Is Your Association a Thought Leader?

March 29, 2018   |   Vol. 17   |   Issue 3
By Adina Wasserman, MGI Research Director

Is Your Association a Thought Leader?

In order to answer that question, it helps to understand the concept. A thought leader can be defined as a person or organization recognized as an authority in a specific field. But does it stop there? An association provides information, resources, and data for its members, making it an authority in a specific area, certainly by definition. But does that really make the organization a thought leader? We would argue there is more to it.

Instead, recent definitions classify thought leadership as a form of content marketing, a way to connect with and engage your target audience by discussing your industry’s hot-button issues and answering the burning questions.

Where Does the Content Come From?

If your association has an advocacy arm, there are certainly industry issues and possibly even policy matters that affect your membership. Understanding HOW the issues affect your membership is one of the most effective means in creating engaging and relevant content. Using Marketing General Incorporated’s Industry Insights Poll, your association can quickly gather data from your members to discover the effects that current policies and/or industry issues have produced on their business, their work, and their future.

Results of Thought Leadership

It is important to choose a topic that is strongly affiliated with your brand. One of our clients, a healthcare association, conducted an Industry Insights Poll investigating the effects of the Affordable Care Act on emergency room visits. The data from this survey was used to create a press release that was picked up by various news outlets, both national and local, spotlighting the association as one that is on the cutting-edge of its industry’s hot topics, making the association part of the conversation, and increasing the association’s name recognition and reputation.

Furthermore, an association seen as having its finger on the pulse of the industry is often perceived as a highly desirable membership organization by prospects, and can deepen the attachment, engagement, and loyalty of current members.

How to get started

The Industry Insights Poll consists of about 20-25 questions, including demographics. Results are presented in total, but can also be provided based on state representation. Let MGI help make your association its Industry Thought Leader, top-of-mind to those in the profession. If you’d like to talk about employing this technique, please call Adina Wasserman, PhD, at 703.706.0373 or email

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