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Unread 11-18-2008, 09:33 PM   #1
MilitantSquatter
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Default KCBS - Target Membership

I'd like to hear from any current, prospective or former BOD members as to their thoughts on KCBS strategy to recruit and/or retain members as it relates to the KCBS mission statement and intended role

1) Aside from KCBS' role in sanctioning the growing competition BBQ scene, do you think KCBS can/should be doing more to attract potential members not interesting in competing or judging relative to the goals and mission statement above ? Could KCBS membership expand quicker this way ?

2) Do you believe a KCBS membership provides enough value/benefits for a prospective or current member who does not compete or judge ? If so, which benefit do you believe is most attractive to a prospective member ? If not, how do you believe this can be improved ?

3) Should KCBS allocate additional time/resources or consider a new committee to focus on expanding KCBS presence and interest outside of the competition arena so it does not become uni-dimensional ?


Thank you for your response in advance.
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Unread 11-18-2008, 10:41 PM   #2
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Good stuff Vinny
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Unread 11-18-2008, 11:49 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
I'd like to hear from any current, prospective or former BOD members as to their thoughts on KCBS strategy to recruit and/or retain members as it relates to the KCBS mission statement and intended role .
Very interesting questions!

Quote:
1) Aside from KCBS' role in sanctioning the growing competition BBQ scene, do you think KCBS can/should be doing more to attract potential members not interesting in competing or judging relative to the goals and mission statement above ? Could KCBS membership expand quicker this way ?
It's the "can/should" part of that question that is the trickiest. Sure the mission statement is not competition-centric, but practically every other part fo the organization is. The Bullsheet for example, is of very little use to anyone who isn't involved with the competition circuit.

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2) Do you believe a KCBS membership provides enough value/benefits for a prospective or current member who does not compete or judge ? If so, which benefit do you believe is most attractive to a prospective member ? If not, how do you believe this can be improved ?
If you don't at least aspire to becoming a judge or competition cook one day, then no, KCBS doesn't really offer much value to you. There are plenty of other media outlets that provide recipes and guides for the casual cook, and do a better job of this than KCBS does. If KCBS were to start adding this sort of layman's content to the Bullsheet I suspect the competition cooks would find it uninteresting and consider most of it below their level; kind of like putting articles on how to change your oil into a hot rodder's magazine. I'm not sure if you can serve both the avid pro cook and occasional backyard burger griller with a single publication.

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3) Should KCBS allocate additional time/resources or consider a new committee to focus on expanding KCBS presence and interest outside of the competition arena so it does not become uni-dimensional ?
It seems like that is what MMA was hired to do - at least that is the intent of the BBQ Tour they launched this year. Dunno how effect they are being though. I haven't seen any metrics that measure MMA's performance to date.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 12:17 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CivilWarBBQ View Post
Very interesting questions!

If you don't at least aspire to becoming a judge or competition cook one day, then no, KCBS doesn't really offer much value to you. There are plenty of other media outlets that provide recipes and guides for the casual cook, and do a better job of this than KCBS does. If KCBS were to start adding this sort of layman's content to the Bullsheet I suspect the competition cooks would find it uninteresting and consider most of it below their level; kind of like putting articles on how to change your oil into a hot rodder's magazine. I'm not sure if you can serve both the avid pro cook and occasional backyard burger griller with a single publication.
I'm going to call on that statement(not disagreeing, but hoping to add perspective). This is something I'd love to see addressed by R&D or New Ideas committee.

Since I started competing, my casual/backyard cooking has suffered.

i have been so focused on bite thru skin, perfect ribs and competition brisket that not only is my entire family so sick of it they wont eat it, but all the great stuff I used to do in the pit has taken a back seat. Pizzas, kabobs, tenderloins, butterflied this and that, stuffed roasts, stuffed peppers, crazy sides.. This stuff all stopped in lieu of the big 4. I see RTD's stuff and can only think back when i used to do it.

and ya know what, i forgot how to make some of the stuff that my family went nuts over. I realized thi slast week when I was going to make thighs for the UFC fight. THIGHS!! wtf!!!
Not a sliced breast, or butterflied bird,. or even wings.. but farking THIGHS? SHEESH.. I think its called BBQ Goggles. You cant see anything thru them but competition meats.

I would LOVE it if there was a section of the bullsheet for the backyard and NOT the circuit. Its not below my level, its another level of BBQ thats more diverse and more enticing than the same old 4 meats and probably would be more appealing to most folks.


I think i just hijacked vinnys question.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 01:44 AM   #5
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I don't disagree with your perspective on the "BBQ Goggles" effect either, but when I'm looking for creative cooking inspiration I have tons of great resources available that do a better job than a newspaper format periodical ever can. The beautiful glossy photos in the cooking mags, great search tools on the Food Network website, heck even YouTube has jillions of cooking demos you can call up with the click of a mouse.

The National Barbecue News comes pretty close to what you are describing for trying to appeal to a larger audience, and soon BBQ World Magazine will join Fiery Foods Mag as another periodical that features outdoor cooking. I just worry that the Bullsheet might become so watered down with general interest features that it becomes less appealing to the pro cooks who use it as a primary source of information about the contest circuit.

Urgh. My appologies. I'm muddying up this thread where BoD members should be the ones responding. I'll shut up now, sorry.

Last edited by CivilWarBBQ; 11-19-2008 at 01:46 AM.. Reason: Realized I was going offtopic
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Unread 11-19-2008, 07:04 AM   #6
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Good comments Civil so I don't think your replies are out of place at all. Phil's too.

Phil made the perfect point of it being a complimentary level to the current path of just competition. Part of the problem is that I think there are many outstanding cooks who chose not to compete, like many who frequent this forum. Let's not forget that there is some awful BBQ being submitted by teams each weekend and not everyone makes stellar BBQ which makes the "pro" label kind of funny sometimes and dilutes what others are capable of who don't care to be judged.

Here's a case where KCBS can assist an up and coming comp cook or experienced backyarders learn tips, new ideas, product reviews etc. which will help them improve whether for judges or their friends and family in whatever they cook.

I thought about the KCBS BBQ Tour.. Clearly a great start or at least idea, but if they are doing demo's of grilling steaks (which isn't a bad thing) but only explaining how to cook BBQ, then part of the mission is lost or diluted. My guess is the BBQ tour is more about trying to recruit new judges than above anything else. Phil may have it right that the R&D or New Ideas committees can potentially take this on to enhance KCBS overall appeal. Not sure of the scope of each committee but maybe Membership committee should also be part of the equation given their title of the committee.

Value to membership is also an important piece and to me there does not seem to be much effort being put into to improving what KCBS can potentially give back. A hotel discount is nice for some, but I think negotiating discounts with suppliers etc. could easily be accomplished with a few letters and phone calls. A few more articles would also broaden the appeal and maybe get others who don't compete to actively contribute in that area to the Bullsheet, website etc.

If KCBS true future mission is to focus on the competition scene, that's great as there is a need for that, but then it would also probably be a good idea if KCBS alters their formal mission statement to avoid confusion as to what KCBS is and is not.

Looking forward to hearing from others.
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Unread 11-19-2008, 08:10 AM   #7
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Vinny, et al, I read through the mission statement and it seems to cover more than competition. I whole heartedly agree that the competition volume vs the bakcyard volume is fractional at best. Meaning a lot more of us cook backyard than comps. But my memebrship to KCBS seems to be very highly tilted to the competition aspect. Does meeting the needs of the backyard chef require a different organization than is present or merely an acknowledgement and sectional focus in the paper?

Civils point about lots of recipes and glossy photo's on the net is valid. But how many of those come from true backyard chefs, "in the trenches" so to speak. I for one would love to see it. Scott
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Unread 11-19-2008, 09:07 AM   #8
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If I may add some thoughts here. When we started the Great Lakes Barbecue Association we discussed what was our goal and who was our potential membership base. Obviously the Competition Cooks and BBQ Teams are going to be the base of any regional association but we also want to bring the backyarder into the association as that is where the most potential for growth was/is and they can benefit more from the talents and expierence of the base of the organization.

We also discussed sanctioning and we determined that the KCBS does a really job of that and we were not looking to re-invent the wheel, we are just looking to grow the sport/hobby of BBQ and Outdoor cooking.

So to make a long story short, we saw a shortcoming in the sport/hobby and we are trying to fill that in the Great Lakes area.

I think the KCBS could do a better job of doing things for the backyarder and I too would be interested in some responses to your question Vinny.

I hope I didnt hijack you question too bad...
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Unread 11-22-2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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bump

Hoping this thread got lost in the mix vs. being too controversial to provide thoughts on..
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Unread 11-22-2008, 03:19 PM   #10
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OK, then I'll chime in again with my own ideas.

I've always felt that the Backyard Division should be the backbone of KCBS. The trend here in the SE is to structure competition for these "amateur" cooks identically to the pro rules, although with much lower entry fees and little or no prize money. Backyard is much more accessible to the average Joe or Jane, and these folks really embody the roots of BBQ - no high dollar rigs, just a tent, some lawn chairs and an old battered kettle, but a whole lot of pride and excitement about what they are doing.

I think that KCBS should put together a sanctioning program for Backyard. It is much easier to get new folks hooked on competition cooking when you can give them a taste of the action for the cost of a tank of gas, and having consistent, well known rules encourage folks to keep at it. Also, sanctioning Backyard means many more judging opportunities, getting even more PAYING members of KCBS involved.
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Unread 11-22-2008, 08:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CivilWarBBQ View Post
OK, then I'll chime in again with my own ideas.

Backyard is much more accessible to the average Joe or Jane, and these folks really embody the roots of BBQ - no high dollar rigs, just a tent, some lawn chairs and an old battered kettle, but a whole lot of pride and excitement about what they are doing.

It is much easier to get new folks hooked on competition cooking when you can give them a taste of the action for the cost of a tank of gas, Also, sanctioning Backyard means many more judging opportunities, getting even more PAYING members of KCBS involved.
I have to agree! How many times has some one said that all his friends tell him that his BBQ is the best? And how disappointed / angry he was after his first / only / last comp? If there had been a way to go up against other backyarders instead of just jumping in head to head with the big boys (and the big $$$ it cost) it might have helped the learning curve and/or dampened the disappointment some.
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Unread 11-23-2008, 11:08 AM   #12
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I have been reading this thread, and trying to determine how to answer. I went back and looked at the strategic plan we did for KCBS last February. I was pleased at the successes. I was disappointed at the failures. I also pulled my Bullsheet to read the midyear reports, which were mandatory from each board member. There were only 6 or 7 whom bothered to comply. As a member of the board, I will not call out or name members by name.

I wanted to post the strategic plan, but some members believe it is confidential. On most boards I have served, the strategic plan is posted proudly and used as a tool to advance.

I do not have answers to many of the questions raised.
Membership, we have been fortunate to have growth, by reason of training CBJ's. What have we done for retention? Our rate is not good.What should we be doing to retain members?

Economic times: We can do little. But we produce aids for organizers. We may teach them how to promote and find sponsors. We should have pre-made press releases and promotional items. This is why we have a marketing company. This must be completed.

Overall, we must listen to our members. We must respond to the challenges, and we must make certain our sport/hobby remains about family/fun and food.
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Unread 11-23-2008, 12:35 PM   #13
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Merl - I'm not sure your response directly answers the questions, but I applaud you for being the first current or prospective BOD member to at least attempt to respond knowing these are sensitive questions that require an opinion.

I do agree that a strategic plan only known by a select few is not ideal to support a long term initiative. However, I am not surprised this is what some wanted. Nor am I surprised to read some members did not complete mid-year reports.

I did not ask this question to stir trouble, but rather to ask a question that others may be thinking. I think there are other questions like these that should be asked to see whom really cares or has potential solutions. I think it also lets others know more about a candidate rather than from a few pre-selected questions each candidates answers in the Bullsheet. Also for me, it was posed to help determine if a KCBS membership is something that I want to renew again in the immediate future.

Thanks again Merl..
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Unread 11-23-2008, 12:59 PM   #14
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A strategic plan only known by a select few does allow those Board memebers that don't really bring much to the table a chance to slide by with little effort.

I have never seen any new ideas from the chairman of the membership committee or his cammittee and very seldom submits a report. I would think as an organization there would be a premium paid with that committee but it doesn't seem to.

Edited last paragraph to take away chance someone would get the wrong message. :)
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Unread 11-23-2008, 07:02 PM   #15
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I too have been reading this thread and hope we can work more on the backyard group. This is something I have promoted to organizers I deal with. It is the only way to grow the organization.

Are there enough benefits for non judge, non competitors, NO and we really do need to work on this. Something marketing was going to do.... At least that was my understanding.

R&D is working on building the backyard BBQ under the New Competitors series.

The Jr. World Championships have been sanctioned under this series and it is to get the 16-21 year olds involved. This is the future of KCBS and we need to broaden our horizens if we want to continue to grow.
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