Associations are always considering innovative ways to reach new audiences and increase revenue. However, sometimes the most effective and obvious solution lies in reflecting inward and repurposing services in order to tap into markets that have yet to be explored.
Recently, McKinley worked with the Casualty Actuarial Society (CAS) to do just that. Over the years, CAS had built a concrete reputation and become known for the variety of high-quality educational resources it provided to its members. When looking for new ways to grow their revenue, CAS considered how to expand their products and services outside of the actuarial field and which other professions would find them valuable.
Overall, the association sought to identify new markets and the best ways to reach those markets with their current services. If your association relates to this scenario, following a similar path as CAS might help you build on your reputation and reach your revenue and membership goals.
To help other associations like CAS, McKinley put together a four-step checklist to act as a guide throughout the process. Consider following these steps to expand your association’s current products and services to new markets.
Step 1: Research Related Markets
The first step before an association can set their sights on new potential markets is to conduct initial research. This helps to identify and compare all potential audiences that would use your current products and offerings.
When working with CAS, McKinley’s research team conducted a field assessment to measure the current state of the actuarial profession, followed by an evaluation of over 30 professions in related markets. They focused in on specific characteristics of each profession, including:
- Total employment
- Growth outlook
- Required skills
- Continuing education requirements
Step 2: Narrow Your Reach
By focusing on and evaluating key aspects like the above, your association can hone in on a smaller group of prospective professionals that would be most appropriate to target with your current services.
After McKinley and CAS reviewed the assessment findings, they were able to narrow down the list of related markets to four relevant professions for further analysis. Like CAS, your association’s secondary research should include assessing competing associations and the relevant services they provide to the professionals within those markets.
Step 3: Identify Market Gaps
By taking a closer look at the resources offered by competitors, your association will not only have a sense of how its offerings compare to others’ but also have insight into market needs that are not being fulfilled.
In the case of CAS, there were several opportunities to fill gaps left by competitors. With McKinley, CAS was able to analyze their own offerings further and consider the relevance they held for each specific profession and the areas they provided unique value.
From this final analysis, three out of the four researched professions were ultimately determined to be targets with the most potential.
Step 4: Adapt Your Services
After narrowing down your new audiences, the last item on your list is to identify the areas your association has the means and resources to adapt in order to serve new professionals and fill market gaps. By identifying existing offerings that could efficiently be adapted to reach new markets, you save time and resources without having to develop entirely new products, programs or services.
McKinley’s research ultimately found that there was a market opportunity of more than 31 times the size of the current audience CAS was targeting.
Which Markets Need Your Services?
Have you already marked off some of these items from your checklist? Whether you already have research to serve as a starting point or you need to start from the top, new markets could be within your reach by following this simple step-by-step approach.