Not long ago, most professionals belonged to their national, state or local association. Or they belonged to a peer group, civic club, or some organization that exposed them to new ideas, skills, and tools, all while networking with other pros.
Today many legacy organizations are struggling to be relevant because some of what they offer is duplicated on the Internet, which is often faster, deeper and cheaper.
Associations are responding with better electronic tools and information. And yet, some long-term members question the groups value. Because they are no longer getting benefits like printed manuals, reports, and newsletters, members are disappointed and drop out. This seems unfair to legacy organizations that do embrace the future and offer new services. Unfortunately, people are fickle when confronted with change.
So do new organizations enjoy an advantage? They have no legacy issues to overcome and are free to focus on new technologies and hot trends. One example just showed up on my radar.
BNP Media joined the Construction Marketing Association, a group formed in late 2009. The group serves brand owners – mostly manufacturers of construction products or service providers. CMA went live with its web site ( www.constructionmarketingassociation.org/) in April.
CMA founder Neil Brown has worked for years helping clients market their companies. As a consultant transitioning into eMedia, Brown felt there was a void among brand owners of construction-related products and services.
Brown noticed a construction organization in Europe was addressing eMedia issues and decided it would be a good idea to form a similar group in North America. While not averse to traditional marketing, CMA launched with a focus on offering tools that help evaluate a company’s Internet presence and identify fresh ways to market products.
Last week CMA sent out a press release introducing a brand rating service. Here’s a summary from the CMA web site:
“The Construction Marketing Association (CMA) announces the Construction Brand Internet Index (CBII). A comprehensive rating of the Internet presence of top construction brands based on over 50 variables.
The rating identifies how effective a specific Web site domain is relative to other websites. The ratings are based on key search engine data, Web site meta structure, traffic, social media integration (use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.), inbound links, indexed pages and more.”
Brown is hoping to attract 500 members in the next 12 months, a lofty goal in this period of uncertainty. CMA is using a combination of email marketing, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogs and YouTube to attract attention, so it is practicing what it is preaching.
It’s hard to predict how deeply a new association with a different vision will resonate in world that gets more crowded and cluttered by the day. It’s a new frontier for all of us.