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Professional Learning in the Era of Netflix and Amazon

What if I were to say, companies like Netflix and Amazon are your association’s biggest point of competition?

For some, I suspect this statement catches them off guard and does not quite make sense.  Well contrary to common belief, it is my perspective your association’s primary competitors are not the other associations in your field, nor the for-profit training companies you compete with for your members’ wallet or even the local organizations who make networking opportunities readily available to your prospective members.

Your competitors are likely the companies YOU consume products from.  They are the companies you enjoy working with because of the convenience they offer you, the intuitive and user-friendly experience they provide time and time again, the amazing way in which they always seem to know exactly what you are looking for and the ways in which they continually engage you with new products and benefits.

It is these companies, like Netflix, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook and so many more who are dramatically impacting consumer behaviors related to online retail, commerce, content consumption and much more.  And that is the basis for why (unbeknownst to many associations) they are your primary competition.

With that point established, let’s now focus down a bit deeper.  I believe professional online learning products (consider this to include education, training, professional development etc…) are one of the most strategic assets an association has.  Further, I believe the success of many associations will hinge upon the ways in which education and learning products are strategically positioned as a central part of their value proposition.

(Quick Definition: Professional online learning refers to the online or digital education products your association sells or makes available, such as self-paced courses, live and on-demand webinar recordings, Ebooks, online publications, video content, audio podcasts, live and on-demand video webcasts, assessments and prep exams etc…)

Positioning online learning products is the opportunity, but there is a major issue – these products are left exposed and therefore under attack by companies like Netflix, Amazon, and others.  And herein lies a critical point as to WHY your association’s online learning is under attack — as consumers our habits, preferences and needs are being met in very specific ways, BUT when we put on our professional learner hat, the experiences we are being presented by our associations are not in alignment with those we are receiving as consumers.


The convenience, continual engagement, ease of use, accessibility and personalization we have been conditioned to count on, are glaringly missing within the user experiences today’s associations are putting forward to members, constituents, learners etc… This ‘cognitive dissonance’ either leaves your learners dissatisfied yet stuck within the confines of your solutions or empowered to seek out providers and solutions who will meet the needs they have become accustomed to as consumers.

In order to understand how to meet the needs of your association’s learners, it is imperative we explore key user behaviors being driven by Amazon and Netflix and then unpack strategies to position your online learning products for optimal alignment.

If you would like to learn more about topic please join us on November 17 at 1 PM ET for a live webinar, where we will be exploring the impact Netflix and Amazon are having upon professional learning and strategies your association can apply to better serve your learners.  Follow this link to register: Live Webinar: Professional Learning in the Era of Amazon and Netflix.

Here is a preview of a few of the changes in learner behavior we will discuss and use as a foundation for the strategies we suggest.

  1. Binge learning and content consumption
  2. Utilizing tools to save my interests
  3. Expecting specialized content and generic content in one place
  4. Provide what I want, when I want it (not when it is available)

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