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Blog: How Research Can Benefit Your Association

How Research Can Benefit Your Association

Research is a great way to make informed and strategic decisions for your association. While observational data from sources such as Google Analytics or Facebook Insights is widely available, you need more profound insight into your supporters and their reasons for interacting with your association.

Fortunately, quality market research can fill these information gaps for your organization. It’s easier than ever to help your organization thrive by relying on valuable research. You can make more informed strategic decisions, sustain growth, and convert members into enthusiastic advocates. Below, we explore the benefits of using best practices for survey research.

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If you operate a trade association, your organization can use and provide information on key market trends for your sector. By doing so, you can gain the insight your association needs to make informed decisions and position your organization to be a vital source of insight into key market trends for your sector.

Market research is an excellent investment opportunity for long-term non-dues revenue generation when appropriately executed. Start by implementing a customized and comprehensive statistical program that collects, analyzes, and reports on unique, highly confidential trends based on actual member data. Doing so will allow your organization to produce unique market research that provides crucial intelligence on trends and competitive movements within your sector. Such a strategy is a great way to make your organization thrive, as the information in industry market reports would be invaluable to association leadership, members, and other key industry stakeholders. 

Remember that the key to converting market research into non-dues revenue is to select a revenue-generating funding model whereby your association does not absorb the program costs. Instead, your association can generate a consistent revenue stream through annual subscriptions and customized research fees.

Assess Industry Peers to Remain Competitive  

Today’s software and cloud-based research databases allow you to access research specific to the size, demographics, and geographical location of your association and its members. Focus on conducting or obtaining research that is narrow in scope and industry-specific to gain insight that both your internal stakeholders and members can take advantage of. This way, your members can compare themselves to their cohorts and learn from others while promoting healthy competition in the industry.  

Getting Started With Association Research

Now that you know more about the keys and benefits of market research, you may wonder about the best approach to getting started. Before you embark on your research journey, consider the goals and strategy of your organization so that you can decide on the best direction. Ask yourself:

  • What are your overall organizational goals (both from a mission and values standpoint and an operational one)?
  • What are your strengths (what does your association do best)? What are your weaknesses (the things you wish you could improve on)?
  • What do you know about your audience or community? (This is a great time to develop niche personas if you don’t already have them in place.)
  • What would you like to know about your audience?
  • Are there any audiences you’d like to reach or serve that you aren’t already?

Answering these questions will help you develop clear goals and objectives for your market research. Take your time during this exploratory period. Remember, the more specific and well-thought-out your answers are to these discovery questions, the more tailored and valuable your research will ultimately be. 

Get the Association Research Solutions You Need With Vault

Remember, great research is only the beginning. Once your research is complete, integrate it into your content strategy (via workshops, white papers, and even webinars) and regularly solicit your membership for ideas to further enhance the program.

At Vault Consulting, we tailor our research services to help your association meet its goals. We take a comprehensive approach while helping you grow the perceived value of your research program over time so your organization thrives.

For more information and insight, feel free to contact Vault Consulting.

Laura Clark, IPC
Laura Clark, IPC
Laura leverages nearly 20 years of market research experience to design custom market research for each client. Clients come to rely on Laura as she places them first and never fails to deliver...
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