by Kris Butterfield, MCMP, Association President PCMA, Membership Director, Bethesda Country Club, Bethesda, MD
Part I in Series
Merriam Webster’s Dictionary definition of “Secretary” includes, the responsibilities of handling correspondence, managing detail work, and keeping records of ownership. A “Director” is defined as, the head of an organized group, a person entrusted with the overall direction of an organization, and even, a person who supervises the production of a show. Based on the differences in definitions and responsibilities, one would conclude that the Membership Professional position has evolved. If Membership is the lifeline to a club – then what is the value of the Membership Director to the club?
The position of the Membership Professional demands much more than defined by a secretary or director. The value of the responsibility that the Membership Professional governs is not always recognized. The Membership Professional provides the club with real-time insight into the demographic of buyers, they drive data and assist with strategic planning. They are the front line for inquiries, tours, and they maintain the culture of the club through prospective screening and new member onboarding. In the world of immediate gratification and constant communication, the Membership Professional prides themselves in responsiveness, a characteristic that is often overlooked. They rapidly become the “face” of the club and take pleasure in creating an ‘instant community’ for new members. They construct a strong foundation for the new members and the club staff builds upon it. The responsibilities of the Membership Professional are infinite and vary from club to club.
It is time for Membership Professionals to receive the respect they have earned. The volume of strategy, focus and fortitude involved within every task that crosses their desk is a direct correlation to the bottom line of the club. As the market continues to change so must the performance of the Membership Professional. Clubs that invest in their Membership Professional are better able to reach their club goals and the Membership Professional has an increased opportunity to achieve personal accomplishments supported by their participation with a professional national organization.
Professional Club Marketing Association (PCMA) provides ongoing educational programs and improves local professional relationships. PCMA Members have the opportunity to join their regional chapter to discuss ideas, issues, and local trends. The PCMA Annual Conference brings colleagues from across the country to discuss the position on a national level. The Association website offers an online discussion forum, allowing real-time questions, examples, and concerns that are shared among all PCMA Professionals.
PCMA offers an extensive educational certification program. The Certified Membership/Marketing Professional (CMP) learns how to manage pressure, sales strategies, demanding questions, and the ability to accomplish significant tasks. The Master Certified Membership/Marketing Professional (MCMP) can recognize growth opportunities for the club; create, write, and implement a business model; make recommendations to the Board of Directors; and increase the bottom line.
As a member of PCMA, it has been inspiring to see the level of leadership demonstrated by my PCMA peers and witness the dynamic tasks they navigate. The success stories of membership development and engagement projects that are making an impact on clubs is expanding. As PCMA celebrates its 25th anniversary, it is thrilling to observe the evolution and the significance of private club Membership, Marketing and Communication professionals.
Part II: Value of the Membership Director Position from a General Manager’s Perspective