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1 minute ago, Col. Flagg said:

...You should listen to your membership/customers, not people you think will be your members/customers. No successful business in the world does that...

 

Every successful business in the world does that. That's advertising and marketing, and it is most often aimed at new business. 

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15 minutes ago, EmberMike said:

But current membership is not what the BSA is fully focused on, not should they be.

I know it hurts a lot of feeling around here that we're not the sole priority of the organization. But if this organization is to survive (and hopefully grow some day), the BSA needs to be looking outside of the organization and figuring out how to appeal to more prospective memebrs. Just like in any company, a big part of your growth strategy involves looking outward. The BSA can't make decisions for the future growth of the organization on the opinions of existing members alone. 

That's not to say existing members should be ignored. But using simple majority voting by current members to decide policy should not be the way things are decided. Not if we expect to ever turn the corner on membership growth in the BSA. 

It is 10 times more expensive to cultivate NEW customers than to retain an old one. Does that mean you don't market to new customers? No, of course not. But a successful business NEVER punches their old, reliable customer base in the face, introduces a new product they know their old customers won't like, increase the price and continue doing all the things that tick off their current customers. NO ONE DOES THAT and is successful. 

 

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7 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

On that theory, will the prospective new members replace the current members?  This was tried in 1972 and membership plumeted. 

Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it.  Constantly BSA seems to not play to it's strengths, not be true to the mission, and play for the short term gains...that never seem to come.

Our troop is a big troop, +/- 100 scouts.  About 8 - 10 years ago we were shying away from really emphasizing the size, trying to downplay that part.  Some of us were not happy with that and we have now really emphasized this is who we are.  Large troop, if you join us we have functioning patrols, we are large and diverse, we have older scouts (HS) in charge, we do large outings.  That is who what we are.  Basically in 5 years we have doubled the average number of scouts attending outings.  Be true to yourself.

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2 minutes ago, EmberMike said:

Every successful business in the world does that. That's advertising and marketing, and it is most often aimed at new business. 

Meh...yes, that's obvious. HOWEVER, there is no successful business that does what I noted above and remains successful.

Oh, and the Fortune 500 don't spend as much on new clients as they spend on retaining current clients. Anyone who has been in the business world knows that "marketing and advertising" is just a small percentage of the money spent on clients. Even more money is spent on non-marketing/advertising activities designed to retain CURRENT clients.

Edited by Col. Flagg
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19 minutes ago, EmberMike said:

But current membership is not what the BSA is fully focused on, not should they be.

I know it hurts a lot of feeling around here that we're not the sole priority of the organization. But if this organization is to survive (and hopefully grow some day), the BSA needs to be looking outside of the organization and figuring out how to appeal to more prospective memebrs. Just like in any company, a big part of your growth strategy involves looking outward. The BSA can't make decisions for the future growth of the organization on the opinions of existing members alone. 

That's not to say existing members should be ignored. But using simple majority voting by current members to decide policy should not be the way things are decided. Not if we expect to ever turn the corner on membership growth in the BSA. 

Currently BSA only reaches about 10% of available scout aged youth.  The CSE has pretty much stated he and key leadership is out of ideas on how to remedy that issue.  Honestly at that point he should have resigned and had some new management come in with a vision.  Rather than seriously examine that, determine what growing troops are doing to be successful, do lessons learned on what troops do to grow, they have decided to plunge ahead and basically fundamentally change what BSA is going forward.  

Putting aside the discussion on whether BSA should go coed (yes that's what's coming), to ignore how this fundamentally changes the organization and how it will deliver program is the definition of denial.

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20 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

Meh...yes, that's obvious. HOWEVER, there is no successful business that does what I noted above and remains successful.

Sure they do. If 40% of your current customers/members want something, 60% don't want it but many will remain customers anyway, at least for a while, and you've done ther research to know that you could increase new customer growth by going with what the 40% wants, it's not such a crazy idea. Especially when overall customer/member numbers are already headed downhill year after year. 

There are lots of successful companies that do this. Companies always want to go where the market will be, not where it was. Apple is one of those companies. They've pretty much abandoned their pro computer market in favor of phones. They angered their old base (myself included) and bet on future growth of a new business segment, and it's paid off very well for them. Starbucks used to sell coffee machines. They had a good business, but moved to coffeehouses because there was an under-served market for euro-style coffeehouses in the US. Probably upset a lot of people that liked their coffee makers, but I doubt they regret that move. 

It's actually a pretty common story in business. Look at Kodak, Suzuki, Nintendo, lots of companies radically changed direction to strive for renewed growth, even if it meant abandoning previous products, services, and customers. Sometimes the best move a company makes is one that seems controversial at the time or upsets existing customers. It's often risky. But that doesn't stop people from doing it if there is potential for it to pay off. 

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3 minutes ago, EmberMike said:

Sure they do. If 40% of your current customers/members want something, 60% don't want it but many will remain customers anyway, at least for a while, and you've done ther research to know that you could increase new customer growth by going with what the 40% wants, it's not such a crazy idea. Especially when overall customer/member numbers are already headed downhill year after year. 

There are lots of successful companies that do this. Companies always want to go where the market will be, not where it was. Apple is one of those companies. They've pretty much abandoned their pro computer market in favor of phones. They angered their old base (myself included) and bet on future growth of a new business segment, and it's paid off very well for them. Starbucks used to sell coffee machines. They had a good business, but moved to coffeehouses because there was an under-served market for euro-style coffeehouses in the US. Probably upset a lot of people that liked their coffee makers, but I doubt they regret that move. 

It's actually a pretty common story in business. Look at Kodak, Suzuki, Nintendo, lots of companies radically changed direction to strive for renewed growth, even if it meant abandoning previous products, services, and customers. Sometimes the best move a company makes is one that seems controversial at the time or upsets existing customers. It's often risky. But that doesn't stop people from doing it if there is potential for it to pay off. 

Now you are mixing things here to make your point. You are mixing R&D with new product development with marketing and advertising. These do have a relationship, but you haven't made your case for how that relates to BSA and the changes they are making. They haven't done any R&D or new product development. They have made changes based on MINIMAL research, no development and have no idea what the new product is they want to sell. What's worse, they spun up their marketing arm to sell something they haven't research OR developed!!!

Again, show me a company that does that AND has been successful.

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3 minutes ago, Col. Flagg said:

...you haven't made your case for how that relates to BSA and the changes they are making. They haven't done any R&D or new product development. They have made changes based on MINIMAL research, no development and have no idea what the new product is they want to sell. What's worse, they spun up their marketing arm to sell something they haven't research OR developed!!!

What's your evidence that they didn't do enough? Do you have some inside line to what National has been doing in regard to the new policy, or for how long? Surbaugh has said this was in the works for years. Do you really think "minimal" research went on during that time? 

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15 minutes ago, EmberMike said:

. Look at Kodak, Suzuki, Nintendo, lots of companies radically changed direction to strive for renewed growth, 

Interesting choices of companies that changed and brought new customers and growth

  • Kodak peaked in 1996, bankruptcy in 2012 and the former Blue Chip stock was delisted from the NYSE
  • For Suzuki In November 2012, Suzuki announced that its US division would file for bankruptcy and would stop selling automobiles in the United States
  • Nintendo went from 18 Billion in sales in 2008 to 4 billion in sales in 2017
Edited by Jameson76

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3 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Interesting choices of companies that changed and brought new customers and growth

  • Kodak peaked in 1996, bankruptcy in 2012 and the former Blue Chip stock was delisted from the NYSE
  • For Suzuki In November 2012, Suzuki announced that its US division would file for bankruptcy and would stop selling automobiles in the United States
  • Nintendo went from 18 Billion in sales in 2008 to 4 billion in sales in 2017

I wasn't talking about recent business. I was talking about radical shifts in what they did that lead to success. Nintendo before they made video games, Suzuki before they made automotive products (they used to make silk looms). 

Kodak should have been entirely out of business by now but they shifted to go digital and are surviving. That alone is impressive for a company that by all accounts shouldn't have been able to survive the digital transition. 

Edited by EmberMike

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Part of the discussion that does not resonate with me is the constant view that Scouts and Scouters as 'customers'; I think that analogy only gets one so far. (I see this flawed approach in many flailing churches as well) Scouting is also, especially among it's most ardent supporters a set of beliefs, ideals, and a lifestyle.  Sure by a lot of PR and buzz maybe you can get a lot of new folks customers through the door but can you keep them? 

I think National keeps drawing so much from the business world that is the only way they sees things and then inadvertently shoots themselves in the foot. GSUSA seems to draw on more non-profit and academic areas for their leadership; they may have THEIR flaws but it is a more impressive group IMHO. 

'

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5 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

Part of the discussion that does not resonate with me is the constant view that Scouts and Scouters as 'customers'; I think that analogy only gets one so far. (I see this flawed approach in many flailing churches as well) Scouting is also, especially among it's most ardent supporters a set of beliefs, ideals, and a lifestyle.  Sure by a lot of PR and buzz maybe you can get a lot of new folks customers through the door but can you keep them? 

I think National keeps drawing so much from the business world that is the only way they sees things and then inadvertently shoots themselves in the foot. GSUSA seems to draw on more non-profit and academic areas for their leadership; they may have THEIR flaws but it is a more impressive group IMHO. 

'

You are correct, they are not traditional customers.  To your point it is lifestyle and beliefs.  If we only look at them as customers, then they think of themselves as not part of a movement (Church or scouts) and can easily wander on.  Like do I join this sports league or the other one it town.

We cannot be blind however, a troop does serve a constituency.  Troop leaders need to look at involvement and participation year over year and use that information determine what works and what does not.  Small corrections can pay big dividends.  Stay within the framework of the BSA goals and values, but if you are doing an activity and it is not getting results, change the equation to get the needed results.

BSA National has seen lower numbers and took the path of whole new deal, let's just plunge ahead to coed scouting.

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On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 5:04 PM, Col. Flagg said:

Really? You might want to check out her petition on Change.org. This goes back over two years.

Yes, I am familiar with her petition. Doesn't change the fact that she did scouts for years without any official recognition or hope of such.

 

On ‎1‎/‎27‎/‎2018 at 5:04 PM, Col. Flagg said:

Eagle is one of the reasons.

Agreed, and exactly. "one" of the reasons. Not the "only" reason.

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I think Sydney Ireland's petition is out of date, she will be getting what she wants.  She should start a new petition asking that she be given official recognition of all her hard work and be awarded the rank of Eagle.  She is already the most famous scout in the world.  

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2 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

On that theory, will the prospective new members replace the current members?  This was tried in 1972 and membership plumeted. 

There were other factors involved too.

Birth rates declined dramatically though the 1960s and that had an impact.

Towards the tail end and in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the BSA was losing favor among many people who felt their uniforms were too similar to the military.  In the late 1960's. my Pack had a marching drill team - in the early 1970's, our town asked the Scouts (Boy, Girl, Cubs, Brownies - what have you) not to do marching drills or even walk in ranks - they wanted folks to just walk in masses of people - to look less military.  Other units in our Council reported the same thing.

The 1970's was also about the time that youth sports started exploding to where it is today.

Lets not blame it just on the BSA changing its program in 1972.

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