Trade Association Consulting

Meshfrog has been working extensively with one of the nation’s oldest and most respected Trade Associations, the National Association of Manufacturers (the NAM), since 2013.  Working so closely with a top-notch association focused on its primary mission of advocacy and public policy has enabled us to hone and deliver a unique set of consulting services for the unique demands of the Trade Association world.

What makes the Meshfrog perspective so valuable for our Trade Association clients?

1 An Understanding of the Trade Association Mission and Culture.

Trade Associations have a unique set of business demands and stakeholders.  Many of them serve businesses as their members, but they have a very diverse set of stakeholders and audiences across government agencies and institutions, business leaders, other non-profits, media and press entities, and more.  We understand the unique challenges that this diversity of audience creates for an organization – and perhaps more importantly we understand how to bring important business insights and experience to the table without losing sight of how an association must maintain a laser focus on its mission and brand.

2 A Focus on Business Process.

With so many Trade Associations made up of executives and staff that often come primarily from government and academic backgrounds, applying process mapping and improvement techniques is often a key skill-set that we bring to the engagement.  Trade Associations find this especially valuable as they look to scale more effectively.  Delivering increasing member service and member value without just throwing more staff or vendor dollars at the challenges requires a focus on how the important processes should be implemented and improved to deliver reliable and scalable results.

3 An Examination of Member Value.

At the end of the day, every Trade Association must deliver member value that is at least sufficient to justify the dues or other fees it collects to support its efforts.  It is thus critical to explore and understand the explicit and implicit value propositions that the association is communicating and delivering, and how these are evolving over time either proactively or due to outside forces.  While the specific value proposition may be unique and unlike a for-profit business, we find that the application of best practices from disciplines such as sales, marketing, technology, data/analytics, operations, and customer service can deliver important insights and help align staff and resources to deliver the member value that is most impactful.

4 A Commitment to Agility.

Agility and iteration are just as important to a member-focused organization as they are to a for-profit entity.  In fact we find that in some cases they are more powerful and have a more profound impact on the association culture, especially if the association is struggling with stalemate situations – where perhaps “perfect is the enemy of good”, or where the lack of a profit motive or other clear business driver perhaps makes all voices fairly equal and reasonable concerns and objections become paralyzing forces.  Using specific agile approaches can help an association transform its culture to default more towards action and consistent improvement instead of watching cross-functional projects and challenges stagnate.


Contact us today to see how we might help your Trade Association tackle its specific challenges and deliver greater member value.


Copyright © 2014 Meshfrog Inc. - All Rights Reserved.