Positive Association Disruption

Positive Association Disruption

Can positive association disruption reverse the fortunes for industry professionals and an organization? In a weak economic growth environment, it’s a daunting task. According to the 2016 PWC U.S. CEO Survey concerns “over volatility and over-regulation are rising.” What’s more, Reuters reported that retail sales slipped in a recent report and fourth quarter U.S. economic growth was only 1%.  How can an Association overtake an economic cycle and put its members and itself in the driver’s seat? The answer is its possible and for one Association it yielded a $1 million turnaround in operating performance.

disruptive innovation

Disruptive Innovation Creates Association Opportunities

Disruptive Innovation “describes a process whereby a smaller company with fewer resources is able to successfully challenge established incumbent businesses.” In a slowing and uneven global economy, are your members looking somewhere else for lower cost and innovative solutions? Are your members less confident about their growth opportunities than they were a year or two ago? Does your membership perceive your association as being aligned with their business and professional goals? Having actionable data that answers these questions is more important than ever for associations in a world of disruptive innovation.

Driverless Associations

Driverless Associations

Ring in the age of Driverless Associations. It’s 2016 with Medical, and Pharmaceutical breakthroughs, Driverless cars,  and industries that are busy producing a new wave of technological breakthroughs. Slow U.S. GDP Growth  and modest improvement in Global Growth appear to be the bellwethers of even more technology advancements. These innovations help capture consumer imaginations, elevate company operating performance, and grow market share. Innovative Organizations who reach outside the box to help their member’s develop growth solutions can transform themselves into Driverless Associations.

funding industry innovation

Funding Industry Innovation

Anemic economic performance is unfortunately becoming a mainstay in the U.S. economy. The release of the 3rd quarter GDP numbers where only 1.5% growth was reported is another reminder of how much the ground is shifting for associations. Companies will likely view membership through an even narrower prism of operating margins if economic conditions weaken further.  Associations who are Funding Industry Innovation can position themselves as essential partners in helping members achieve business outcomes.

Innovative Workforce Solutions

Innovative Workforce Solutions

Associations are increasingly well positioned to help members and industries build innovative workforce solutions through their professional development and certification products. As waves of innovation, millennials, and baby boomer retirements alter future workforce design, forward thinking organizations can transform themselves and become professional development partners for their members.

what we do for you

Here is What We Do for You

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that if the current trend continues, Data provider Dealogic estimates that Global Mergers and Acquisitions will climb to and exceed $4.58 trillion in 2015. In a low growth economic environment, corporations seeking growth are actively pursuing the best merger combinations. Although associations don’t control the external business environment, they do have the ability to move away from a “here is what we do for you “posture to a “together we succeed” posture.

knowledge economy

Association Loyalty or Engagement Strategy?

In an economy more driven by intellectual capital than ever before, executives actively seek information from multiple sources. Whether it be Greece’s Debt Crisis, market access concerns, or industries seeking new and more opportunistic markets, your members are “in the know” constantly. Is it more impactful to deploy an Association Loyalty Strategy or an Engagement Strategy?

Disruptive Associations

Disruptive Associations


Disruptive Associations

A snapshot by the Conference Board of both the U.S. and Global Economy doesn’t necessarily paint the rosiest of pictures  GDP growth is projected at 2.9% in the United States while economic performance in the rest of the world will be shaped by “volatility.” In what appears to be a low growth scenario, how and to what extent can Associations be transformed into market disruptors that support market growth?


Be assured that the current slow growth environment or an economic downturn will inflict significant pain on your revenues and membership at some point. Organizational Association balance sheets took significant hits in 2008 and 2009, and there little reason to think otherwise in the current environment. Knowing this should CEO’s maintain traditional Association product and service offerings or should they analyze strategic alternatives?

Market Disruption

New products and services penetrating the marketplace have disrupted the U.S. economy from the start of the Republic. At each turn throughout our history, new entrants reshaped a dynamic marketplace. With big data, predictive analytics, and emerging technologies new companies are in several instances upending the marketplace and driving innovation and boosting higher levels of productivity.

Tough Questions?

Can an Association go beyond traditional roles and provide nontraditional solutions to industries in a slow growth environment? Are boards and volunteers ready for their Association to position and help drive their industry positioning and growth in domestic and international markets?

Competitive Threats

Since the great recession for profit firms are aggressively developing innovative solutions and products to more immediately help companies address business challenges and grow revenue. Why can’t your association play the same role?

Disruptive Associations

Disruptive AssociationsAt a time of unprecedented change your Association can become a Market Disruptor and position your members for success in a slow growth world.

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

member outcomes

Traditional Association Thinking?

Traditional Association Thinking?  Is there an Association that isn’t yet facing a for profit competitor? Both before and after the end great recession for profit competitors are aggressively marketing their way into Association markets. In what was once sacred ground Associations face existential threats to their long term competitive positioning. Commercial firms are investing heavily in tech savvy marketing and they are making their way into the C Suites of small, medium, and large firms across the United States.

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.