The Club Sandwich
We are all in the Marketing business whether we like it or not.
If you don’t believe me, then look at the definition of marketing
as addressed by various groups, all vying for the right to be the
Is there really one meaning, one authority, one official version, I
believe that if you understand the meaning behind the words, how
you interpret it should be up to your objectives and abilities.
AMA’s definition of Marketing circa 1985
"Marketing is the process of planning and executing conception,
pricing, promotion and distribution of goods, ideas and services to
create exchanges that satisfy individual and organizational goals."
The new definition of marketing, unveiled at the AMA's
Summer Educator's Conference in August 2004 is:
"Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes
for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and
for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the
organization and its stakeholders."
-Contemporary Marketing Wired (1998) by Boone and Kurtz.
Marketing is the process of planning and executing the
conception, pricing, promotion, and distribution of ideas, goods,
services, organizations, and events to create and maintain
relationships that will satisfy individual and organizational
Defining what is right is not easy, and I can go on and on giving
you various definitions. However the real purpose of
understanding the process of marketing is giving your members
what they want and in some cases what they need without them
having to ask or fill out a suggestion form. The purpose of
changes, are the prolonged effort of giving your current and
future members the real value of membership and their
participation in today’s experiences of Club membership.
That brings me to the “Club Sandwich”.
The traditional “Club” was established supposedly in 1894, or so
the story goes, at the Famous Saratoga Club-House. This was an
exclusive gentlemen’s only gambling house in upstate Saratoga
Springs New York, New York, where coincidently, the potato chip
It was originally called Morrissey’s Club House. In 1894, Mr.
Richard Canfield (1865-1914), debonair patron of the arts,
purchased the Sarasota Club to make it a casino, and there the
club sandwich was born in their kitchen.
Today as tradition has it, the Club Sandwich is still intact,
although hundreds of variations have been developed over the
years, and people still refer back to the comfort of their past to
refer to the sandwich as a “Club”.
Products change, customers change, economics change, life
changes, and the question comes back to are we providing the
real value to our members and managing the relationships in
ways that benefit the club and the membership.
As in the Club, the name stayed the same, but the contents
have been changing to meet the needs and tastes of today’s
customers. Some like turkey, some chicken, some ham, some
don’t want the bacon, etc. etc.
In your club today, you have members who play golf, some do
not, some like to play cards, some do not, you have some who
are single and some who are married, some who have small
kids and some who have none, you have business people and
academia, tall and short, foreign and domestic, should I go
Who are your members today and who will they be tomorrow,
what are you today and what will you be tomorrow, what does
your Brand represent today and tomorrow, how do you grow
your membership, not just in numbers, but in involvement in
The “Club” sandwich is still called “The Club”, even though
many changes have taken place in over one hundred years.
Have you made the right changes to keep your “Club” on
people’s ordering menu!