Marketing Freemasonry – after sales selling

Don’s Diary –

Marketing Freemasonry – after sales selling

When the Secretary re-enters the lodge room and reports to the WM: “Mr xxxx is in attendance, has signed the necessary declaration, paid the prescribed fee, and is in the hands of the Tyler”, that does not mean that the deal is completely done.

A competent marketer will have identified the profile of the lodge, including its members, and assessed the profile of the new candidate and the likelihood of their being a good fit. Even if the lodge and the candidate are a good fit he may then encounter the broader masonic organisation and environment including the existence of, and omnipresence of Grand Lodge, all of which could cause alienate and therefore the organisation needs to be properly designed and managed. Entering a society with secrets has potential problems and he will anticipate unknowns but his expectations may not be realised.

His entry into the lodge room on the first occasion may be likened to subscribing to a wine or book club and receiving the first dozen or the first book of a series and the buyer having to decide, after going through a learning and appreciation phase, whether or not it is what he wants or needs. So as the “after-sales selling” and “after-sales servicing” goes on in retailing, so it should in Freemasonry after Initiation; or the “subscription” is likely to be cancelled.

In Freemasonry the “after-sales selling” has to demonstrate that it does indeed constitute a happy, harmonious society of good men who are useful to society. That our principles are sound and that our norms, although perhaps a bit different, are justified. Hopefully he will have role models. He has to be made very aware that he is wanted, welcomed, valued as a member, and that his contribution and opinion is necessary to the organisation. His awareness of the opportunities for a role and for his development need to be awakened and then over time his needs need to be satisfied: everyone will have different aspirations, and these needs will vary over time and as circumstances change. Individual leadership is needed. He needs to have confirmed that his joining decision was sound: this is a standard marketing action.

The buyer will be most unlikely to recommend the “product” to a friend until he is completely satisfied and he is sure that he himself is staying a “customer” just in case he thinks that he may decide to leave. You can tell when you have been successful when he becomes a contributor and he starts to introduce his mates as candidates, and when he regularly brings his wife or partner to Masonic functions. It will be when he extends his contacts with his Brethren to times outside lodge events.

Problems with retention cannot fairly be seen as the sole responsibility of Craft Lodges as they are not totally in control: they have the responsibility but not all the appropriate authority – this is an organisational weakness in terms of command and control. However Craft Lodges do have a major role in the successful induction of candidates. As with any “product”, particularly ones that have been bought largely sight unseen, there will be some buyer dissatisfaction. Before we judge ourselves too harshly we should know from statistical evidence, the likelihood, by member categorisation and lodge type, of him becoming a long-term Freemason. We should be told from research what causes Freemasons to depart and if possible eliminate those causes. That is what good marketers would do: improve the product and the service as necessary, and in our case especially, removing any grounds for alienation in the whole organisation.

Yours fraternally,

Don Paterson