Thursday, July 16, 2009

A Wake-Up Call for Associations

Posted by Princess Eva Angelica at 1:29 PM

Most associations that I interact with view competition as coming from the association next door. Going forward, I think that it will most likely be coming from a for-profit company. And in my mind, the best way to protect and grow your association before this happens is to build relationships and connections through membership with your market.

Companies moving into the traditional association marketplace are eager to fill any vacuum that they can profitably find in the markets you serve.

That’s why developing or hiring expertise in membership marketing is more important today than ever for associations.

Here is one example, Merion Publications; the publisher of ADVANCE Newsmagazines. They provide a magazine, current job listings, education/events, job fairs, and communities to professionals in the following fields.

Nurses
LPNs
Imaging & Radiation Oncology
Directors in Rehabilitation
Physical Therapists & PT Assistants
Occupational Therapy Practitioners
Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists
Audiologists
Long-Term Care Management
Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine
Administrators of the Laboratory
Medical Laboratory Professionals
Health Information Executives
Health Information Professionals
Nurse Practitioners
Physician Assistants
Healthy Aging

I do not want to communicate that there is anything unethical with companies moving into the realm traditionally owned by non-profits. They see a market opportunity and have taken advantage of it using the marketing and sales expertise that they have honed over the years.

The questions associations should ask themselves are: How well prepared are we to deal with for-profit competition? Should this be a wake up call for our association? Is business as usual sustainable?

As I have shared on this blog, building the membership relationship is driven by making prospective members aware of who you are, actively recruiting these prospects, engaging new member in the organization, and effectively renewing them.

Agree or disagree, please let me know your thoughts on this.

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