A new point of view
Back in 1908, President Theodore Roosevelt was quoted as saying , “Every man owes part of his time and money to the business or industry in which is engaged. No man has a moral right to withhold his support from an organization that is striving to improve conditions within his sphere.”
As I’ve discovered, in searching for the exact wording of that quote, associations from every corner of every industry have become fond of using this quote as a promotional tool. Or maybe “as leverage” is a better way to put it.
It’s as though they believe that if they print this quote, members will line up to support their association out of some sort of moral duty. And so they saturate their marketing materials with it. On brochures. On websites. On letters to members and prospective members. Everywhere you look, they’re leveraging the echo of those 100-year-old words.
Let me tell you something: 1908 was a long time ago. This type of thinking was common back then, and it was fueled by a generation or two that set the tone for industry expansion in the United States. It’s a belief that held true to form during the Baby Boomer generation. But it’s now becoming a part of history.
Gen Xers and the Millenials, the Gen Y generation, approach their industry participation differently. They want to know “what’s in it for me?” They’re skeptical of sales pitches. They’re skeptical of the old ways of doing business. And their involvement in associations is waning.
Bottom line is that while we here at the MRAA believe in the mantra that we should support our industry, this association will never operate out of an expectation for support. We will operate in a manner that every business should operate in: We will earn your business.
If you were at this past week’s MDCE, you will have heard the keynote presentation that was given about the attitudes of the different generations in the market place. None of them are the wrong attitudes; they’re just different attitudes. And we will cater to each of them.
You also heard, if you were at MDCE, that your Marine Retailers Association is expanding its list of benefits and opportunities in an effort to demonstrate greater value out of your membership. You’ll see much more of that in the coming days, weeks and months.