Friday, January 1, 2010

Santa-The Ultimate Membership Marketer & CEO

I been thinking about this dude, Santa, who heads up International Santa Clause Association (ISCA). Have you heard of it? I bet you have. He has been at it for eons. I mean I thought Jim Collins was the guru on Built to Last. Forget it man. Move over Jim. We need to talk to Santa for gosh, he has been at this for as far back as I can see. Hmm, wondering what's his secret. Let's explore, shall we, and see what we can learn from him, lessons that may help us not just get survive but thrive into the 21st Century?

First, we all know that membership begins with awareness. Whether someone is a member of ISCA or not, can any of us think of any one who doesn't know about ISCA? I can't. I mean this guy stays up the with latest technological trends, he embraces them to continually spread the word, from using social media, to viral marketing, to word-of-mouth, to web, to print, to ads, to whatever--you name it, he uses it.

He doesn't just start with student members, for he knows that may be too late. He begins to cultivate his membership pretty much before his prospective members are even born. I myself have had this tune jingling in my brain since I was in the womb. He then slowly and slowly engages his audience and they eventually sign on, and spend the cash too. It starts with listening to the tunes, then the pic with him at the mall, then come the toys, the movies, the cloths, the CDs and so on. One by one he turns such engagements to active membership and drive revenue. Plus, he doesn't just do this once. It's year after year after year. Talk about a renewal program. And when someone looses faith and drops their membership, he gently yet firmly continues to stay in touch, and eventually faith returns and they renew their membership once again. A reinstatement guru too. Wow man!

While his central purpose is to spread joy and cheer, he is also a smart business man. He knows that membership numbers alone won't sustain him. Therefore, in addition to increasing his membership numbers, he actively drives revenue too, for he knows that without margin, there is no mission. He clearly applys his business acumen to run ISCA. He understands and follows the saying "Non-Profit is a Tax Status, not a Business Model". Smart dude.

When it comes to Life Time Value (LTV), this guy is way ahead of the game. He doesn't want just you, he also wants your kids, your grand kids, their kids, and so on. Once you're in his program, he doesn't let go. He thinks in-terms of generations.

He is clear that membership is not just his job. and he has successfully engaged his entire team. While he is out and about spreading his message, so are his wife, his shop crew, even his delivery boys. Talk about getting everyone on staff to see that membership is everybodys job. One smart due indeed.

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