Definition: An organization that represents the interests of the member firms of an industry .
Have you ever thought about joining your industry's trade association? Trade organizations offer a wealth of information, such as market statistics, lists of members, and books and reference materials. Talking to others in your association can be one of the most valuable ways of gaining informal data about a region or customer base. You should also read your trade associations' publications to get an idea of current and future trends and buying patterns.
To track down the association for your industry, visit your local public library. You'll find a listing of the more than 23,000 U.S. trade associations in the Encyclopedia of Associations, published by Gale Research, which is generally available in the reference section of most large public libraries.