Letter from the Secretary/Editor
Promoting membership in AAPG is one of the duties of a delegate. Yet, how does one “sell” the benefits of belonging to an organization as complex and diverse as AAPG? Modern sales pitches end with, “For more information, visit our web site…”
The AAPG web site has grown increasingly more sophisticated and useful thanks to the tireless efforts and considerable skill of Janet Brister and the members of the IT team. The result of their work is the face we show our members and the world. In the coming months, the Web site will grow to offer increased functionality as more AAPG member services are adapted for online access.
The June issue of the AAPG EXPLORER (pdf) contains an article by Janet, titled “Members Only-Packed With Benefits”, describing how members can dig into a growing digital tool box. Here you can access the geographic map-based search of the Bulletin archives, the AAPG Directory, pay your dues, update your contact information, and more. When recruiting new members, emphasize how easy it is to apply for membership online. Show existing members about new features on the web site, as too many of them are unaware of the recent improvements. It is important that members and potential members alike are aware of these valuable features of membership.
In “Members Only” access map-based literature search
Web sites for SEG and SPE, (societies to which we are now so often compared) display a home page universally recognized as a “newspaper”. This e-newspaper has links that lead the reader to in-depth information they desire and need. The reader can surf to a topic of interest from links that lead to greater detail. Not a bad idea for a home page that serves members everywhere in the world.
The majority of members in an organization the size of AAPG are really more like clients or customers. MBAs when studying marketing, learn that the cost of gaining new customers is 85% higher than retaining existing ones. We must recognize that it is not enough to sign up a new member, but that we must continue to offer that member value. It is far too easy not to send in that dues payment if a member rsquo;s expectations have not been met.
The value to our members of online service cannot be understated. Our last member survey had a record response and 85% of respondents completed it online. Our last election involving 16,244 eligible voters had 6,115 returns or a 37.6% response. We received 3,546 paper ballots and 2,569 ballots were completed online. We are approaching a time when all communication with AAPG members will be e-communication.
Effective marketing creates a need for a product then provokes an emotional reaction that triggers a “buy” response. Selling membership in AAPG should be no different. Delegates need a new angle to help promote membership in AAPG to geoscientists. The pyramid of values is great for showing the entirety of what we offer, but maybe we should hone our sales pitch to a single point for maximum impact.
Emphasizing the information available online and how much involvement in AAPG may one day be accomplished by e-communication methods will be attractive to members of all ages and all nationalities. The House of Delegates might consider online mid-year meetings via video conferencing to eliminate the need for officers and participants to travel. This might gain us additional volunteers for committee service from delegates living in other countries or those unable to afford the time and money to travel.
In closing, I would like to say how much I have enjoyed serving as Secretary/Editor of the HoD. Best wishes to my successor, Bob Webster. In the spirit of “marketing” this office to other delegates considering higher service, I offer this endorsement: “I encourage any delegate to tackle this job to gain a better understanding of the inner workings and issues before the House and AAPG, and, “I lost 30 lbs working as the Secretary/Editor!”
Have a great summer!