Like Trade Associations, Times Must Innovate to Stretch Dollars

Article excerpt

This week we take an in-depth look at some of the bigger issues facing trade associations - aside from worrying about who will lead Congress and the White House after the Nov. 5 election.

Veteran reporter Lorraine Woellert writes about the innovative ways that trade associations are trying to make up for revenue losses caused in recent years by a falloff in membership - and thus dues, their traditional core source of income.

Groups are being pressured to offer more services without increasing membership fees. Many are turning to alternative revenue sources, which include ventures such as running publications, offering training and endorsing products.

The last effort became a public relations failure for the Arthritis Foundation when a deal to market a product based on Tylenol as an arthritis-relieving pain medication went sour. Johnson & Johnson stopped marketing the "new" arthritis drug, saying sales were too slow.

The foundation and Johnson & Johnson, which makes Tylenol, were sued by the attorneys general of 19 states for making misleading claims about the product, and the company settled the charges for $2 million.

On the lighter side, our Executive Lunch feature in this issue takes you to Chevy Chase, where Peter Kaplan reviews the newest Clyde's, a theme restaurant that is a hit with the business-lunch crowd. Clyde's was deliberate in giving itself a smart start in December 1995. The company's creators even convened focus groups to help divine exactly what type of eatery Chevy Chase wanted.

Despite its expensive decor, Clyde's of Chevy Chase serves unpretentious American fare for reasonable prices. The conclusion: a good place for a business lunch.

Over the past two weeks, I've received a number of letters praising the first two issues of the Washington Business Times. But among the well wishers came several letters pleading with us to "fix" our daily stock tables, which were revamped about four years ago. …