Kevin Holland posted last week about his position that associations should be driven by the needs of their market rather than any particular product they produce.
Many association do choose to drive their products and services based on the needs of their market (which are largely their members and others closely associated with them). This is fine and often works quite well.
I would like to make the point, however, that an association could choose to have a particular product or service (or set of products/services) as the driving force for their strategy, addressing any market that values them. Their customers and members would change over time as they find new markets for their core product. The CFA Institute is a good example of what this might look like in practice.
Driving your choice of markets by a particular set of products you produce is as valid a strategy as determining your products/services by the needs of a defined market. Each would lead to very different looking associations but that’s the whole point of strategy: picking a direction and putting it into action.