The Power of Transitioning Suppliers and Vendors to Thought Leaders


January 26, 2023

As an association or professional society, your members likely view you as the authority on your industry – and they should! But, in order for them to continue to look to you as a thought leader, you need to keep your finger on the pulse of the latest developments and trends. One way to do this is by transitioning your suppliers and vendors into thought leaders.

Why is this important?

As a leader within an association, you know that having strong relationships with your suppliers and vendors is important. And by collaborating with them as thought leaders, you can ensure that your members always have access to the latest industry insights. These companies supply the products and services that your members need in their designated industry, so it's important to cultivate these relationships. By transitioning your suppliers and vendors to thought leaders, it can have a big impact on your association and here are a few reasons why:

  • Thought leaders are trusted experts in their field.
  • They can supply valuable insights and perspectives on the latest trends.
  • They can help you to generate new ideas and solutions for your members.
  • They can help you to build a strong network of contacts.

Because thought leaders are the ones who are constantly innovating and finding new ways to improve their products and services, they are also the ones who are always looking for ways to better serve their customers – your members. In fact, they are part of the very reason people join associations in the first place — to meet and network with like-minded individuals who can help them succeed in their field.

How can you transition a supplier to a thought leader?

When looking for a thought leader to work with or learn from, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Their area of expertise: Make sure the thought leader you’re considering specializes in the area you’re interested in.
  • Their platform: Consider the size and reach of the thought leader’s platform. Do they have a large following on social media? Do they write for well-known publications? Do they have their own blog or podcast?
  • Their content: Take a look at the thought leader’s content to see if it’s something you’d be interested in. Do they produce high-quality content that’s well-researched and insightful?
  • Their engagement: Find out how engaged the thought leader is with their audience. Do they respond to comments and questions? Do they seem to genuinely care about their audience’s needs?
  • Their credentials: Make sure the thought leader has the proper credentials for their area of expertise. Does your industry have certain certifications in order to succeed within the field?

Once you’ve done your research and found individuals and/or companies to become thought leaders for your association, there are a few ways to help transition them into this new role.

  • Encourage them to share relevant and valuable content regularly on social media
  • Guest blog or write articles for relevant publications
  • Involve them in speaking engagements or webinars
  • Include them in relevant industry events and networking opportunities

What are the benefits?

Getting the “boots on the ground” insight in the form of supplier-generated content not only gives your association much needed credibility, but it also tends to engage your audience on a deeper level. These are people within the industry; peers who understand what it’s like to be in the field and experience things on a deeper level.

By sharing supplier-created content, you not only elevate the experience of the members reading or viewing the content, you also engage those who created the content on another level. Feeling heard and seen is something that is constantly craved. So, by not only seeing but sharing content your suppliers and vendors are creating, you are confirming their work in the field, their voice in the industry and their presence to your membership.

Share This:

Newsletter Sign Up

Receive regular updates in your inbox.
Sign up for our newsletter!

Subscribe Here!

Discover more blog articles


Managing finances is critical for any organization, and trade associations are no exception. Budget reviews play a pivotal role in ensuring the...


Fantasy football has captured the hearts and minds of sports enthusiasts worldwide. The success of fantasy football leagues lies in the strategic...


I recently had the pleasure of attending my first Non Dues-A-Palooza, an event that brings together the biggest experimenters and leaders in the...


How can we help your association succeed

Complete the form and we'll connect with you right away.