Who’s competing for your member’s professional development share of wallet and time?
Where is community forming around industry issues?
Who are the thought leaders and influencers in your industry? Are they friend or foe?
These are the questions that keep me up at night.
The rise of content marketing and the ease of forming online communities, serve as both a threat and an opportunity to association membership, programs and sustainability.
Non-Traditional Sources of Thought Leadership
During several consulting assignments, we’ve identified new sources of thought leadership that are hot on the organization’s tail. They use content marketing and community building to attract new customers.
Who are these new thought leaders?
1. Publications without live events
2. Industry consultants
3. Suppliers and vendors
Social and virtual technologies have lowered the barriers to entry. These thought leaders publish helpful blog posts, e-books and white papers. They conduct webinars and virtual events on cloud based platforms.
Most offer free content and webinars. They may request only a payment of an email address.
Many of these thought leaders pay speakers to present for their customers and potential customers. They pay experts to write white papers and content. Their goal is to be a source of quality content, presentations and community.
They understand that high quality content produces community and loyalty as byproducts.
How Are You Responding?
Associations try to compete with these new thought leaders.
They ask these thought leaders to write for free. Then they require a fee to read their publications.
They ask these thought leaders to present for free. Then they require a fee to register for their webinar.
Yet most of these thought leaders offer free content and webinars. Who’s going to win this race?
When the content is truly helpful and is attracting the most influential folks in your industry, you want that power on your side.
Your organization needs to understand how this is playing out in your industry. Start by identifying the thought leaders for your industry. Then conduct a threat analysis for each competitor.
Decide whether to:
Here’s the PPT from my PCMA Education Conference 2011 What Keeps You Up At Night TED-Style presentation that explains more of this issue.
Who and What Will be Competing for Professional Development Market Share?
How is the explosion of free online information in the form of content marketing impacting your association? How are you leveraging those sources to benefit your industry and membership?
Will Marlow says
Great post. Sometimes asking questions like this is the most important thing for a marketer to do…