What should we look at when assessing an associations competitive landscape? Associations often have best-in-class content. That said, for many audiences the association website is a blocker to accessing association content. In our research we have consistently found that for association members and non-members alike the highest value when it comes to content is the immediacy (speed to access). Many value speed over credibility or authority.

Take for example the typical association solutions architecture:

  • Website Content Management System (CMS)
  • Learn Management System (LMS)
  • Association Management System (AMS)
  • Publications Website CMS
  • Education Website
  • Websites Generated for Grants
  • Community Website for example

Consider you are seeking the associations’ best-in-class content. You would probably expect that the association’s website search box allows direct access to all the content available. In most cases however this is not what you would get. You would get six or more search boxes across several websites. This is not a reasonable way to search. If this is “how you have always done it” it is time to consider non-traditional competitors when assessing your association’s competitive landscape.

1. Traditional Competitors

  • Organizations providing academic peer reviewed content

2. Non-traditional Competitors

  • Google
  • Wikipedia

3. Competing with Google, It’s a Fact

  • People want speed over credibility