Trade Associations need to think bigger !

Trade associations have a reputation for being monolithic organizations—they represent the whole of a major industry, busily advocating for its member companies but not looking far beyond that. A new survey, though, suggests that trade associations have been compelled to stretch more, and recognize that they’re just one piece in a larger value chain. 

The report, released earlier this month by Potomac Core Association Consulting, found that leaders are feeling generally more confident about their standing: 58 percent say they feel better about their association’s “overall situation,” compared to 51 percent in 2022. They’re more upbeat about their finances as well, with 66 percent saying revenue will improve compared to 2022.

But to arrive at those good feelings, trade associations need to approach their work differently. According to the survey, 68 percent of executives are planning substantial new initiatives in the coming year, and strategic partnerships are among the most popular of them; 29 percent say it’s important to become “a strategic partner w/organizations to advance the industry,” just behind advocacy and awareness-building.

That trend echoes the findings of a similar in 2021, which showed trade associations dedicating more energy to education, research, and awareness-building on top of their traditional advocacy role. Today, associations are building on that experience to develop partnerships throughout the supply chain that their industry operates in. By convening more organizations together, an association can develop a show of strength that is more likely to make headway in today’s partisan legislative environment.

The study suggests that trade associations are also feeling more optimistic around meetings: 32 percent of respondents say that businesses in their association’s industry will send more employees to their flagship meeting, an 18 percent jump from 2022. But as with those good feelings around revenue, there’s some anxiety bubbling under the surface.

“There are definitely more people going to conferences and more associations getting back to the way things were, but it’s not going to be the same as four or five years ago,” “There’s a higher requirement to get [travel] funds approved. Before, somebody might go to one meeting for networking, another for training and education, and a third one for sales. Now employers are looking for one that does all three. That’s one reason why some trade association execs are concerned and trying to make sure that their event is a go-to event. Because there are going to be some that are in trouble.”

If you really want to be effective, stop thinking about your circle as you’ve drawn it today.
Dan Varroney,
Potomac Core Association Consulting

AI and Association Roundtable

Artificial intelligence (AI) is now being used across many industries in various ways, from drafting emails to writing code. Breakthroughs in the science behind AI have enabled a remarkable surge of new capabilities and use cases for associations and nonprofits, as well as in the for-profit space.

Associations gather and store large amounts of member and event data, feedback, legal documentation, and more. Associations can use generative AI to summarize documents and ask the system to present the data in new ways.

Generative AI can save organizations countless hours of work daily by automating processes, summarizing documents, visualizing datasets, and more. AI systems can perform tasks difficult for humans to accomplish and produce consistent results.

With AI tools aiding in data analytics and visualization, associations can save time and effort and generate more accurate and consistent analyses. In some cases, these AI tools can perform tasks that would tax even the most dedicated human given large amounts of data. However, like with all output from an AI system, analyses need to be validated by a human. Indeed, all text should be fact-checked to ensure accuracy.

Medical Association Roundtable

Medical associations share many common characteristics. They typically depend on the voluntary professional activity of individuals to drive a not-for-profit business model. Their business is to represent the interests of the profession, to use collective knowledge to define standards, to define policy and to be a trusted voice for the public. Yet, beyond those similarities, medical associations are hugely diverse in terms of business model, geography, community, size and of course budget – the mix of challenges they are facing will therefore vary from group to group as well.

Medical Associations must communicate their value proposition, benefits, and services to potential members. Young medical professionals are tech-savvy – over 98% have the latest technology and spend nearly 4 hours daily on the Internet. Since the pandemic, video chatting and social media apps have been the most popular communication methods.

For today’s associations, the challenge of recruiting and engaging young professionals is never-ending. For medical associations and societies, it can seem utterly impossible. Young medical professionals keep rigorous schedules. Therefore, the challenge of competing for their time typically surpasses that of other associations.

The Power of Storytelling: Crafting Compelling Narratives

Storytelling is a powerful tool. This art can help associations effectively convey important messages. Storytelling also allows organisations to connect to target audiences. The art of storytelling remains a veritable sales tool. Salespersons regularly look for ways to better connect with audiences. Hence, this theme will resonate well among marketers and content creators. The session teaches how to craft relatable narratives and also highlight, how to drive action with storytelling.

Women in Leadership: Breaking Barriers and Empowering Change

In recent years, we have recorded great progress toward gender equality. Yet, it is still difficult for women to get leadership positions. Hence, women remain underrepresented in leadership positions in many industries. This subject matter deals with the challenges women face in leadership. Session will discuss how to break down the gender barrier in the workplace. The session will provide the tools and support for women to advance their careers.

The Future of Work: Adapting to a Changing Landscape

The way we work is changing. We must evolve with the trend to survive in any industry. This conference theme explores the techniques for adapting to this new landscape. Participants will learn about the latest technologies, business models, and strategies for success. This session will expose participants to the demands of modern work. More importantly, it will help attendees to better adapt to the new realities.

Building Connections in a Crowded World

Branding and marketing are two sides of a coin. Associations engages their members through marketing. Meanwhile, branding allows association to distinguish their products or services. With many associations competing for attention, it becomes necessary to stand out. Hence, this session is all about building connections. The theme will help Association Leaders find ways to connect members to their brands.