• Opportunities for local third-party vendor support;
• Preferences for delivery of educational content.
The contacts and data gathered helped IDUG create a three-year plan to cultivate a local user community that would lead
to the eventual launch of a stand-alone educational conference
in Bangalore, India. IDUG was able to gain a foothold and begin
to build a following through a series of measures:
• Leveraging local IBM customer events to build visibility and
brand awareness of the independent user group;
• Gaining an opportunity — with the help of IBM — to win
over attendees of these local events by providing them a
chance to opt in to IDUG membership; and
• Enlisting active local users to: ( 1) Create and build awareness
of a new IDUG regional user group that would eventually
feed into a local IDUG conference planning committee; and
( 2) Provide input on hot topics, which led to the creation of
a series of IDUG-branded webinars tailored and marketed to
local needs and designed to keep the local community engaged
IDUG is now replicating this cooperative process in the
Brazil and China markets. The effort is yielding growth both in its
online user community, and in creating opportunities for expansion of both face-to-face and electronic education delivery.
Strategies for Success
Based on our experience with these and other clients, here are
some tips for developing and executing your own global growth
1. Market Analysis and Business Plan: There is no substitute
for market research collected directly from your customer
and member segments in targeted regions.
2. Product Management: Make sure local experts are involved
in adapting your product or service to each region, and that
you have the ability to scale your service delivery inside the
region instead of from headquarters.
3. Membership: Cultivate participation by giving your local
leaders a say in how to create local activities.
4. Marketing Communications: Rather than just translating
your material, make the content relevant to local audiences.
5. Meetings: Select partners with solid local knowledge and
expertise in areas including marketing and promotion,
sponsorship development, destination management, hous-ing, currency risk, registration and meeting logistics.
Despite economic challenges, meeting the needs and fulfilling the aspirations of members remain critical for the future of
all associations. At the same time, globalization trends point to
opportunities for associations to maximize their growth and revenue potential. Five years from now, the organizations that will be
in the best position are those that — despite the challenges —
have identified those opportunities and pursued them effectively.
Bret Kelsey is senior director of client services for the SmithBucklin + MCI Worldwide Partnership. He may be reached at
Peter Turner is MCI’s business development director, U.S. institutional market.
He may be reached at
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit