A few months ago, the ERA leadership gathered for a productive strategic-planning meeting. At the top of the agenda was the identification of specific initiatives for the association’s future growth and evolution.
“Discussions with the Board and at the CEO Summit have revealed a number of important issues that are challenging our industry,” says Harry Hill, ERA chairman and president and CEO of Oak Lawn Marketing. “In the spirit of the ERA forefathers, the Board is engaged in ongoing conversations about these issues, so that the association can strive to be ahead of them over the next several years.”
The Board pinpointed three areas that needed to be addressed: 1) Near-term growth opportunities; 2) Long-term growth opportunities; and 3) Industry issues in which ERA should take a leadership role. Board members will identify specific objectives and report back to their peers at a meeting to be held during ERA’s Government Affairs Fly-In this month.
ERA is not only exploring new growth opportunities, but also evaluating existing ones—self-regulation being a prime example. ERA has taken a leadership role in self-regulation for many years with the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP), and is now focused on future evolution of the program. The ERA and ERSP staffs are working together to identify additional services for existing ERA members, and identify new markets that recognize the value of self-regulation to their businesses and their customers.
Another important goal is to grow ERA’s membership to encompass online and e-commerce players. ERA recognizes that there isn’t a precise definition of what “online” means to direct response marketers, and it remains unclear what a potential member from the e-commerce arena expects from ERA—an oversight we, as an association, are determined to remedy. The objective is to ascertain the types of online companies that would benefit the most by becoming ERA members, and understand how their membership could pave the way for partnerships between online and DR marketing members.
Our job as the industry’s only trade association is to remain ahead of the curve by seeking out new revenue streams, emerging markets, and growth opportunities that will ultimately increase your bottom line and generate greater value to your membership in ERA. With the help of ERA leadership and well-defined strategic initiatives, I am confident that we are on our way to accomplishing those goals.