Digitise your membership services and make your offer more relevant.
Using digital transformation to guide your members as you help them to achieve their ambitions.
With the impacts of technology and rapidly evolving legislation in every sector, trade organisations are becoming increasingly important. Even large businesses can struggle to know everything or keep on top of the detail of what is happening in their field. That’s why trade organisations are an essential partner in the sectors they support because of the wealth of information, know-how, and talent. Their membership can count on dependable industry knowledge, specialised assistance and a 'helicopter view' to help them plan for the future.
But how do you transform a trade association? When their operations have been unchanged for decades, thankfully that has started to change in recent years. Digitisation and social trends have encouraged them to adjust their organisational and service models. This offers many opportunities for the development of new services, new methods of membership recruitment, and engagement.
In the meantime, many trade organisations have tackled their IT substructure, making them more efficient and accessible, but they still face major challenges. In terms of content, for example, there is still a lot of room for improvement. It can be difficult to activate and commercialise knowledge or advice, and create attractive learning and training programs or growth trajectories. External partners like iO help trade organisations by offering strategic advice that can be converted into concrete solutions, tailored to their sector and organisation.
Member recruitment: a single trade organisation
The days when companies joined a trade association almost automatically are over. Today it’s not enough to provide added value through your offer, it's essential that you also establish a strong brand identity. Member recruitment has also evolved. Strategic, active lead generation via digital channels, targeted at specific profiles is a must. You have to stimulate interest with the right content, without appearing too pushy. Accurate data and access to the right strategic tools is essential.
This is how to build loyalty in your members:
Make content 'snackable'.
Companies and their employees are always under time pressure. They want to be informed and learn, but it has to fit in their agendas. Therefore, choose compact formats and visually appealing content that gets to the essence quickly.
An à la carte offer.
Digitisation of member profiles allows you to collect the data you need to optimise and personalise your portfolio of services. This also lowers the threshold for members to book specific services or advice.
Specific services or tools can easily be automated and personalised. But members also like to learn from each other, online or through physical events. Therefore, build a strong community and create space and opportunities for members to meet.
The members want… a Swiss army knife.
Companies face serious challenges. Their clients and governments expect them to become more digital, sustainable and inclusive. This requires a diverse range of expertises that they rarely have all in-house. For them, trade organisations are an expert guide and trusted partner. Membership strengthens their position in the market providing them with proactive advice and personalised services in the field of legislation, marketing or technology. Due to their scale and the data they hold about their members, trade organisations can also offer partner benefits and organise events tailored to specific target groups. This is essential given that financial players and providers of professional services are also entering this arena. You have an advantage as a trade organisation, your strength derives from your historical role and your reputation for independence, provided that you are dynamic and develop your offer continually.
How does iO work?
When trade organisations are considering digital and strategic transformation it’s usually because they can see many areas where they want to improve. But what should they prioritise? What should they tackle first and what can wait? And how do you bring all of your ideas to life? At iO, we have already guided numerous trade organisations in that process. As an end-to-end partner, we combine our technological knowledge with deep strategic and operational expertise. We implement our insights in a phased and constructive manner, to grow your offer step by step using new tools (think self-service platforms for members) and valuable content (like e-learning that follows successful proven didactic methods).
Thinking about collaborating with iO?
Our experts would love to help your organisation to optimise and transform your services.
4 pillars that every trade organisation can build on.
1. Build a community.
It's all about ideas and knowledge. Your members have a wealth of knowledge, experience, and best practices. Bring them together to exchange ideas — online, or at lectures, trips, workshops, training, or award ceremonies.
2. Become 'Always Available'.
By automating services, knowledge sharing, and communication, you are always there for your members.
3. Invest in online learning paths and training courses.
As a trade organisation you know your members and you know what type of education or training they need. The creation of online training opportunities demands high quality, compact content that your members can access anywhere and anytime — 'learning on the go'. An online academy essential for every contemporary trade organisation.
4. Find suitable partners.
As a trade organisation you have access to serious economies of scale. Your brand identity and reputation mean you can easily attract partners willing to offer your members certain benefits, services, or privileges that can help them in every aspect of their business and their lives.