Society 2005 Marketing Plan

Monday, November 29, 2004

Gentlemen of PROBE:

Attendees of the 2004 Dynamic Leaders Forum in Racine were treated to a sneak preview draft of the Barbershop Harmony Societyís 2005 Marketing Plan, more specifically the Membership Recruitment/Incentive component which includes a National Advertising Campaign.

This email includes answers the following questions:

What is our focus for 2005?
What will be different about this campaign?
What drives this plan?
How will this be funded?
What is the objective?
How will Staff, Districts and Chapters work together to make this plan a success?
How will this plan be implemented?
What tools will be provided?
How will we know we are ready?

We realize "the plan" is still lacking many details and certainly subject to change or refinement. That said; a higher level of TEAMWORK than has ever been mustered in the past is a critical component of this plan. In preparation for our 2004/2005 schools, all COTS Coordinators were sent the following to create "a buzz" about the exciting plans in store in 2005.

To make sure District leadership is in lock step with these exciting plans, all DPs and DVPs of Membership and M&PR have also received the following. This and future correspondence will put us in a better position to enjoy the most successful year in our Society's history.

Here's the framework for what we are looking at right now...


The centerpiece of our plan for 2005 is MEMBERSHIP RECRUITMENT


The Society has structured an incentive plan that offers $94,000 in prizes split between our top recruiting members, chapters and districts.

To level the playing field, awards will be presented for highest percentage of increase and for most new members gained. Minimum thresholds (the least number of new members recruited to be eligible) will be established soon. Any lapsed members that have been out of the Society for more than 12 months will be eligible candidates.

A $10,000 cash prize will be awarded to the member that brings in the most new members during this 90-day campaign. The Top Five Individual recruiters and Top Three Districts and Chapters will receive significant recognition for their contributions to our success. Additional incentives and recognition will also be explored.


We will be conducting a North American Media campaign the Society has never seen in its history, specifically; advertising in USA Today as well as advertising in Canada's Globe and Mail. If we are successful in raising more than expected revenues, perhaps through additional contributions of greater than $100 from some of our larger powerhouse chapters, quartets or from individual donations, we can supplement this print campaign with radio advertising in some US and Canadian markets.


For its Chapters and Members to be eligible, Districts will have to "pay to play," specifically an assessment of $100 per chapter. Districts can bear the complete responsibility, subsidize a portion of the assessment or rely on the chapters completely. This would generate co-op funds of $80,000. At present, the Society has an additional $174,000 budgeted between advertising and incentives.


The objective is to recruit 3500 new members during this 90-day campaign. Based on an average of $20 of District dues per new member, reaching 4000 members will generate enough dues revenue to offset the "pay to play" assessments levied at the beginning of the campaign.


The exact process for smooth implementation is still being refined. Much has to happen to make this program a success. For one thing, every person, every chapter and every district needs to be in lock step agreement with the Society in terms of scheduling a North American "You Can Sing Too" Night the week the advertising hits.


DISTRICTS: We understand the Society consists of all types of chapters: Social, Quartet-Oriented, Daytime, Competitive, Extremely Competitive and some quite frankly that have said they want to be left alone. District leadership will be asked to assist Society HQ in helping us categorize the various types of chapters operating in each community.

When a prospect calls the 800 number dedicated to this campaign, a few questions will be asked to determine the wants, needs or expectations of the caller. A brief description (menu) of the type of chapters available in North America will be presented. If we run into a scenario where only one chapter is operating in the caller's community, (without being negative) the prospect will be referred to that chapter with an understanding of the type of chapter available so the prospect knows what to expect in advance. If we do not take this approach, we run the risk of sending prospects out with the erroneous impression that all chapters are like XYZ and this is all the Barbershop Harmony Society has to offer them. This is a crucial component as we undertake the process of protecting and reinvigorating our brand in the minds of others.



Districts should begin taking steps NOW to coordinate chapter counselor visits to each chapter to rate their readiness for participation in this campaign and to help identify for each Chapter what is lacking to complete their readiness. A checklist will be provided shortly. Society Staff should be kept in the loop so that can support and resources can be provided where needed.

With the help of Chapter Counselors and other District and Chapter leaders, our District Presidents have been asked to put as a top priority the task of categorizing each of the chapters in their district and sending this categorization information to me by December 18, 2004.

There is no such thing as a good or bad category. There is room for everyone.

A sample template of this spreadsheet will be provided, but it will probably look something like this...

Nearest Metropolitan AreaDallas/Fort Worth
Postal/Zip Code of Chapter Meeting Location75219
Chapter/Chorus NameDallas Metro/Vocal Majority
Best Contact Person & Info (including email address)      
For Handling Leads Generated By This Campaign
Charles Ehmke, Jr.
11103 Williamsburg Ln
Frisco, TX 75035-7819
(972) 335-7353
Chapter Number N-025
Type of ChapterHighly Competitive

The chapter meeting location information and the meeting night are already available to us on

SOCIETY: The Society marketing department, assisted by outside expertise from a professional media relations consultant will craft an advertising campaign that will resonate with our primary Strategic Value Target; men aged 35-54 with some background in singing or performing. Our secondary target is college-aged men who sing.


Media contacts will be provided to each chapter.
The Society will also provide PDF proofs of these print ads for chapters to place in local papers
:30 and :60 pre-produced radio spots with an open front and open back for local customization and voice-over work. These would be made available as MP3 downloads where someone in each chapter could burn multiple CDs to be hand-delivered to the appropriate contact at each of the local radio stations in their community.
Membership Recruitment materials supporting this campaign will be available for download from the Society website.

The Society will have to work closely with each District to gather this chapter classification information and incorporate that data into a new field in our member database so the appropriate phone script can be used when handling incoming calls.

Reporting cycles and the reporting process will be identified and communicated at a later date. At minimum, one directly after the "You Can Sing Too" Campaign which tracks the total number of guests participating and the other four weeks later to track how many new members were added through this campaign.

Additional offers could be introduced at a later date to provide recognition to Members, Chapters or Districts for the highest percentage of prospects converted to membership.

CHAPTERS: Chapters will be requested to focus time towards creating an environment that fosters success. Scheduling a compelling series of evening activities, including components like a greeter, assigning a riser buddy and music portfolio to each guest, having Society and Chapter specific materials on hand for the guests, "YCST" name tags, capturing the guestís contact information, including phone, email, snail mail address and have a carefully crafted follow-up plan, (thank yous, etc.) in place. Give each guest an exit survey asking what they liked or didnít like about the evening, offer CD giveaways/door prize drawings as incentive to return completed exit surveys, show a brief but compelling film, have a sound system and guest quartets lined up to sing, get the guests singing either on the risers and/or in quartets, VLQs. Get them SINGING!

RECRUITMENT: Members must take personal responsibility for bringing guests to chapter meetings. Many chapters encourage their members to bring guests, but few actually offer members any training on recruiting techniques. For us to enjoy a year unlike any other, we cannot continue with a "business as usual" approach.

ORIENTATION: To make for a smooth transition from prospect to membership, an orientation plan should be developed and implemented.

RETENTION: To retain members, a retention plan will need to be implemented. This begins with Chapters taking responsibility for creating a compelling, entertaining and fun environment at their meetings so that members and guests are inspired and encouraged to return week after week. Periodic surveys of members and guests will help chapters identify where they are enjoying success as well as areas where they may be falling short.

The Society will be updating and re-introducing helpful documentation on the critical areas of recruitment, orientation and retention.

Your Society leadership feels quite certain that one of the key components to our success in retaining existing members and those attracted from this campaign is creating an ever-growing pool of competent MUSICAL and ADMINISTRATIVE leadership.

Suggested components for success at the chapter level to improve retention:

  1. Program your chapter meeting with FUN and variety in mind and less predictable*
  2. Develop a long-range planning process
  3. Develop and implement an ongoing orientation and retention plan
  4. Improve musical proficiency
  5. Encourage administrative leaders to take advantage of training opportunities
  6. Encourage musical leadership to take advantage of training opportunities
  7. Survey membership and guests regularly to make sure needs are being addressed
  8. Develop a leadership succession plan that includes ways to identify future leaders

* If the same routine is followed week after week, a member may soon get the impression that "I can afford to skip this week because I'm not going to miss anything." If there is variety, members may be less inclined to skip a meeting because they might miss something special. Along those lines, the Society is looking for ways to bring more variety to our conventions to address this very same concern.

Additional Society sponsored programs are being explored to reward chapters for "getting their house in order" and addressing the concerns noted above.

MEMBERS: Every member of the Society must take personal responsibility for bringing guests to their local chapter meeting. Each man who recruits a new Society member will be eligible to win $5000 in a random drawing at the end of the campaign. Each new member recruited increases your odds of winning the $5000.

WHAT WILL BE CRUCIAL TO OUR SUCCESS? Communication and consensus to execute this plan in complete unison with the Society staff and every other Chapter and District is CRITICAL.

PROBE can be a key player in this process. There is considerable strength in numbers.


I hope this email energizes you like the 300+ Society and District leaders that stood up and applauded when this plan was unveiled at the Dynamic Leaders Forum.

The precise dates of the 90-day "You Can Sing Too" campaign period and additional details will be shared with everyone very soon.

Iím here to support you any way I can.

Thank you for your leadership to this organization.

Todd Wilson
Director of Marketing
Barbershop Harmony Society


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