Five Forces Reshaping Associations


This past week I heard an amazing presentation by technology guru and business futurist Scott Klososky.

I’ve been following Scott since 2007 when I first hired him to present.

His presentation, “Leveraging Disruptive Innovations For Business Success,” was one of the best I’ve seen in a while. And, it has given me a lot to consider.

Technology Mastery A Must To Succeed Today

Scott says that all organization leaders need to have technology mastery to succeed today. If you don’t, it’s a sure way to make yourself irrelevant.

Technology mastery is one of the most important weapons in the marketplace. Don’t be the last to get it or you’ll be one of the first to die. Stating, “I’m already successful so we don’t need to put in new technologies,” or “Technology is an operational asset not a strategic weapon,” is a way to label yourself, “Dead Leader Walking!”

Five Disruptive Forces

Here are five disruptive forces that are reshaping all nonprofit associations adapted from Scott’s presentation.

1. Technology Savvy Members, Stakeholders And Potential Members

Today, customer adoption of disruptive technology is moving fast and driving much of the adoption for organizations. Most nonprofit associations have a conservative mindset and are often late adopters of technology used by the masses. Typically early adoption is by the technology enthusiasts and innovators followed by the visionaries. Next the early and late pragmatists (early majority) adopt these tools. By the time main street and organizations start to adapt, they can often be seen as laggards and out of touch. The challenge is finding the right balance and adopting the right tools that help organizations get a two year lead on competitors.

2. Technology Enabled Competitors

Often, these competitors are early adopters and visionaries. They see how some of the free and economical tools can help them get ahead of their competition. They are the leaders paving the way for others. By the time most organizations try to adopt the technology that their competitors are using, they are joining the herd just trying to keep up with the masses.

3. Business Intelligence/Big Data

Most nonprofit associations do a very poor job of gathering business intelligence on their stakeholders and members. They have created systems of data that collect basic membership or purchasing data. They totally miss the boat on collecting more data on their stakeholders to create a stronger connection with them. They also don’t know how to mine the data they already have except comparing common inputs and outputs.

4. Digital Marketing/Content Marketing

Interruption, push marketing strategies are not very successful today. We use DVRs to avoid TV advertising, caller ID to avoid telesales, pay subscription radio and online content sites to avoid advertising, and discard most of our direct mail marketing pieces. Today, more money is spent on digital advertising on Google than advertising in newspapers and magazines! Digital marketing is providing helpful, valuable content to potential customers. It’s going out of your way to give them information that will help them succeed. Content marketing and digital marketing strategies are a must if you want to win today.

5. Mobile Device Usage

It’s called our outboard brain!

We use our mobile devices to store important contact information, appointments, schedules, travel, to do lists and things to read. Our mobile devices have freed our brains to think about more important things than our grocery list. It’s predicted that more people will access the internet via mobile devices than desktops this year. This has a huge impact on associations as its stakeholders can quickly compare pricing, services and other products as well as customer service. If your association does not have a mobile website, you’re hamstringing your stakeholders’ ability to connect with you!

Which of these disruptive forces concerns you the most and why? What’s missing from this list?

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1 comment
  1. Bob James says:

    Sadly, we often hear myopic association managers say, “Our members are too stupid to use [insert name of new technology here].”

    To borrow a famous phrase from ad man David Ogilvy, “The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.”

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