Challenges and opportunities for associations to grow internationally

In today’s globalizing world, a significant part of the revenue of many European and international associations comes from their overseas membership and customer base. Training, certification,  conferences and publications are in high demand in all regions of the world, especially in fast growing emerging markets.

The future growth for most regional or international associations will increasingly depend on revenues that come from outside their often saturated home markets. The ability to better serve and to add value for overseas members and customers will be necessary for sustainable growth.

For some associations, the strategy might include translating contents or materials to suit different audiences. For others, they might offer tailored services or events in the targeted regions. Still others will seek partnerships that can act as accelerators in these markets, before they move on to establishing operations or eventually setting up a regional office.

For many associations, the entry point to large regional markets is through global cities and metropolitan hubs. World-class cities are home to a critical mass of thought leaders, centers of higher education, research, multinational companies, live meetings & events where knowledge transfer takes place fluidly and rapidly.

Associations’ strategies to grow internationally is not without challenges and often impacts the way they operate. It needs to be carefully assessed whether existing business models will work in other cultures or markets. Reciprocally, there are lessons to be learned from the regional markets in terms of operating models and adapting the global offer.


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