Keep Your Priorities Straight When Launching a New Product

The Society for Human Resource Management recently opened a speakers bureau, with very specific goals in mind. For them, the new service is much more about expanding SHRM’s reach than generating immediate revenue.

Sometimes associations take a leap and launch a new product or service because it will enable them to achieve a strategic goal—even if it doesn’t immediately bring in revenue.

That’s what the Society for Human Resource Management did in late September by launching  the SHRM Speakers Bureau. Its goal with the bureau is to expand the organization’s reach throughout the community, and one way that SHRM hopes do this is by keeping its bureau’s speaker fees flexible.

The way the bureau works is that both SHRM members and nonmembers can search for speakers across nine broad topic areas, which range from immigration to diversity and inclusion. Interested parties then fill out an online form, which not only asks for the usual information (e.g., length, date, time, and location of the speech), but also inquires about the group’s estimated budget.

“We are expanding the voice of HR at a time when society’s biggest issues are showing up at work,” said Kathy Harris, the bureau’s managing director. “We are challenging everyone–employers and employees—to join the conversation and be willing to dive into the hottest topics of today as well as core HR issues. To help organizations facilitate a live conversation, SHRM Speaker Bureau offers a wide variety of experts at a variety of budget levels.”

In other words, SHRM is hoping to connect groups with speakers no matter their budget—especially for those audiences that SHRM has identified as key to its strategic objectives. For instance, one of its target audience segments is higher education, so if SHRM gets a speaker request from a university, it might reduce the speaker fee or defer it completely.

The prior example illustrates the point that SHRM’s main goals with the speakers bureau are to grow its reach and become a valued resource for existing members—and not to necessarily bring in lots of additional revenue or attract new members, though Harris said that the organization expects those as nice byproducts.

Ultimately, SHRM wants to help facilitate conversations in workplaces across the globe. “2019 is going to be a critical time to shape the workplace—the place most people spend a large chunk of time,” Harris said. “We want workplaces to be a positive culture for all. Experts in the SHRM Speakers Bureau provide real-world guidance and motivation as we all work to advance the workplace.”

How does your organization balance profitability with non-monetary strategic goals when launching a new product? Please leave your comments below.

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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