Thanks Scott. I am afraid I am confused with the Membership Market Survey methodology outlined in the proposal.
It mentions three focus groups; "1) Current members of the APS, 2) Former members, and 3) never members of APS" to be gathered at the Portland APS Show. How are these people selected? In particular, who makes up the group ‘never members of APS'? Show attendees who are already stamp collectors? Family members of existing stamp collectors? Or just a few random people taken off the street?
The once the focus groups results are compiled, a survey is generated and then ‘sent either by US Mail or electronically to every nth member of the APS'. While getting feedback from existing members is always a good thing, what about the hundreds of thousands (millions?) of collectors who are not currently members of APS?
It is my opinion that our hobby is actually quite healthy, it is only memberships in clubs and organizations that have been declining. This is obviously due to declining perceived value in memberships; occurring contemporaneously with the rise of the internet. The traditional means of getting philatelic information was to join clubs, organizations and subscribe to printed media. People could suddenly get philatelic information in real-time and mostly for free online.
It is my opinion that there exists a huge population of online hobbyists which remains basically untapped. These online folks are active in the hobby and are spending money; but frankly it feels like they have been largely ignored by the hobby. Are there are marketing surveys planned for trying to better understand what might encourage them to join APS? Regards, Don APS #094826
The initial round is for a focus group to help identify the questions we should ask. By soliciting collector feedback, we hope to be able to develop a bank of questions to better understand how people enjoy our services or what areas we are missing. Each of us could individually believe certain things to be the case, I have heard a variety of ideas, the groups will help us focus on the topics of greatest return.
Those same three general groups would be approached with the questions. So while we would survey current members, we would also work to get a sampling of former and never members.
You and I share the same concern about active online participants in the hobby and this survey is an effort to identify ways they would get value out of belonging to the APS. Our last survey was in 2007 and the use of online resources, social media, and other digital offerings has grown exponentially since then. We would like to identify some of the gaps in services or ways to broaden our services to an audience that is collecting, but not necessarily joining.