Thursday, December 24, 2009

What Can We Learn from Laundry Detergent?

When you buy laundry detergent, they usually measure it in terms of loads. And when you go to use it, the cap acts as your measuring cup. But if you notice, one load's worth of detergent is like like 1/5 of a cup these days. This virtually guarantees that you are going to use more than you need, ensuring you buy more detergent, more often. But we really don't think anything of it right? So what if we put more in the wash? They'll just be cleaner, right?

Do you have a product/service that you could alter in such a way that people would buy more of it, more often, and not bat an eye at? I bet you do. And I bet most folks wouldn't notice the change. Plus, your bottom line will thank you for it.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

What if Associations Were For-Profit?

One more Big Idea question from me - What if Associations Were For-Profit entities? What would change in your organization? Would your organization change at all?

A colleague of mine used to say, "Non-profit is a tax designation, not a business model." I have to agree. And I would be willing to bet that associations that run themselves more like a for-profit are doing better than those that don't.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Big Idea - What If...

The Acronym Blog from ASAE has made it Big Idea month and many folks have risen to the task blogging about various what if scenarios in the association world. I know I am late, but having just started a new job, I am just now catching up with my blog reading. For those that follow me on Twitter, you know that I just yesterday went in and added all my RSS feeds again after purging them about a year ago. So here goes...

What if associations weren't afraid of doing new things just because they might fail?

As Clay Shirky says in Here Comes Everybody, "The cost of trying things is where Coasean theory about transaction costs and power law distributions of participation intersect."

Said another way, sometimes the cost of the resources to try something new are more than the return on investment if it succeeds. So what?

As they say, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got. For some associations, that seems ok. But for the ones where that isn't ok, you have to try new things in order to break that cycle.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Members Only Content

In the last 5 years, I am finding myself changing my philosophy on hiding content behind a member's only login on an association website. At first, I thought hide as much as you can to truly show value to a member. If you aren't a member, look at all this stuff you are missing!

But now, at a different association at a different time, I find that my thoughts have shifted. I am not to the point where I think everything should be open and free to everyone. However, I really think you have to take a serious look at what you are putting behind the curtain.

Is it really the members only web content that is leading folks to join and stay members? Because if it is, you have much bigger problems. (But you also have many big opportunities if folks are that tied to your content)

I am guessing like most associations, you want to engage your members, get them to participate more and take advantage of the benefits you offer...and by doing that, they find the value they need in being a member. Therefore, I am of the ilk that we should open up more of the web content to help drive that learning and engagement and capitalize on the value creation there.