I think we can agree it all comes down to money. Welders don't want to spend money on what they are currently being offered, and the AWS does not want to change the price on what it is currently offering for fear of losing money. I think we can also agree that welders are not the ones with the money.
Any changes that are suggested need to at least maintain the current level of revenue that the AWS is generating with its current level of membership, and its current benefits structure.
Let’s look at the numbers we have to beat.
In the 2016 Financial Report, the AWS reported an operating revenue of $40.3 million. And I quote “Our financial position continues to be the healthiest it has been in the 97-year History of the AWS” (WJ June-17, Page 43)
(To read the 2016 Financial Report, please see the June 2017 issue of the Welding Journal
. The Financial Report starts on page 42. This link will get you close… https://www.aws.org/publications/page/past-welding-journal-issues-online
So $40.3 million is what we have to beat. How do we do it?
Well, let’s look at what part of the market we are not currently tapping and then ask ourselves what it is that they want.
Out of the 404,800 welders in the United States, 2112 of them are members of the AWS.
That leaves an untapped market of 402,688 in just the United States. If all of those 402,688 people became members of the AWS at a Membership rate of $88 per year, AWS operating revenue would increase by $35.4 million, bringing the new operating revenue up to $75.7 million.
The question becomes… How do I convince 402,688 welders to join the AWS?
The first thing any good salesman does is identify what his target market wants and the price they are willing to pay.
Assuming Maslow knew what he was talking about when he created his hierarchy of human needs, then we can safely say that welders want the same thing everyone else wants. They want to feel like they belong, they want to be recognized for their value, and they want to be able to achieve their full potential.
Let’s look at what the AWS already offers compared to what welders want.What does the AWS already offer that can fulfill every welder's need to belong to something bigger then themselves?
--Membership!… (That was an easy one!) What does the AWS already offer that can fulfill every welder's need to be recognized for their value?
--Recognition of welding certification in a National Registry. (Nothing quite like being able to pull your own name up online as a certified professional in a given field, even if the certification doesn't mean anything useful in the industry.)
--Recognition of welding certification with a wallet card
--The AWS gives out paper awards to section members like awards grow on trees, and all the section members have to do to earn them is continue paying their dues. (Yes, I know I am just stirring the pot here.) What does the AWS already offer that can fulfill every welder's need to achieve their full potential?
--The unlimited opportunity to grow and develop themselves in their chosen field through access to Educational material and Online Training.
So we know what welders want, and we know what the AWS offers--how do we get the two of them together? At this point, I think it all comes down to price.Every good salesman knows that once they know what to sell, the only thing left to do is create a product benefits page that sells itself.
Here is what that could look like for the AWS…Individual Membership Benefits
1. MASSIVE DISCOUNTS
on the PDF versions of ALL AWS Publications. Every AWS Publication will be made available to members in PDF format for only $9.99 each. (Now that is what a benefit looks like!)
access to PDF versions of ALL Education and Certification Specifications and Standards
listing of the welder's name in the National Registry of AWS Certified Welders upon completion of applicable qualification testing.
access to ALL AWS Online Educational Courses.
admission to North America’s largest welding, metal forming, fabricating and finishing exposition… FABTECH
subscription to the Welding Journal
, the most widely-read industry publication.
7. Networking opportunities at AWS Section meetings, online forums, and CommunitiesStudent Membership Benefits
1. All the benefits of Individual Membership with the addition of
Student membership. (Absolutely no annual fee.)
PDF downloads of the top 10 codes and standards in the AWS library.
So what effect would the changes suggested above have on the operating revenue of the AWS?Worst case scenario:
Assuming no new members joined as a result of the new benefits, the AWS would lose $8.3 million generated from book sales, $6 million generated from Welder Certification, (I don’t think the AWS generates anywhere close to $6 million from Welder Certifications, but I am trying to be generous),
and $1.3 million generated from the sale of online courses.
This is a total loss in operating revenue of $15.6 million. Bringing the AWS down to a new operating revenue of only $24.7 million. Ouch! (For comparison, the total operating revenues for 2010 were approximately $26.4 million.)
But wait a minute... Who are we kidding here? If the AWS offered all the benefits listed above, WELDERS WOULD BE STUPID NOT TO JOIN!
And I think that is putting it lightly.
Let’s assume that only half (201,344) of the 402,688 welders in the United States recognized the value of the new benefits. That still brings in an additional $17.7 million in operating revenue for a net gain of 2.1 million. Let’s also say that each of those 201,344 welders also bought one code or standard for $9.99, we are talking an additional $2 million in operating revenue. (If you don’t think this is possible, look at Amazon. People seem to go on buying frenzies when something they want is presented at a perfect price.)Best case scenario:
Everyone joins because they realize how awesome the benefits of membership are.
Annual Membership fees jump $35.4 million.
Each new member buys a couple of books, pushing book sales to $8 million.
Operating revenues more than double to $83.7 million.
The world of welding is very very happy!
How hard would it be to make these kind of changes?
No expensive changing of legacy architecture is required here. The AWS could implement all of the changes outlined above by simply changing their price structure. The time required would be two days tops assuming someone has to go in and enter a new price by hand for each product the AWS sells (if you are still doing it that way... ).
None of this needs to happen if welders can be convinced to join the AWS in its current state. I just don't know how to convince them.
How do I sell the AWS to welders?