Community, Culture, Creativity & Communications
Over the past two decades, PCMA has continued to research and cultivate sustainable membership solutions. In 2013, they introduced Club 360, a diagnostic process to enhance the club’s relevance and market share. In 2014, they followed in that same path introducing success stories where every department began to engage in redefining its role in driving membership growth, retention, increased usage and increased satisfaction. Throughout 2015 and 2016, PCMA reinforced the redefinition of the private club as we introduced the relevant C’s.
PCMA Establishes the Relevant C’s
It starts with community. Everyone’s aware that we serve a member community, but few understand that in that service we are sending a clear and resounding message to our second community, the potential member. What a club does and how it does it manifests in perceptions in both communities. This is critical because in one community you want to retain members and increase usage at the Club.
In the other, you must have an attractiveness in what potential members see you doing that is relevant to their lives. In an increasingly diverse culture we must be interdepartmentally cognizant of differing needs by age, gender, family and time constraints. As nearly all industry experts suggest, the key today is in diverse lifestyle event programming.
One of the key words that we use often is relevancy. While some would argue that when membership sales get difficult its time to discount, PCMA’s view is that the more relevant you become to someone’s lifestyle, the more they are willing to pay. The reverse is also true. If you aren’t providing something relevant, price won’t matter.
So, you come next to creativity. This can be a little tricky in that you should be creative across all the cultural concerns, age, gender, family and time. The way PCMA recommends to prepare attractive and well-attended events is to ask the members. The next time you do a survey make sure and qualify each response on the basis of age, gender and family make-up. Instead of doing a survey that gives you a composite response, have the responses cross-tabulated to see how the questions are being answered on the basis of age, gender and family make-up. The results will provide you a roadmap toward creative programming across cultural lines.
Another method is to determine the demographics of the new members that have joined over the past several years. Becoming more relevant to this demographic can also be gleaned from a demographically qualified survey. Simply review the responses by the demographic representing your new member growth and you will see what they are looking for as well. You just need to ask the right questions.
Nothing can happen without a culture of service. Men and women who are dedicated to getting your members engaged in dynamic lifestyle event programming. The next evolution is not necessarily about huge capital expenditures, but it is about allocating the people resources to develop and implement the events and programming that members want and need.
Finally, there is communication. As stated in the beginning, you are already communicating but you just didn’t realize how potent your message really was. Realizing that today’s consumer is different than past generations is a great starting point in developing your brand message. Determining the things most important to both of your communities is key. One size clearly does not fit all in today’s world. Branding is somewhat of an art but start with a consciousness that suggests everything you are and do will become part of your brand perception. If you want to be branded as more children friendly, determine what that might look like to your younger family members. Again, you have to ask the questions.
The obvious conclusion in today’s market is that you can’t remain stoically loyal to practices that may no longer carry the day, but instead must redefine your Club in the path of the market that it serves, both internally and externally. Like agronomy and food service, marketing is a science. It is also your bottom line.