Five Examples of Knowledge Products That Provide Member Value

Five Examples of Knowledge Products That Provide Member Value

What are Knowledge Products?

We define knowledge products as information that will help members/stakeholders in their decision making efforts. Examples might include: industry reports, statistics and economic updates, benchmarking and best practices information, specialized seminars/webinars.

Knowledge products position an association as a “knowledge broker,” they provide member value and potentially generate non-dues revenue via sponsorship opportunities and/or report sales. The creation of knowledge products gives the association the opportunity to approach a sponsor with a unique opportunity.

For a sponsor, knowledge products provide a platform to demonstrate thought leadership, engage with the industry/profession and create good will that will transfer into business opportunities.

Sponsors can shape the research and ask their own set of proprietary questions. Sponsors will receive multiple exposures across platforms e.g. print, online, whitepapers, roundtable discussions, article reprints and conferences.

Types of Knowledge Products

 1. Market surveys

Topics covered in a market survey typically relate to current conditions within a given market or industry e.g. employment issues, profits, productivity, challenges and opportunities. The findings of the research can be turned into content that can be used on multiple platforms e.g. the association website, newsletter and white papers, roundtable discussions, conference presentations.

2. Industry/profession outlook

Outlook surveys typically focus on expectations for the next year. Question areas include:

1. Outlook for your business/profession in the upcoming year

2. Revenue expectations

3. Key challenges/constraints to growth

4. Biggest areas of opportunity

5. Growth strategies

As with market surveys, results can be made available in a variety of formats including: the association website, newsletter and white papers, roundtable discussions, conference presentations.

 3. Benchmarking and best practices

Surveys of this type allow participants to compare their performance, results and best practices with other members of the association. Here are some sample categories of inquiry from a survey we completed for Interior Designers of Canada and Canadian Interiors magazine.

1. Profile of organization                                      

2. Number and type of projects completed

3. Staffing and employment of students

4. Gross billings and average profit/loss                 

5. Billing rates for specific positions

6. Salaries              

7. Marketing efforts

8. RFP’s -  Average cost to develop, percent resulting in business

Revenue can be generated by both sponsorship and report sales.  Report buyers can order a custom report that will allow them to make specific comparisons e.g. size of operation and region. Overall survey results can be made available on the association website, newsletter and white papers, roundtable discussions, conference presentations.

4. Compensation and benefits

As well as collecting compensation and benefits information, surveys of this type typically examine topics such as job responsibilities and satisfaction, professional development, work/life balance. The findings can be promoted on the association website, newsletter, conference presentations and via an online salary calculator.

 5. Brand awareness and perceptions

Typically surveys of this type examine awareness and familiarity with key brands. For example, brands may be rated on specific attributes e.g. value, quality, innovation, reliability, likelihood of recommending.  Reports are made available to individual or multiple sponsors.


Research–based “knowledge products” deliver valuable, proprietary information to association stakeholders. The examples mentioned in this blog can be customized to the needs of specific industries and professions.

These knowledge products typically fall into two categories:

1) High value customized reports e.g. benchmarking/best practices research that can be made available to association members for a fee. 

2) Research-based studies that can generate advertising and sponsorship dollars and be turned into content across multiple platforms e.g. print, online, article reprints, roundtable discussions and conferences.

For more information, contact Gerald Bramm at 905-465-3578. 

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