The Club Industry’s First Private Club Maturity Model

After conducting extensive research in the private club space, as well as other industries, including hospitality, we’ve developed a series of documents and workbooks for club industry professionals, creating the Private Club Industry’s First Maturity Model. Our goal is to help club professionals to better understand their maturity relative to the industry and evolve their way of delivering exceptional member experiences that result in #members4life.

In the course of our research, we’ve identified four distinct stages in private club maturity. The four stages are: Developing, Emerging, Strategic, and Leading. Read on to learn more and get started

The Next Level for Athletics

National signing day. What used to be just another day for most of the world (aka, those not signing a national letter of intent) has become a veritable sports holiday. Everyone from high school to college sports fans to even professional sports prognosticators are weighing in on teenagers and their future impact on sports. While it is an exciting time looking ahead for everyone, the work behind it is what makes it possible. And more and more, as local news coverage dissipates, that work is falling on the high school athletic department, the coach, and the individual athlete. See how forward-thinking athletic programs are dealing with the change in this blog post: Getting Your Players and Athletic Program to the Next Level.

Creating a Lasting Member Base

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The following is an excerpt of the post that originally appeared here:

As generations and members change, clubs have to shift with them or risk being left behind.

For the first time, that requires new ways of thinking about everything, from member recruitment to member expectations at the club. Here are some points to consider to help to develop a member base that will be around for generations.

Member Experience at the Club

While the standards for great service and member experiences are familiar. the bar of expectations for how well you deliver has been raised significantly. Fueled by data and new technology, today’s members are used to being individually catered to everywhere they go by even large corporations.  Clubs will have to step up their game to stand out. Fortunately, much of the same technology used by national businesses are available for clubs.

Data captured throughout the club, or even before they join through a CRM system accelerates the depth of knowledge about members, creating a consistent experience throughout the club grounds. This can expedite onboarding of new hires and enable them to act and feel like tenured team members. It can also help you determine what types of programming to include going forward. “We’re working to develop a variety of clubs within a club,” says Emily Ojerholm, Membership Director at Longue Vue Club. Within the last two years, they’ve hired a Director of Fun to engage with members and create active programming all year round like fly fishing, wine, and gardening; “things that mom and dad can participate in together and with their families,” she says, because that’s what their member base is clamoring for.

Also, don’t overlook the everyday things at the club, like how members pay for example. Increasingly we use different payment methods in the outside world, from credit card to newer digital formats. A mobile ordering solution can enable associates to place orders wherever they are, allowing for more time to interact with and attend to members’ needs. As these methods become more common, they’ll come to be expected. Not having them will be noticed and be seen as an inconvenience to members.

Member Recruitment and Retention

“What would we want if we were in the market? What we’re trying to attract is exactly what we look for outside of work as well, that’s where we start,” says Greg Gilg, General Manager at the Field Club of Omaha. That’s a great start to attracting peers. Again, a CRM system can ensure that prospects get followed up with and nurtured through the process. But just as important is retaining members once they have joined. That’s where predictive analytics and a system like Clubessential MAP, the club industry’s first predictive analytics solution, can make a huge difference. MAP provides quick insight into member engagement based on predetermined scoring criteria and identifies members at risk. With that information, you can initiate a tailored re-engagement strategy and keep that member for decades to come.

Read the complete blog post here: Develop a Private Club Member Base that Will Last for Years.

Predictive Analytics Arrives at the Club

The Club Industry’s First Predictive Analytics Tool

Clubessential’s Member Relationship Management (MRM) solution is the club industry’s first predictive analytics toolMRM allows you to incorporate five different variables as to what constitutes an engaged member using information that’s already collected in your system. With that information and your rules, MRM creates models to identify who is engaged and predict who is at risk. With a simple click, you can view an individual member’s activity trend analysis. You’ll know instantly who has fallen below the engagement threshold (that you set) and be able to initiate a re-engagement strategy. This post was originally published on the Clubessential blog, Predictive Analytics Arrives at the Club.


Jurgen von Stillwater Sunset outdoor life

Your brand is not your product. That’s a risky fallacy. But if you’ve done one thing for more than 100 years, it’s easy to fall into a trap and believe it. It would have been easy for Outdoor Life to take that approach. Instead of holding on to the idea that they were a monthly collection of printed pages, they’ve listened to their audience. They are following a new path, but one that is consistent with their brand audience.

1. They’re focusing “how to” content where people look for how to content—on the web. From videos to their famous pictograms you’ll find instructional information wherever you search.

2. Always known for great product reviews, they’re adding a shopping component to directly access the best gear. But in addition, they’re adding their name to select products in the store.

3. The biggest move. The historically (more than 100 years) monthly magazine is going quarterly—and getting bigger. More pages. More photos. More great stories. It’s content that readers can lean back with and spend time. Which is exactly what they’ve been asking for.

This is a highlight of the post I wrote here: A Collection of Pages, a Magazine, or a Brand?

If you want more of my thoughts about the outdoors in general, visit Average Guy Outdoors.

Branding Priorities

We get it: everyone is busy. We’re all wearing multiple hats and essentially pulling cross-divisional shifts to keep the marketing train rolling. The good news is that the train is rolling. Marketing has more budget, respect, and responsibilities than ever before. The bad news is that too many times the brand is getting lost and forgotten at the station. Ultimately, the long-term value of the brand will suffer. Being a good brand steward is the single most important thing marketers can do that delivers significant value. And it’s the one thing that marketers seem to barely have time for.

Ridiculous Scope

Brian Hansford at Heinz Marketing created an excellent list of responsibilities that current CMOs are too often, possibly even typically, charged with in this LinkedIn article: The Ridiculous Scope of B2B Marketing Responsibilities. He lists 29 things, readily admits that there are likely more, and he’s probably right.

And that’s just the start of the problem. While all of them might be necessary, they all shouldn’t carry equal weight or priority within the department. To compound matters, brand strategy is hard, takes time to implement and even more time to deliver results. Studies show that when humans have to make a decision on where to put their time, they predictably choose the activity that is determined to be the most urgent. Not the most valuable. Not the most important. We choose the urgent one we can get done most expediently and check off our list.

Getting on Track Means Putting the Brand Out Front

It’s understood that clearly aligning your brand purpose with your company and creating a brand strategy is hard work. It takes time—time that marketing technology was supposed to give back to marketers but doesn’t seem to have delivered in the quantity expected. Saying that marketers need to be more disciplined in their time is a cop-out. What marketers need to do is start at the beginning and keep the main thing the main thing: the brand. When evaluating new messages, think brand before execution. When looking to reach new audiences, think brand before platforms. If it doesn’t fit with the brand, it doesn’t go forward. It’s that simple. You can start by cutting one non-essential SasS (Software as a Service) or social platform from your current list. That’s how your resource expenditures will compound the value of your brand and contribute to the overall worth, not end up as a cost on the CFO’s floor.

The following was an excerpt from a post originally posted on the Wilson Advertising blog,  Brand First … Right After I Do This Other Thing. You can read it in it’s entirety there.

Brand First Positioning

Brand first means that your market position is created through your brand personality, which revolves around three critical aspects:

1. A Purpose-Driven Culture
2. Unification Across the Business
3. Customer Engagement Optimization

See and hear our approach to becoming brand first in this episode of the Wilson Bridge.


Marketers Got Their Technology, But the C-Suite Still Has Questions

Marketing technology haven't answered all of the questions

Marketing drives revenue. Everyone knows that intrinsically. Just try going without it. The question from the c-suite has always been “how much?” quickly followed by “prove it.” That’s what MAPS promised to provide. Marketers bought them in, implemented the software, and sold their capabilities upstairs. They got the ear of the executives, if not a seat at the table, so to speak. Now it’s time to deliver, and unfortunately, the results are not as clear as everyone expected.

Brian Hansford of Heinz Marketing and Joe Chernov of InsightSquared presented a joint survey and report that the two companies did together. They polled marketing and sales professionals using five of the most common marketing automation platforms, and found an interesting divide based on the experience of the marketer and three key takeaways we found especially interesting.

This is an excerpt of the post, Is It Still Love, originally posted on the Wilson Advertising blog.

Just What I Needed …

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Consumer Habits are Shifting Ahead of Industries

It’s been apparent that the middle is not where retailers want to be for some time. However, led by changing demographics and economics, industries that were built on high-end continuous consumption and upgrades are in for a shock as well. Where previous consumers could be relied on to search for the latest and greatest, new consumers are more willing to settle for a product that meets their needs, does the job, but doesn’t break the bank. And the fact is, new manufacturing techniques and design knowledge mean that products in the middle or even the lower end are pretty darn good. They might not feature the latest technology, but they will reliable do what is asked of them. One sector likely to be be hit the hardest is outdoor gear and it will have profound affects on the passionate group of manufacturers. Here are just a few examples:

Cycling – For years bike manufacturers have been dedicated to performance and technology. Enthusiast have lined up to get the next greatest thing. Cutting weight, finding the right balance of strength, comfort and performance have been the holy grail. It came at a price, and a high one at that. Modern entry level and mid-range bikes are very competent, and may be all that many cyclist will ever need for years.

Golfing – For years golfers have believed that a new driver, putter or ball will magically cut their strokes and lower their scores. Golf manufacturers have been happy to oblige with continuous upgrades in every facet of the game. But as new audiences fail to hit the links, and interest wains, manufacturers won’t be able to play it where it lies. They’ll have to make adjustments.

Archery – While a bow and arrow is often considered primitive, the modern compound bow is anything but. Each year bow manufacturer continually try to improve the performance of their bows with faster speeds, higher let-offs, and smoother releases. Many of the high-end bows were sensitive to adjustments and required special tuning to get the max performance. Now bows are available off the rack that shoot nearly as well as top flight models just a few years ago, at a lower price, and without the setup work.

Fishing – The right tool for the job necessitates that many serious fisherman carried multiple rods and reels to match different situation. Modern reels and rods have improved in their reliability and ability to handle multiple situations. As the technology works down to the lower-priced outfits, many anglers are able to do more with less.

Return of the Middle? Not Quite

Don’t believe that this is a return to the middle. Hardly. While new audiences, millenials specifically, might be satisfied with a “good enough” product, they also care about experiences. That’s part of what drives these purchase decisions. For example, they want a bike to create an experience, but the experience is the important part. The bike has to function and perform, but it is not the focus.

Because they crave experiences, they love stories. Brands that have a story, create a great buying experience, and enable the buyer to better create their own stories, will win with these new evolving audiences.

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