Trade Association: Definition & Importance

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sean Kennedy

Sean has 8 years experience as a supervisor and has an MBA with a concentration in marketing.

A trade association helps businesses in a specific industry gain knowledge and also helps set laws for the industry. In this lesson, we'll discuss how they obtain clients, hold meetings, volunteer, and create committees and publications.

What Is a Trade Association?

Are you part of business and want to become more knowledgeable about the industry? A trade association is an organization or group that is funded by businesses in a particular industry. The purpose of a trade association is to set laws and provide extensive knowledge to companies within the industry. All of the businesses work together to help solve problems and come up with solutions to industry-related issues. Trade associations are non-profit organizations whose primary purpose is to provide different learning tools for businesses in a particular industry.

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  • 0:03 What Is a Trade Association?
  • 0:38 Obtaining Clients
  • 1:49 Having Trade Meetings
  • 2:13 Volunteering
  • 2:50 Committees and Publications
  • 3:47 Lesson Summary
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Obtaining Clients

A trade association can obtain clients through attending trade shows, through their website, or through emailing individuals in the particular field. By participating in a trade show, the trade association has the opportunity to recruit clients to join and gain extensive knowledge about their particular area. Materials should be created to help give individuals information about the trade association.

Most people will participate in a trade association by going directly to their website. Word-of-mouth is also a technique used to gain exposure. Trade associations can also get a list of individuals in different businesses and then email them to have them join.

Let's look at an example. An employee who works in the hospitality industry may want to gain more information about hospitality and network in their field. The company they work for may suggest some trade associations to join, or they can just search the Internet for different trade associations in the hospitality industry. Going directly to the website will help give the potential client information about the trade association's purpose and will allow them to fill out an application to join.

Having Trade Meetings

Trade meetings help give clients information in the field and are a way for clients to network with each other. A trade show helps companies in the industry display their latest products or services. Trade shows also have seminars on different topics in the field, such as training, job opportunities, technology, etc. Meetings are also a way for businesses to gain ideas for their companies.


Volunteering is the foundation of a trade association. Members from different organizations often volunteer to form a committee to accomplish different goals. Volunteers help form various training programs and create new ideas for the trade association. They have volunteers in control of marketing and social media to help build awareness for the organization. Many trade associations hire interns to gain experience in the field while contributing to idea creation for the trade association. Volunteers can be anyone from a CEO of a company to a low-level employee.

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