International expansion is an increasingly important issue to associations, the needs of members for their associations to help them embrace globalization, and opportunities to reach new markets and revenue sources outside the U.S. International success requires global maturity in strategy and operational execution to expand and thrive.
To address this reality, ASAE Foundation and MCI, along with technical support from Rockbridge Associates, developed a scientific Global Maturity Assessment Tool that associations can use to assess their own level of maturity, diagnose areas for improvement, and in the process, garner insights on how to succeed when deploying in international markets.
One outcome of this effort is the assessment tool, available to ASAE members, that includes a comprehensive list of 47 attributes on which leaders can rate their associations. These attributes are found from seven critical areas of focus:
Strategic and Business Planning
Management and Organizational Culture
Product Relevance: Value Proposition and Engagement Model
Global Organization, Roles and Support
Local Operations and Service Delivery Capacity
Another outcome consists of the findings of the benchmark survey, which tells a story about the state of U.S. associations in their international efforts.
The average level of association global maturity is 44 out of 100, which equates to being in the early stage of Developing/Functional. As shown in the figure above, slightly more than a fourth (27%) of associations are Fully Mature/Effective and another quarter (24%) are Developing/Functional. Only 14 percent are classified as having “No Readiness,” indicating they are at the onset of international expansion or have failed to take the steps necessary to succeed.
The maturity level matters because it correlates closely with other measures of success. More mature associations (based on the assessment questions in the survey) have: more satisfied international members/customers, higher satisfaction among leadership with their success in operating/entering international markets, growth rates that are more likely to meet or exceed expectations, and fewer problems.
Learn behaviors and processes that lead to global success and advance association goals, and gain access and insights into the self-diagnostic tool that rates overall global maturity and shows areas for improvement.
Work with colleagues in an interactive exercise to generate fresh thinking toward improving global strategy and operational planning.
This is a project from the continuing Global Management Series by the ASAE Foundation and MCI Group dedicated to helping associations grow globally and operate effectively outside of the U.S.
With 28 countries, the European Union is one of the largest and most profitable markets in the world. While Europe is not new to US associations, the business results generated by many could be significantly improved.
Is there a one size fit all to best approach the European audience? How effective are associations at adapting to European sensitivities, cultures, and needs?
US associations often under-estimate the importance of a having a local value proposition. The lack of validation of benefits, products and services before going to market can lead to poorer performance and even failure.
Join Florian Cartoux, Director for Europe for IHRSA, the world’s leading fitness association, for a fascinating discussion. Bring your questions and gain important insights to help you in Europe.
This LIVE webinar on June 8th from 12Noon-1245pm will share insights to help you develop better ways to grow in Europe:
How to position ones offerings when Europe is not a single country but 28+ countries that often require a different “go to market” plan
Understanding the latest trends that most effect the region in order to adjust to “the age of the customer”
Appreciating the importance of market segmentation and tying this to a unique customer experience.
Knowing the importance of clarifying ones value proposition for the European markets.
How to adapt marketing channel strategy.
The main challenges to strategy in Europe
The importance of market segmentation and providing a tailored customer experience
Recommendations to best approach the European market
In this recorded podcast from December 7th, Renata Lerch, Deputy Managing Director of the American Society for Quality and Elisa Pratt, Chief Global Member Engagement Officer of ASIS International, offered their insights on their own benchmark data from the Global Engagement Index (GEI 2016) and how it is impacting current thinking on strategy and operational planning in their associations.
What is GEI?
The GEI 2016 was a first of its kind global index developed from a recent survey of 15 global associations [PDF]. Respondents were 8500+ members and customers from all over the world. GEI found that non US member and customer relationships with their associations collectively was average at best. Although the Global Engagement Index focused on international members, its conclusion that an association’s relationship strength, not membership status, is often the biggest factor for increased engagement rings true for domestic organizations as well.
The report measured engagement scores for 15 associations from a pool of 122,000 members and customers in markets around the world. Next year, MCI will commission a similar Index to study association relationships with U.S.-based members and customers.
The Index showed that people in global markets, particularly those in emerging and developing markets, are hungry for practical information. The data shows that those with the strongest relationship and recall of an association were most often nonmember customers, followed by members who have experience using a product or service in the last 18 months.
The study found that people who join an association but do not purchase products are significantly more likely to drop their membership, whereas customers who buy at least one product have a stronger relationship. They are more likely to become members and more likely to renew.
In other words, some of your strongest relationships may not be with your members; instead they may be with customers attending an event or seeking an accreditation.
The whole notion of a membership-first strategy could be dangerous, because members who are only interested in becoming a member often times have weaker engagement and relationship scores.
Power of Relationships
GEI introduced five member/customer segments based on relationship strength. The most desirous segment was labeled “multipliers,” because this segment is not only loyal and highly likely to renew membership or purchase products but also they are highly motivated to support the mission of the association. If you knew who these people were, you could begin to accelerate the growth of your organization.
Organizations experiencing global growth tend to think about membership engagement as a one-on-one relationship. Put the right opportunity in front of the right individual. Be relevant in-terms of your product perspective, as well as your marketing and communications.
It’s also important to think of engagement as a spectrum or scale. A passive member can grow into an active member, and a loyal member can become a multiplier who connects you to new members or new opportunities.