Associations: Get out of your own way

That's the message I got when reading this post on the TSMI Trade Show Marketing Report. Rich Westerfield mentions an example of the Specialty Coffee Association of America's conference, and how the attendees are forcing change on what sounds like a pretty stodgy association. This is something I've never understood: Why associations don't lead their members, instead of having members push and shove the association into the future. As Rich points out:

    The number of voices and the numerous opinions shared by the more than 1,000 baristi, coffeehouse owners, suppliers and others who participate in these online forums and read these blogs are in and of themselves, an alternative to having to go to an association for education.

I would hazard a guess that the upcoming generation isn't going to bother doing all that pushing and shoving to make an association and its meetings relevant; they'll just head elsewhere for the information they need, the way they want to get it. Associations should be all over the new information delivery (for lack of a better term) trends, even if their members aren't there yet. Because they will be, and soon.

P.S. I was so happy to see Rich Westerfield posting again—the conversation around tradeshow marketing hasn't been the same since he redirected his energy toward Aldo Coffee.

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