Want to stay up to date in the association world? This blog will provide you with news about members, industry updates, trends and more!
Management consultant Peter Drucker posed the question 40+ years ago and it is more important now than ever. What does the customer (or member) value? As association leaders wrestle with budgeting for the next year in an economy that rivals that of the Great Depression, this is the critical question. Association resources - human, capital, physical, everything - must be aligned in response to the answer.
What products and services will members need to weather this storm? Key questions include:
- What should the association continue to provide?What should the association double down on?
- What should the association stop doing?
- What should the association start doing?
Associations can no longer afford to pay the high cost of opportunity that is lost when time and resources are wasted on products/services that are not valuable to the customer/member. Now is the time to sunset legacy programs that don’t provide value to current and prospective customers. Association data and member evaluations/surveys can provide insight on current utilization and satisfaction.
Association leaders cannot necessarily rely on members to provide the answer to these questions. By the time a critical mass of members articulate a specific need and the association develops a response, it is often too late to get a product to market in time to maximize the financial return. (Speed matters!) Environmental scanning with practitioners and industry experts as well as member job shadowing can be important tactics to gather reliable intelligence on potential disruptors, imminent trends and latent member needs.
As association leaders and staff teams build out product and service portfolios, it’s important to consider how competition may impact their success. Who or what will your association need to compete with to deliver a given product or service? Consider Porter’s Five Forces related to competition:
How many and who will your rivals be to deliver this product/service?
How might suppliers impact your ability to deliver this product/service? At the target price point? In the necessary timeframe?
How many prospective buyers will you have and how will sales/use be impacted by volume of demand?
Is a cheaper substitute available?
Are other entities likely to begin offering a similar product/service?
Members and customers hold the ultimate power - their choices make or break an association. As such, association leaders must be relentless in our quest to seek an answer and also be open to receiving it. It can be tempting to disregard an answer that seems far fetched or irrational. Drucker was clear in his guidance on this, “Almost without exception, customers behave rationally in terms of their own realities and their own situation.” It is not the leader’s role to second guess the answer but rather to make it a reality.
As associations move past the early response phases to COVID-19 and plan for an uncertain future, there is a lot of conversation around how to analyze business lines and develop business models. While there are many different approaches to doing so, the Business Model Canvas is a deceptively simple tool that captures a business model's building blocks in a useful, one-page snapshot
The BMC is a visual organizer that focuses on the essential aspects of a business model and allows the user to appreciate the relationships among those aspects. The Value Proposition is central to a strong business model, and it is oriented as such in the tool. Also inherent in the tool's design are both sides of the balance sheet. On the right side of the BMC, are those aspects of the business model that relate to revenue generation: Customer Segments, Customer Relationships, Channels, and Revenue Streams. On the left side of the BMC are the aspects that have costs associated with them: Key Resources, Key Activities, Key Partnerships, and Cost Structures.
I love working for a board.
One of the unique attributes of an association is to have a board that represents members. The CEO/president/executive director has as an element of their scope of work to mentor, advise and care for the board. For some this is a challenge, for others it is a treat.
There's a lot happening at MSAE! Here's a quick update to keep you in the know.
This is an inclusive effort and the workgroups have been doing a fantastic job! If you're interested in participating, consider this your invitation! Special note for communications professionals - we’re looking for assistance with reviewing and editing of the materials. If you’re interested in assisting, please email email@example.com.
With MSAE’s new organizational membership model, our membership has more than doubled to over 1,700 members. No longer are we an association just for the Chief Staff Executive…we’re here to serve the entire association staff. During the past year, we’ve created many new programs, webinars, peer-to-peer community of practice groups, and resources to address the needs of all staff levels.