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AssociationNation: 4 Keys to Futureproofing Your Association

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New podcast episode explores areas that organizations cannot ignore if they want to succeed.

What better way to start the new year than by looking to the future of your association and making sure you’re ready for it.

In the newest episode of associationNation, Jaime Andriopoulos, vice president of client strategy for Imagination, talks about the importance of redefining your association’s future and value structure. “Associations that want to survive and thrive need to futureproof,” she says.

associationNation is available on the AM&P and Imagination websites, Google Play, iTunes, and podcast apps such as Stitcher.

She begins by taking a look back at the way things were 20 years ago. Specifically, she notes that when association members wanted information about their profession, their industry, their interest, they turned to their association magazine or journals. When they wanted to network, receive training, or find the latest research from their fields, they turned to the association.

But that dynamic has changed.

“Just two decades ago, the internet simply wasn’t the same creature it is today,” Andriopoulos says. “Today, members can find the info they seek with a quick search on a device that fits in their pockets. And usually, it’s free.”

To tackle the topic, Andriopoulos spoke with Imagination Founder, President, and CEO James Meyers. Meyers recently wrote a white paper identifying and exploring what he calls the four M’s of futureproofing: member value, myopia, millennials, and messaging.

“Associations historically existed to provide a value to their members, which was to bring members who had common interests together, give them opportunities to share ideas and share experiences with each other, and for the association to provide expertise,” Meyers says. “The internet changed that. Members can contact each other on numerous social media platforms. They can find websites and discussion boards where people are talking about and sharing their interests.”

That’s where the M’s come into play. Member value means making sure that the association and its expertise don’t get lost in the flood of information available today. Myopia represents associations’ or leaders’ tendencies to look back instead of forward. Millennials is a reminder that if your association is not attracting younger generations, then it is in serious trouble. And messaging is the importance of ensuring that all departments and all content coming from them are being produced and delivered in deliberate and focused ways.

“Things are not only going to continue to change, they are going to change faster and faster,” Meyers says. “Associations have to accept that change is here to stay and it’s going to continue to come faster. The challenge will be determining how to deal with that change, get ahead of that change, and have the foresight to understand what we need to do differently in the future if we want to continue to exist as an association. Part of that is talent. Do you have the talent in the organization to deal with change and come up with new ideas and new strategies that will allow the organization to be successful?”

AssociationNation is an Association Media & Publishing podcast series, created and produced by Imagination, that offers associations insights to help shape the future of the industry through a content marketing lens. The show focuses on practical topics that are useful in day-to-day work.

If you have feedback or ideas for future topics, Andriopoulous would love to hear from you at podcast@imaginepub.com.


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