You can't dispute the fact that if you give the members what they want and need, they’ll be invested and engage more with your association. But people have such different circumstances… how can you possibly know what they want?
The answer is simple. Find out what their customers want.
As an association leader, you might be a few degrees removed from the actual customer-facing part of the industry, which your association represents. But that’s not true for your members. They are out in the trenches day in and day out, trying to please their customers.
Therefore in order for you to really optimize your programming and information to really reach your members, you need to find out what their customers are looking for.
So do a little research. Find some articles, Yelp reviews, or read industry publications. Don’t forget to ask questions! If you happen to encounter a friend or acquaintance who has been through the industry lately by purchasing a particular product or requiring a certain service, pick their brain.
Don’t forget to tap resources you already have. Reach out to industry leaders, whether they’re members of your association or not, and ask them if they would be willing to share some customer feedback. It could be a mutually beneficial partnership: valuable information to share with your members and great networking and recruiting possibilities for the local business leader who is sharing the information.
If finding an industry leader isn’t a possibility, try getting a round table discussion going with your members. They can share their experiences and tips and tricks in a very specific, focused forum. That type of panel could really be of value to your members.
Of course it’s important to stay up to date on the latest industry news, but be sure to take a minute and focus on the customer too. After all, it’s what your members really want!