Kudos to you, Association Executive and team; you have spent valuable time building a foundation to support your members’ business. You identified important member segments. You dug into their sensibilities and their rationale to define what will make their business better. Your value proposition links what you do exceptionally well to what members most need.
You have announced your value proposition to members with fanfare, in different ways using varied communications channels. The message is consistent in both written and spoken communications. Staff and leaders alike understand the message and have a stump speech that enables them to comfortably answer the question “What does this association do for its members?”
You made it clear to staff and leadership that this is the new anchor of the association’s business and communications. From conferences to weekly emails, to committee output to the website, it is everyone’s responsibility to strengthen and to convey the value points inside your value proposition.
You can look forward to discovering new, creative approaches to explaining the proposition, and purposeful ways to show that the words are more than just words.
Congratulations on a job well done. But now what?
Your value proposition is not an ad campaign for the shelf. Board president, committee chairs, receptionist among others are your disciples. They deliver your value proposition and bring it to life.
Your value proposition is the declaration of what you do well today. But what about tomorrow? What’s the link between your promise of value and future planning?
1. One goal of organizational planning is to strengthen your value proposition in a strategic way—looking to the future. You know what important member segments need most; and also what you offer that addresses those needs.
Strategic planning is the place to think about taking your points of value to THE NEXT LEVEL.
2. Begin strategic planning with a purposeful look at outside forces that present threats or opportunities to protect or strengthen your promise. Approach the planning process with a daring view of the future and what you want to be and what you likely will face. This is not place to make small plans. Don’t just be bold, be significant.
Expand thinking by asking everyone in the room: “What if?” as a fill-in-the-blank question to spur thinking. “What if we set a goal to increase membership by 20 percent?” “What if something devastating happens; what is our worst case scenario?”
3. As you prioritize strategic issues refer back to your value proposition. As you begin to set goals, think about how the issue facing you links to your promise of value.
Let’s assume one of your strategic issues is the display of incorrect and inconsistent data presented by third party real estate providers.
You’ve determined as part of your value proposition that market information fuels members’ productivity and success. One of your value points is market trends and data
As you select your big goals for the next three years, look for ways to strengthen your value point in the area of market trends and economic stats. How can you help to set your member apart from third parties who also display this data? Consider these questions:
- Are you improving on the stats that members most need?
- Is the data easy to access, customize, use as a selling tool? Can your member easily insert into a listing presentation?
- Is the commentary usable and useful?
- Do you provide sufficient training on how to use them for new members?
- Do you educate members on the use of the data to compliment your monthly reports?
- Do you share best practices and successes from the member? From the voice of a consumer who has seen them?
- Do you excel in this arena so much that yours is the BEST place to get the information?
Filter all of your strategic issues through your value proposition. Verify that your goals and activities address and strengthen your promise of value.
Remember, your value proposition is that single most important reason why members choose to belong. When your board embraces the value proposition, communicates it, and makes decisions based on it – the entire organization will follow.
Strategy involves identifying the most significant market and association issues. Then determining which are the priority issues that will most your member and their needs.
Thoughtful strategic planning around your value proposition isn’t a guarantee of success, but the lack of it virtually guarantees focus in the wrong direction.