Who is your competition? That is a deceptively complex question because:
Not only are competitive associations your competition, but for-profit companies are now your competition too.
Not only are industry suppliers your competition, but consultants might now be your competition too.
Not only might industry consultants be your competition, but your members might be your competition too.
But that’s not all.
It is easy to understand the competitive landscape of competitors who we are in direct competition with. The ones writing articles like ours, or putting on a conference like ours, or conducting research like ours. It is much harder to understand indirect competition. We are competing for our member’s money, attention, and time. Sometimes we are competing for their thoughts, effort, and ability to get work done. There is an infinite number of responsibilities and distractions that can win our members’ money, attention, time and effort and very few of them might come from our direct competition. Email, meetings, and projects are all competing with associations.
But here’s the good news.
Direct competition or indirect competition our response is still the same. For associations to win their member’s money, attention, time, and effort we have to be great. So great, in fact, that members prioritize the association over the hundred other things they have pulling at them every day.