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?

Association Outside In

Association Outside In Case Study

If your members face top line growth challenges, generational transfer issues, and evolving consumer expectations, how can your Association support member success? Through a strategic planning process that transforms your organization from an inside out focus to an outside in focus. The process starts with a highly engaged and strategically focused board and concludes with a strategic plan amplifying industry growth objectives.

Association Innovation Delivers Growth

Association Innovation

Association Innovation Delivers Growth

What capabilities should your association have in order to deliver revenue growth and strong retention? In the Strategic Member Engagement Survey, Associations & Professional Societies reporting upward 3-year operating results are far more likely to have a very high level of board understanding and strategizing about the business and professional outcomes members seek, and actively engage members in creating new solutions. For IARW, the International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (Global Cold Chain Alliance Partner), these new and innovative capabilities are serving as an accelerant to revenue growth and retention.

Return on Member Engagement

“Together we achieve a return on member engagement” reflects a six month strategic planning mantra employed by Corey Rosenbusch, President and CEO, GCCA (of which IARW is a key partner) and the Association’s Board of Directors. Collaboratively they determined their industry’s strategic business outcomes and developed an innovation focused strategic plan to drive worldwide top line growth.

Throughout the process board members keenly focused on capabilities and priorities they wanted from their industry association. Their Board Task Force surfaced opportunities to broaden strategic alliances that will extend the industry’s visibility and global reach.

Business Outcome Focus Drives Revenue Growth

Identifying member industry “up-at-night” issues and positioning IARW as a strategic partner to drive business growth is already showing results through recovering former member dues, membership and sponsor growth, and a potential windfall through a new Global Cold Chain Expo to be held in Chicago in 2016.

Association Innovation Delivers Growth

Although Rosenbusch understood the risks of utilizing a different planning process he focused on a different path based on innovation and member business outcomes. To date he reports over $200,000 in new revenue and sees opportunity to grow substantially more and help the industry IARW serves achieve its business growth objectives.

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

Driving Member Business Outcomes

Driving Member Business Outcomes

Driving Member Business Outcomes

Can an Association transform itself and become a strategic business partner to the very members they serve? The International Association of Refrigerated Warehouses (IARW) did as much through an intensive strategic planning process.  Seeking to understand their impact on their member business outcomes, the Association initiated the process with Board Interviews and a Member Impact Survey.

Forward Looking Data

The Member Impact Survey is forward looking by design and focuses on desired future outcomes that members seek to address their “up at night” issues.  The results also generate focused conversations among senior managers and Board Task Force Members.
driving member business outcomes

The decision to move past the traditional member satisfaction survey format reflected a strategic and important departure says Corey Rosenbusch, President and CEO of the Global Cold Chain Alliance, of which IARW is a key partner.

 

Changing Board Perspectives

At IARW, the results shifted perceptions and thinking about the Association and how it could be utilized to actively promote the industry in key markets. (“Survey uncovers members’ “up-at-night” issues”) It also generated significant dialogue about the future of the industry while it drive culture shifts at the staff and board level.

Industry Pulse

Although the survey results played a critical role in the update of IARW’s Strategic Plan, Rosenbusch utilizes the impact survey results in member meetings and also in conversations with industry partners. The data helps him paint a picture of the industries’ key opportunities and concerns.

Driving Member Business Outcomes

The journey starting from an “inside out” focus to an “outside in” focus is nearing completion. According to Rosenbusch, “IARW is entering a new arena” and it’s one in which the Association, his staff team, and board are building a more and compelling future for their industry.

Driving Member Business Outcomes

 

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

 

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?

Traditional 

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.

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.

Engagement as a Sales Strategy?

When your Association’s founders first convened, did they envision hiring staff that would sell products and services? No, they identified like minded companies who shared the same challenges understanding that they could achieve greater impact together that individually. 

up at night

Innovation & Association Relevance

When is the timing right to embrace innovation and change at your Association? Some argue that with an improved economy its best to leave well enough alone. Maybe, no. The real question? How well are you positioned to help your member’s achieve their business outcomes in a time of dramatic innovation and change? 

association membership

Growth Positioning

How does an Association grow membership and revenue in an Omni channel and hyper competitive environment? Your answers are more likely found in research and actionable data, strategic board conversations, and 3 year roadmaps. Today’s successful Associations see long term positioning as essential to their long term growth and durability.