4 Association Disruption Strategies

4 Association Disruption Strategies

The 2017 PWC 20th annual CEO Survey, fourth quarter domestic GDP numbers and the 2017 Conference Board Global forecast of 2.3% economic growth show just how challenging business conditions are for today’s business decision makers. Organizations can help their members convert these challenges into growth opportunities by utilizing 4 Association Disruption Strategies. In doing so you, can position your organization as disruptive growth agents for the Industry or the Profession you serve.

Disrupt Ourselves

Embracing the hyper competitive environment is essential in a time of global uncertainty and disruption for all Association and Professional Society Leaders. “We have to disrupt ourselves every day,” notes Thayer Long, President of Reston, Virginia based NPES.  He points to how his Association is answering the call and positioning itself to be a growth agent for the printing and imaging industry.  In a recently completed Strategic Plan update, he reflects on how NPES with Board and Market guidance is addressing  challenges and competitive threats for the Industry and the Association.

Transforming into agents of change and growth helps keep your organization more relevant. In today’s environment, members demand real time solutions that advance their concerns and achieve results. By adding these 4 Association Disruption Strategies into your planning process, your organization becomes an important part of everyday conversations.

4 Association Disruption Strategies

  1. Obtain Actionable Data – Understanding challenges and opportunities for the Profession or Industry you represent is a must. Utilizing an impact and member engagement focused survey can help you obtain more realistic assessments of how relevant and connected your organization is to the outcomes that members seek to achieve. Taking your members pulse annually through impact and memebr engagement surveys will especially help keep your organization aligned with your members and their customers.

2.  Position the Association as an Outcome Driver Changing the conversation from “here’s what you get for your money” to “here’s the power of engaging with others in your Industry/Profession to create new, innovative solutions” positions your organization as a thought leader and a solution provider.

3. Deliver Products to Drive Impact  Avoiding the “all you can eat buffet” environment that adds more products dilutes value and dampens staff enthusiasm over time. This posture also causes your members to perceive your Association or Professional Society as less relevant. For example, a data based approach that utilizes survey results from members and their customers can validate what your members need to achieve their business outcomes.  Using this approach NPES was able to affirm the need to deliver actionable Industry Research for Global Print Manufacturers, Printers, and the Big Brand Companies.

4. Keep Strategic Plans NimbleAs business cycles shift, your organization must be able to adapt and remain relevant. For instance, it’s not yet clear on what the Post Brexit environment will look like nor is it clear how health care policy will evolve. Collaborating with your board to build and adjust an organization Business Plan instead of the traditional Strategic Plan helps you respond instantaneously to market changes.

Applying these 4 Association Disruption Strategies to develop your new Business Plan can help your Association or Professional Society accelerate its relevance and motivate higher levels of Member and Industry engagement. By doing so, your organization becomes the focal point for the Profession or Industry you represent. For NPES, extensive survey research and strategic deliberations with their board positions the organization as the focal point for the global imaging and printing industry growth.

4 Association Disruption Strategies

4 Association Disruption Strategies

The Merriam Webster definition of disrupt helps to frame the decision point for you as an Association Executive or an Executive Director:

  • “to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way: to interrupt the normal progress or activity of (something)”

In today’s uncertain and anemic growth environment, should Associations and Professional Societies utilize their Business Planning (formerly known as Strategic Planning) process to “disrupt themselves?” Is there any other choice?

4 Association Disruption Strategies

 

 

 

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

Business Outcome Profile

business outcome profile

Business Outcome Profile

Getting the final membership commitment is difficult for many Associations. Companies remain uncertain about the economic environment and as a result they remain hesitant when it comes to joining another Association. Despite market resistance, new member growth and positive financial reports are expected at board meetings. CEOs continue to face interesting challenges on the membership growth front.

Plato reminds us that “necessity is the mother of invention” and thankfully so. Utilizing member data, Associations can construct a more innovative game plan to grow new members. CEOs and Senior Managers will be pleased to learn, notwithstanding impediments, that new member growth is well within their reach.

Business Outcome Strength Profile

Developing an Association Member Business Outcome Profile reflecting the most active and participative companies is a powerful resource for CEOs seeking a path to new member growth:

  1. How connected are we to Member Business Outcomes?
  2. What types of companies/ sectors actively participate in the Association today?
  3. Which products, services and policy committees draw consistent participation from these sectors?
  4. What are the pain point reasons motivating current members to participate as actively as they are?
  5. Which prospect companies reside in the same companies/sectors as your most active members?

Associations can develop an effective list of prospects in the same companies/sectors  as the most active members. Why? If the Member Business Outcome Profile shows strong support for the Association among existing members, it becomes more likely that prospects will be open to membership consideration.

Move Quickly

Having the benefit of data revealing strong support in key companies/sectors, new member recruitment should become an Association wide effort. Greater participation is a bellwether and Association CEOs should motivate all stakeholders to help achieve new member growth:

  • Board Members. Share the Member Business Outcome Profile and strategy with the Board. They’ll want to know their business outcomes are being met. Ask them to be on the team and open doors for staff to meet with prospects. Express appreciation and acknowledge their help at Board meetings.
  • Staff. Encourage staff throughout the Association to join the effort to grow membership. Keep them motivated through communication, share regular progress reports. 

Business Outcome Profile 

One Association achieved its first profitable year in almost five years utilizing a Business Outcome Profile. The following year they achieved the best growth performance in six years. Several other Associations doubled membership, achieved record sponsor performance and drove consistent  90% + retention performance.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity” said Albert Einstein. The global economy, and economic uncertainty make it difficult for Associations to achieve their new member objectives.  However, a  Business Outcome Profile identifies strategies to to link the Association with memebr business outcomes and create more opportunity to achieve and even surpass new member growth objectives.

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

the outcome profile