Strategic Partnerships Help Industries Weather Tough Times

Some strategic partnerships were created to help industries weather tough times; sometimes those tough times are due to internal issues, sometimes external issues, sometimes uncontrollable circumstances, sometimes extraordinary opportunities, and occasionally in preparation to achieve the next breakthrough. Successful strategic partnerships come in all shapes, sizes, textures, colors and flavors. Nowadays, industry CEOs are using a new application of strategic partnerships that are more inclusive, impactful and ambitious—the sort that moves the needle for entire industries.

Strategic Partnerships With Trade Associations Position Industries For Growth

The good news for business leaders is that strategic partnerships between industries and their trade associations already exist. They lead and convene industries to deliver unified advocacy strategies and convey business outcome-focused messages to government officials. These relationships translate into vital assets to help industries face challenges and position them for growth. For example, recreational boating built its own strategic partnership through its trade association, NMMA, (National Marine Manufacturers Association) and its been highly successful.

Uncertainty Opens Doors For Industry and Trade Association Breakthroughs

Nowadays, there’s a lot of conversation of what cannot be done. Many say we are in uncharted waters, and that is true because uncertainty keeps reaching new orders of magnitude. The Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates to tame inflation, job openings break new ground surging past 10 million, military conflict persists in Ukraine, gasoline prices are heading higher again. Some say that a longer-term cohesive industry growth strategy is not feasible.

Unleashing Supply Chain Innovation Is a Must

The global economy is making a pivot from just in time to just in case and there are opportunities to unleash supply chain innovation. As noted in a USA WIRE article, supply chain innovation is underway. From the private sector all the way to strategic partnerships between Industries and Trade Associations, collaboration and outside the box thinking is happening in real time.

American Eagle’s Chief Supply Chain Executive Shekar Natarajan is working to unclog retail supply chains and modernize them. The company created a supply chain that can be shared among different companies with an end goal of squeezing out inefficiencies and satisfying customers. It’s a strategic partnership strategy, and it’s a frenemy network too where retail companies share resources to drive down costs and increase efficiencies.

Strategic Partnerships Change the Game for Industries

Some great strategic partnerships were created to weather tough times. COVID-19 was an especially difficult time,  impacting profits, workers, families, and the U.S. economy. Most writing on strategic partnerships focuses on how companies have combined their strengths and mitigated their weaknesses to expand customer bases and achieve far more together than they could separately. However, there are more prodigious, inclusive, and ambitious types of strategic partnerships—the sort that change the game for entire industries. These take shape between industries and their trade associations.

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

Association Boards Say, “Show Me The Growth”

association boardsAssociations Boards Say, “Show Me the Growth.” The great recession and its aftermath dealt a powerful blow to Association revenue and membership growth. A number of Associations utilized reserves to navigate through the lean times but Boards want the reserve funds replenished for the next rainy day. Easier said than done? Of course, but the clock is ticking. CEO’s are wise to heed Board Member Calls for Association Growth.

Mirror The Marketplace

Boards expect their Associations to reflect their growth expectations to the marketplace.  For example, America’s conglomerates of the 1980’s? The once super sized mega conglomerates are now core focused juggernauts keenly in tune with their marketplace. By reconciling products and structure with customer pain points, Companies are nimble & profitable. What’s more, many successful leaders participate on Association boards and they expect similar results.

4 Steps to Association Revenue & Membership Growth

The tough growth environment opens the door to transformational approaches.  What Association Boards could have scoffed at before might now be embraced with open arms. Apply market data in order to transform your Association to help members, prospective members and sponsors more readily advance business objectives:

  1. Profit focused legislative and advocacy agenda – Your Association uses dollar amounts to quantify cost impact and growth opportunities.
  2. Market driven Conferences and Seminars – Formulated to satisfy member training needs year after year.
  3. Lead/Identify New Markets for Members – Develop a research capacity powerful enough to be the early adviser on new domestic or international market opportunities.
  4. Track and Motivate Participation Against Member Cost and Growth Needs – It’s member engagement when members feel the “we” culture and they’re energized because your Association is lined to their success.

Association Boards Say, “Show Me the Growth.”

Increased competition, especially now from for profit competitors, make the growth landscape more challenging. Yet some have transformed their business models and drive impressive revenue and membership growth including: Technology Association of Georgiawww.tagonline.org/), Commercial Real Estate Finance Council (www.crefc.org/), Air Conditioning Contractors of America (www.acca.org), and the Global Cold Chain Alliance (www.gcca.org).

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

association boards