For years, marketing professionals have relied upon a process called targeting to divide consumers with similar characteristics and needs into groups—target market segments—in order to develop different messages and programs that would appeal to each. Scouting membership committees can apply the process of targeting as well, to identify groups with similar interests or characteristics within the school and community in order to determine the benefits of membership that would be most relevant to each segment. Scouters may discover that this process can be an effective technique for recruiting and retaining members.
Consider, for instance, that your membership is already segmented into different categories by their type of affiliation with Scouts Canada. Some are parents, some teachers, some students; some are seasoned leaders, while others are just beginning; still others are business or community members. You may find it valuable to use other characteristics, such as gender, demographics, or family structure to create subcategories within any major category.
Even though the members of all of these categories share similar concerns about the education and welfare of youth, they have different expectations of Scouting as well as reasons and needs for joining the organization. They will, most likely, derive different benefits from their involvement. By defining what those expectations and needs are, you can determine the membership benefits that will be most valuable to each category. For example, experienced members who have been in Scouts Canada for a number of years may find benefits and personal satisfaction in taking a leadership role in their local, group, or district council.
Business or community members may see a greater value in developing strong working relationships and networking with other members who share their concerns and issues. Youth may find the scouting programming or the advice and guidance of more experienced members the greatest benefit of membership.
While it is challenging to market Scouting like a product, it is still possible to adapt some general marketing concepts for your membership recruitment programs.