Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Associations as Solutions Providers

Are you helping your association’s members solve their business and marketing problems?

Is your association provides solutions for its members problems?
Business owners and/or professionals represent the core membership of many associations. Most of those members are good at what they do but many have little formal training in managing their business or marketing their products and services.
  • One of my brothers was an orthodontist. I remember him telling me that dental school taught him how to straighten teeth but not how to operate and market his practice.
  • When I served as CEO of the National Christmas Tree Association, many members said, “I know how to grow trees but I’m not very good with marketing or finding customers.”
  • When I served as the CEO of the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association, a Blue Ocean strategy session uncovered that members were great at producing dairy calves but really wanted help in how to manage employees and customer relationships.
If associations are in the solution business, then providing solutions to members (and potential members) builds value in association membership.

I thought of this the other day when I read an “advertorial” from Brett Ellis, a Ft. Myers area realtor titled Top Realtors Meet for 3 Days of Sharing Marketing Strategies.  Ellis mentioned he was getting valuable marketing strategies from the Annual CyberStars® Summit. 

Curious, I Googled CyberStars and discovered it started at a National Association of Realtors (NAR) event but is a separate organization providing technology and online marketing strategies to realtors. Unfortunately, as near as I can tell, CyberStars is no longer a part of NAR.

Association Solutions

Over the years, I’ve found that some large national organizations don’t provide solutions for individual members. 
In the case of my brother, the orthodontist, he told me his most valuable marketing and business knowledge came – not from his professional association – but from a vendor-sponsored study group.

That is one of the reasons I encouraged NCTA and DCHA to offer solutions for individual members. NCTA hosted special marketing and social media training at its annual conventions. DCHA modified its education and provided business management topics at its conferences and webinars.

What Is Your Association Doing?

Do your association’s members have similar non-traditional issues for which you could offer solutions? 

 Are you providing solutions? 

If so, please share in the comments what programs you are providing!

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