Online Forums: How They Threaten Associations’ Membership

Toby MarshallAssociation MarketingLeave a Comment

Online Forums offer subscription services and a mOnline forums sharing ideas on a computerultitude of privileges to members, so why do many Associations fail to see forums (essentially websites) as a major threat?
Sure, they’ve been around for over 20 years, but forums have recently boomed in size, transforming into serious competitors for smaller Associations.

Online Forums: What we already know about the threats…

One of their primary draw cards is a provision of links to external content. In addition to what’s provided on their pages, this offers users access to a wider range of resources and services.

Essentially, they are providing an endless supply of content, and can do so without having to charge the same level of membership fees as  Associations. This drives many of their visitors, basically providing an online ‘self-serve’ product, and enables them to keep all costs low.

What we’ve identified as threats…

Our research also identified a number of additional competitive advantages, including Forums’ ability to provide advice and feedbacks in just minutes, as well as attracting a far more active community than Associations generally do. As Forums are able to provide accurately segmented platforms, their members are among like-minded peers, and so choose to actively engage with others.

We looked into 14 industries/professions, and discovered each had at least 4 – 8 relevant, high traffic Forum counterparts. And the number of visitors – compared with local Associations – was off the charts.
Next time we’ll post the other global threats CEOs from Associations have noticed.

Cheers, Toby. [C117]

Toby leads a team of young international B2B marketers at Lead Creation.