For more than 20 years, the MCC has been periodically using member research to assist with decisions big and small about the operation of our club.
In addition to regular surveys about policy matters, the last two or three years have seen a regular capture of data pertaining to the satisfaction of members using the Reserve on match days.
The club has now taken that approach further with the recent introduction of focus groups to the suite of information held about the views of members.
Seven focus groups comprising different subsets of members were conducted independently by Sweeney Research at their South Melbourne offices in late-September, on either side of preliminary final weekend.
“After reviewing the trends emerging from the club’s annual survey of members in recent years, it was felt necessary to develop a broader understanding of the current membership offer,” said Stephen Philp, MCC customer service manager.
“Specifically, we want to delve deeper into members’ views on the current appeal of membership and whether they feel there are opportunities to expand the delivery of benefits to members.”
As can perhaps be expected, views on some issues were at either ends of the spectrum. This in itself is one of the club’s biggest challenges: Finding the right balance that satisfies as many members as possible while maintaining an equity and fairness that underpins the club’s values.
Some of the more prevalent views arising from the focus groups were:
• There was an underlying perception that the MCC was not a club but rather a membership delivering benefits.
• Furthermore, there was a tendency to want to share the membership with friends rather than spend time with other members.
• Membership is seen to be AFL-centric. This was particularly the view among younger and newer members.
• When asked for their first thoughts of MCC membership, words such as “prestige”, “privileged”, “civilised”, “history” and “comfortable” were the most common.
• There is a feeling that members now need to be more organised and plan further in advance when attending events at the MCG. “A decision to attend is not as spontaneous as it once was,” said one focus group participant.
• While there was a desire among many to “get your money’s worth” and attend AFL and cricket matches as often as possible, there are several factors that may affect attendance in the Reserve. Highest on this list are difficulty obtaining visitor tickets at high-demand games, live television coverage, scheduling days and times of events and family/work commitments.
• There was some support for flexible payment options for membership subscriptions, in particular from those in a family containing several members.
This is plenty of food for thought as we take the club forward. We will report back in future editions with a deeper look at some of the above issues.