to the cost reduction and top line growth outcomes that their members seek.  GCCA’s strategic plan incorporates advocacy and business outcomes and ABA emphasizes the impact of its advocacy strategies in an annual video. The Fertilizer Institute’s, TFIAdvocacy Strategy is laser focused on helping its members manage its costs through a slow growth cycle. Each of these organizations demonstrate how advocacy drives business outcomes.

The Board leaders and the Association are collaborators and make sure policy priorities reflect the challenges and opportunities facing the industry per Heidi Biggs Brock, President and CEO, at the Aluminum Association.

Engaging the Board on External Issues

As the global marketplace grows more increasingly complex some Associations have found it difficult to increase board attendance and active participation at their meetings. Organizations who structure their board meetings as more of a “knowledge sharing” and strategic focus for attendees are finding higher levels of interest and engagement.

Measuring Advocacy and Policy Outcomes

Advocacy Drives Business OutcomesShowing how advocacy delivers a return on member engagement is a critical element of what organizations like the Aluminum Association provide for their members. Being able to demonstrate how your organization measures and tracks these outcomes is especially impactful in the minds of the dues paying member.

Expanding Advocacy Impact

Building and recruiting allies inside and outside your industry is a staple for Associations who seek to magnify the impact that they can deliver for their members. Identifying who else needs to be at the table to help your organization build an even greater base of support is essential.

 Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

In an uncertain world board leaders and members insist upon direct return from their investment of time and financial resources. The Aluminum Association, the American Bakers Association, the Fertilizer Institute, the Global Cold Chain Alliance, and several others have already transformed their organizations. Through tightly focused Advocacy Strategies Today’s Associations are upping their game and helping industries reshape the external business environment for their members. They are doing so by communicating how Advocacy drives business outcomes.

Advocacy Drives Business Outcomes

 

 

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available upon request for all Association Executives at Potomac Core – Association Consulting

 

Association Relevance

Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence

In an era of unending economic challenges and uncertainty, industries must be relevant in order to grow. KPMG’s 2016 report “Setting the Course for Growth: CEO Perspectives” underscores how today’s CEO is laser focused on staying relevant in a turbulent global market. In order to remain relevant to their members Trade Association CEO’s focus more on understanding industry challenges then helping drive industry outcomes. Achieving Association Relevance Despite Market Turbulence is how CEO’s can position their organizations for long term growth and durability.

Disruptive Advocacy Strategies

Disruptive Advocacy Strategies

Can Disruptive Advocacy Strategies unlock industry growth and cost saving opportunities for your members in a slow growth economy?  While the possibility of a recession seems unlikely this year, growth remains a challenge for many industries. According to the Conference Board, U.S. growth in 2016 is forecast at 2.0% while Global growth is forecast slightly higher at 2.5%. As increasing regulatory oversight dominates the federal and global landscape, building an agency focused strategy on behalf of your members can pay dividends for the industry and for your association.

Accelerating Member Engagement

accelerating member engagement

 

Accelerating Member Engagement

According to a recent CNBC post “earnings are expected to be down by some 4 percent year over year, that is an 8-percent reduction from previous estimates.” How does this or any financial news connect to Association member engagement? What happens today influences how executives make decisions about where to invest their precious time.

Is Member Satisfaction A Solution?

No, not really. Under the watchful eye of shareholders, investors, and regulators an executive continually seeks better operating margins and top line growth. Interest in the Association’s success, member benefits, products or services won’t get or keep their attention for long. Promotional materials including what “we do for you” doesn’t really matter either. And special discounts bring them in the front door this year and out the back door next year.

Members don’t really care about the association’s “outputs.” They only care about “outcomes” that address their business/ professional challenges and opportunities. Everything else is just noise.

Business Strategy Conversations

Engagement is not about an Association. Instead, it’s all about developing solutions that improve market and growth positioning, boosting operating performance, and recruiting and maintaining high performing talent. Having conversations about these issues and creating opportunities to share knowledge and develop solutions with other members can accelerate member engagement.

Long Term Positioning

accelerating member engagementThere are no “one-trick” ponies when it comes to member engagement. Aligning the Association as a strategic partner is a long term strategy to:

Accelerating Member Engagement

Quarterly earnings reports, monetary policy, and the value of the dollar all matter. Aligning your Association as an external strategic partner to build solutions and solve problems can accelerate member engagement.

Free eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com.

member perspective

Advocacy or Business Outcomes?

Association executives inside and outside of Washington, DC sometimes struggle to secure key executive participation in advocacy meetings with Congressional representatives or regulatory agencies. Do members perceive these meetings as another Association “output” or as an opportunity to drive their business outcomes? If it’s the former, executives are hesitant to leave their office or rearrange their schedule for something not linked to a business outcome.

Strategic Member Engagement

advocacyMembers care about “outcomes” for themselves, their companies, their constituencies, and their customers.  Despite an improving economy, today’s executives face more pressure than ever to innovate, improve operating margins and grow top line revenue. If advocacy programs are viewed as “outputs” (events, journal, newsletters, etc.) chances of participation are low.

In order to change the conversation and accelerate participation and member engagement, all discussions should be focused on member business outcomes instead of your Association’s outputs.

Member Business Challenges

Associations must have sufficient insights into external and operational challenges and opportunities of your members. Most of these challenges apply to both trade association and professional society members.  However, they could have a different perspective based upon whether the member you are talking with is wearing their “company hat” or their “individual hat.” If you are not surfacing many of these issues, you may not be asking the right questions or have not built relationships with the right contacts at your member companies.

Advocacy or Business Outcomes?  

What are the key steps to driving accelerated participation in your advocacy programs? Focus on business outcomes to change the conversation, discuss members’ external & operational challenges, and facilitate board level strategic discussions about member business objectives. As competition for member dues and participation increases, moving away from Association “outputs” to member business outcomes can help your organization achieve the competitive positioning it seeks.

advocacyFree eBook “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” is available for all Association Executives at www.potomaccore.com.

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes?

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes? For SPI, the Society for the Plastics Industry, the 2009 recession presented an open window of opportunity. Data driven strategies, and competitive assessments started the organization’s transformative and difficult process.

Embrace the Future

SPI’s leadership team seized upon their opportunity to develop what authors Chris Zook and Jim Allen call business boundary definitions & marketplace differentiation (in their book “Profit From the Core, Growth Strategy in an Era of Turbulence”, copyright 2010 Bain and Company).

core strategySeeing the organization as “all things to all people” William R. Carteaux, SPI’s President & CEO, worked with the Board to narrow SPI’s vision, and build a business model that could drive the Plastics sector’s growth throughout the United States.

Industry Collaboration

SPI’s new boundary definition now includes brand owners. For example, Coca Cola, Pepsi & General Mills now participate in the Brand Owner Council. They would join with groups reflecting material suppliers, processors, and equipment manufacturers to reflect the entire plastics sector’s legislative and regulatory agenda.

1 Core Strategy

The 1 Core Strategy combines a flexible business model and constant member engagement to deliver value and motivate participation:

SPI funds legislative, regulatory, education and training tools to help members achieve business objectives. As priorities change so does budget investment to support members in either advocacy or industry training programs.

Carteaux spends 80% of his schedule meeting & listening to member concerns. Through Social Media and staff engagement, staff is a listening post. A new AMS platform & Website, planned for 2014 will enhance organizational tracking &     their call to action capacity.

Can 1 Core Strategy Reverse One Society’s Fortunes?

core strategyA refocused SPI sees dues and revenue losses in a rear view mirror. Core Strategies transformed the organization. New members enroll almost every day, conference attendance is growing and member dues retention since 2012 is 100%.

 

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

core strategy

Can 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth?

pain pointCan 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth? Pain point strategies continue to help Associations and Societies deploy services that help companies survive and thrive. Just ask Lawrence D. Sloan, President & CEO, Society of Chemical Manufacturers & Affiliates (SOCMA)( http://www.socma.com/).

From his arrival at the 200+ member specialty chemical manufacturing organization through today, Sloan continually meets with members in their plant facilities. Using a “shoe leather” approach, these meetings have brought about program changes helping realign SOCMA closer to the business needs of its membership. Based on member feedback and gridlock on Capitol Hill, SOCMA has realigned the organization’s advocacy strategy to a heavier emphasis on improving regulations and the regulatory process.

 2 Pain Point Strategies

In today’s competitive environment, membership organizations are aggressively positioning themselves against competitors. Since some companies only choose one membership, effective market differentiation and member ROI could determine either a renewal or a resignation:

1. Member Centric.  With Washington, DC, gridlock inhibiting progress in legislative advocacy, SOCMA uses multiple avenues to advocate issues and concerns impacting the industry, including leveraging its members to make their case to key regulators. Achieving needed regulatory reforms for the specialty chemical sector can help reduce compliance costs.

 2. Make a Difference.  SOCMA’s no-cost member service is an environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) management system. With the majority of its members being small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), they needed an EHS&S program that went beyond the one-size-fits-all approach of programs like Responsible Care. Consequently, they established their ChemStewards® program in 2005 to meet the unique needs of the batch, custom and specialty chemical industry and its membership.

Can 2 Pain Point Strategies Drive One Society’s Revenue Growth?

pain pointSince 2009, a pain point focus helped SOCMA drive 18% retention improvement and double-digit non-dues revenue growth. Not yet satisfied, Sloan plans more improvements in SOCMA’s value proposition and an accelerated new member growth campaign.

 

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

pain point

1 New Strategy Revolutionizes Association Member Engagement

association member engagement1 New Strategy Revolutionizes Association Member Engagement.  Implementing a board mandate, Security Industry Association (http://www.securityindustry.org), CEO Don Erickson encourages industry collaboration throughout the Association’s landscape.

The strategy is reflected in programs and services and visibly connects the Association’s business model to member business objectives.  Financial performance metrics reinforce this approach: retention, new members and event participation are all net positive.

What is the 1 New Strategy? 

Breaking past traditional political & legacy issues, SIA’s utilization of industry collaboration is opening new windows of opportunities. It’s also identifying new ways to support their member business growth objectives.  Some examples of the Association’s outreach includes:

            • Membership Diversification
            • Alliance Building with Other Industry Associations
            • Community Building

Member Objectives and SIA Business Model

Another key element of SIA’s transformation is the increasing their levels of company support. Building past primary membership contacts within an individual company, SIA is achieving member depth through reinvigorated strategies implemented by the membership team to reach General Counsels and C Suite officers and engage them in their areas of interest. The end result is higher levels of participation and strong member retention.

Collaborate & Grow

Under the umbrella of Alliance Building, CEO Erickson & his team methodically work to deliver programs that move the needle for their members. Increasing investment in online and in person training are just one example for what’s on tap for SIA members in 2014.

1 New Strategy Revolutionizes Association Member Engagement

As membership climbs, SIA’s almost 500 members who comprise the value chain of the electronic and physical security industry view the Association as a necessary strategic business partner. Key metrics confirm growing industry support too, retention consistently over 90% and average growth of almost 10% per year.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

association member engagement

 

Association Membership Not Growing?

association membershipAssociation Membership Not Growing? With senior management teams developing next year’s budgets, it’s good a time to conduct a survey and assess your associations impact. The results and a competitive market assessment will be helpful in constructing a membership growth strategy. Associations who have not experienced membership growth will find this approach helpful.  It will reveal strengths, opportunities, and weaknesses, all of which can be leveraged into actionable growth strategies.

Laser Market Focus

Individuals and corporations make membership decisions based on their Association’s ability to impact priorities that matter most to them. Whether it be legislative, regulatory, training, or certification related, they are all evaluated. Associations that convert actionable data into tangible solutions will improve their retention and growth opportunities.

Relevance

Companies conduct internal assessments before they join or renew Association memberships. Members “stay or leave” and prospects “join or go somewhere else” based upon their perception of an organization’s impact. They measure “relevance” as an Association’s capacity to help companies or individuals achieve their business, professional, or personal objectives.

Quantify and Qualify

Impact surveys should become part of an Association’s DNA. Why? Organizations that consistently benchmark products and services based on their marketplace are better positioned that those who don’t.

The impact survey is all about member/prospect “up at night” issues. Answer these key questions:

  1. What is the financial impact on professional and or corporate business objectives?
  2. How do current programs, services, and the advocacy agenda address the financial impact of “up at night” issues?
  3. Do proposed program changes or new initiatives help members and prospects achieve success?
  4. From the member and prospect vantage point, what else can the Association do? 

Association Membership Not Growing?

Associations who want to grow should be seen as strategic partners. Once your Association is viewed as a strategic partner, membership growth and higher retention follow. Keep in mind that several Associations already using this approach have seen double digit growth. Why not give it a try? A growth formula you can use immediately:

Member Impact Survey & Competitive Assessment + Actionable Growth Strategies = Membership Growth.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.

association membership

Member Perspective: Should We Renew?

member perspective

On any given day a corporate executive receives a renewal invoice from an Association or a Society. By week’s end, several more renewal invoices cross the same desk. What happens next? It’s critical to know what happens next or chances are a letter of resignation is on the way. In an uncertain economy, corporations and individuals hold memberships to a very high standard. Organizations should look at renewals from a member’s perspective, doing so will help secure the dues and the member relationship. (http://bit.ly/1FBNn5j)

Life Inside Member Companies

A corporate executive that survives downsizing wears several hats. The days are packed with meetings, and weeks seemingly are spent visiting customers. Complicating matters, Publicly Held Companies are laser focused on quarter and year end results. Earnings results must meet or exceed stockholder expectations, there is no wiggle room. Life on the inside is tough, what can Associations and Societies do to uncover opportunities to uncover opportunities and deliver value?

3 Questions that  Help Earn Renewals

1. What is the dollar impact of policies on members? Not less than six months prior to renewal, meet with dues decision makers. Bring an legislative and regulatory impact statement to the meeting. Inquire how these issues will impede the company from achieving profit targets in the next five years. Vigorously quantify and qualify policy impact. ( http://bit.ly/1btcvac)

2. Are your member’s participating in areas that impact them? Knowing the policy areas that have the greatest impact, review and confirm  participation in the most critical areas to the company. Some executives may have transitioned out to a new company. If so, there is a new opportunity to engage new executives. Ask the company contact for an introduction.

3. Can we Confirm a Policy Briefing on “Pain Point” Issues with Issue Experts? Leverage an opportunity to demonstrate value on the member company’s “Pain Point Issue” Concerns. Ask the dues decision maker to invite the C Suite and executives to participate in a Conference Call, Video Conference or Webinar focused on their business outcomes. Make it easy to say yes by having a prepared invite for the company contact to send out right away.

Member Perspective: Should We Renew?

Member PerspectiveBusy executives welcome the opportunity to share their concerns.  However they appreciate an organization’s commitment to provide service in areas that impact their business objectives. Companies are tuned to their own channel “WIIFM” What’s In It For Me.” When they share their concerns, they will respond positively when they see engagement in areas that impede their business.

Unquestionably member renewals comprise a substantial portion of Association and Society revenues. Staying focused from a member perspective helps organizations focus on the dues payers.

Associations and  Societies around the country using this or similar approaches have celebrated success many times over. Secure membership bases helped some Associations reach stretch goals that may not have been possible otherwise. One Association doubled membership while another reached past the $1 million threshold in net dues growth. What made the difference at these Associations and Societies? The ability to see member business objectives as their own and, developing solutions to help members overcome impediments to meet or exceed their goals.

For a free copy of the “Accelerating Strategic Member Engagement” eBook, request your copy at www.potomaccore.com.