I’ve read this thread with interest over the past couple of days and want to thank @Taffy-on-Tour for starting it. What a great debate. There have been some very valid and interesting thoughts and suggestions here on how to attract a younger audience to TWS. I wholeheartedly agree with some of the suggestions and not so much with others…don’t worry, I’ll keep them to myself .
What is evident and consistent through this thread is the eagerness and interest in coming up with a solution to “fix” the problem. Whilst I don’t necessary think an ageing membership is an imminent issue, attracting a younger audience can only be a good thing for the society, especially if that membership is used on a regular basis.
The solution to any type of sales regardless of age demographic is to identify a person’s buying motives, then sell direct to that motive. Within an age bracket of say 30-40year olds there will be different motivations to make people purchase a membership so all of these motivations need to be catered for. Generally speaking, you are looking at about 5 different buying motives for any situation.
This is an analogy but its also my former life. I was a key account Equine specialist for a pharma company. I sold a number of drugs licensed for horses, predominantly sport horses. (This may help to explain what I mean by selling to “buying motives”).
Client no.1 (Racehorse Vet), He wants to keep his trainers happy,(Who in turn need to keep the owners happy)!
I have a drug which has a 24 hr withdrawal. This means the trainer can race the horse within 24 hours of ingesting the drug and it not show up on a drug test. Now the vet and I both know that actually the trainer can most probably dose the horse 12hrs before the race and it still not show up obviously depending on the horses metabolism, but that’s the trainers decision to make. They also know the horse will not be showing any signs of lameness in the parade ring prior to racing . His motivation is keeping his client happy at all costs and keeping that horse in the competition. That’s his motivation and that’s what you sell to. The withdrawal period of the drug.
Client No.2 (Professor of Veterinary surgery at a large vet hospital).
Wants to ensure he/she are using the best possible product regardless of cost for benefit to their client. (Likelihood an insurance case, cost not an issue).
They want a detailed presentation on the drug , how it works, side effects and how through clinical data it compares with “others” on the market. I’m selling on the credibility and clinical data and efficacy of the drug because that’s the motivation of this client.
Client no. 3 (Vet / Partner) He likes the sound of the product and agrees it makes sense to use however, “it is an expensive drug to push to my clients”. He/she is an equine practice owner, they need to make money. A 50% mark up on a much cheaper product that’s not as good is not going to make you the profit a 50% mark up will make you on a better more efficient drug . Their buying motive is met if finance is a big motivator and that’s what I sell to.
These are examples of selling to buying motives. Whilst these particular situations are very different to TWS the same principle applies.
Like it or not, exclusivity WILL appeal to the motivations of some members and the chance to get their hands on something different and unique their peers cannot because they are not members.
At the same time the excitement of discovering new and various wine regions a potential member has never heard about will motivate others to join.
The chance to seek advice from fellow members on wine within an enclosed community will be the motivating factor for others to join.
So, irrespective of age, identifying a buying motive and selling directly to that need is really how you increase sales of anything. Market research can help to do that especially in the case of TWS. But I am in agreement with @Ludlow_Steve, the marketing, targeting and effective selling should not be restricted to the south, as then, how are you ever going to grow your market.