How Trade Associations Keep Your Business Relevant

12/1/14

First published on Natural Products Insider.

September 11, 2014

Whether you are a one-person consulting firm, a multibillion-dollar company, or in between, trade associations are the adhesive holding this industry together; the guts that bring the flow of advocacy, representation, communication, education, and self-regulation to its members.

We members are merely cells passing through, hoping to stay a while to serve a purpose and improve and protect the products we offer consumers.

Through the trade associations, strategy to rewrite the rules governing our industry is born and nurtured, policy is matured and implemented, and the industry as a whole is simply made better. We all benefit from this relationship, even those who sell in this industry and are not members of any trade.

The only party that doesn’t benefit from trade associations is the cheaters, which associations seek to protect us from. In fact, when I’m asked about a particular product (good or bad), one of my first considerations is their membership and participation in the relevant trade associations. Simply stated, I am skeptical of those companies that are not active members of the various trade associations.

And that includes labs. Alkemist Labs is proud to belong to several trade associations, including AHPA, CRN, NPA, and UNPA. Why are we members?

From a laboratory perspective, trade associations serve many purposes. Committee meeting participation is not only a way to ensure the industry’s correct path but also to stay up-to-date with industry issues and help solve them. While doing so you are likely to engage in collaborative projects and subcommittees.  These activities form working relationships with competitors, colleagues, and future customers.

That brings up the other really important reason to belong to trade associations: networking and marketing. I find few more cost-effective strategies to get the Alkemist Labs name and logo in front of target customers—and stay relevant to current clientele—than to be active in trade association committee meetings. I participate in as many as I can and pay attention and speak up. The relationships you build in doing so last longer than an ad placement.  

Last, but not least, most trade associations have wonderful annual meetings in beautiful locations with fun parties, I mean, networking events.

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