The most dangerous competitors are those you do not see coming.
Most famous: Nokia and Motorola have experienced this when Apple launched the first iPhone basically disrupting and reinventing the cell phone industry in 2007. It caught everybody by surprise, almost took them out of business.
Associations will also face new competition from various sources that were not even on the horizon years ago. Staying alert may be key to remain relevant to its members. Some of the key competitors that associations are likely to face include:
Similar associations with more member-centric technologies: It is easy to test how your association compares to others. Check out the websites, analyze their age, content, user experience, offered member engagement features. Members demand more, and they choose a partner who delivers more. In other words, the time where WordPress websites could support the workflow of an organization is over. Adapting new technologies and communication tools is a must to stay in business.
Social Digital Platforms: With the rise of social platforms, associations will need to compete with various online communities, social media, and other online services that offer or seem to offer similar value to their members. These platforms often provide a more convenient, personalized, and cost-effective solution compared to association websites that are complacent or outdated, making it challenging for associations to compete.
For-profit Organizations: For-profit organizations that offer services similar to those provided by associations can be a threat in the future. Such organizations are often well-funded and have more resources to offer competitive pricing and attractive benefits to their customers. Think of training and educational divisions of larger corporations catering to the same client base as an association. It is key to have this on the radar.
Changing Demographics: As the demographics of the population shift, associations will need to adapt to the changing needs of their members. This can include catering to a more diverse and multicultural audience, accommodating different lifestyles and work patterns. Understanding the changing preferences of younger generations especially towards the adaption of new communication tools can become critical to stay in front and own the space.
Regulatory and Legislative Changes: Changes in regulations or legislation can significantly impact associations' operations and funding. Associations will need to compete with other interest groups to ensure that their priorities are represented in the decision-making process. We currently observe the slow but irreversible trend towards sustainability and renewable energies. Old-fashioned lobbies will have to rethink their strategies.
Overall, associations will need to adapt to changing market conditions, member needs, and emerging technologies to remain competitive in the future. Associations that are agile, innovative, and responsive to these changes are more likely to succeed in the long term.
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