Model Aeronautical Association of Australia

Recreational sport

Airsport Marketing Case study: Model Aeronautical Association of Australia


Airsport Marketing Case study: Model Aeronautical Association of Australia

In this airsports marketing case study we look at what we achieved for the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA).

The MAAA is the largest aeromodelling organisation in Australia and encourages Australians to enjoy aeromodelling in a safe and fun environment, with adequate support.

The Brief

The MAAA website
The MAAA website, build by iSonic

The MAAA engaged the Sustainable Marketing Services team in February 2014 as their outsourced marketing team to help improve member engagement, retention and growth.

The scope of marketing support between 2014 and 2021 included marketing plans, digital strategies, new websites, the introduction of a new digital magazine “Wingspan”, public relations, marketing campaigns, member research, social media and event management.

Marketing at a Glance

  • Marketing Planning: Strategic integrated digital and traditional marketing planning.
  • Brand Positioning: Positioned the MAAA to boost awareness of the sport.
  • New website. Created a digital strategy web brief, crafting web content and managing the creation of the new website
  • Digital Magazines: From 2014 to 2021, we introduced and continued to create until 2021 the MAAA’s digital Wingspan Magazine. Since inception, Wingspan received very positive feedback from members who felt it gave them more of a voice within the model flying community, while having access to content that educated, informed and entertained them.
  • Member Research: To develop a deeper, more accurate understanding of its members, we undertook annual member surveys as well as some ad hoc surveys.
  • Social media: Grew Facebook fans grew from 1,450 (2016) to 13,083 (2021) for the MAAA. More importantly, the MAAA Facebook page had a high level of engagement with members (and fans) who genuinely enjoyed being part of the Facebook community. It had become an additional value-added service that members enjoy.
  • Event management: management of the F1 Air Race Sandown 2016 with over 7,300 unique visitors to the Sandown Campaign website and 3,500 people attending the event.
  • Public Relations: Conducted PR campaigns for key air sports events and about key pilots with national, state, local and regional coverage. Achieved 1,800,000+ in reach for prime-time national TV and radio.

The Results

  • Member growth - In 2017/2018, the “Have a Go” campaign resulted in a higher total membership of 9,653 compared to 9,602 in 2016/2017, a higher retention of 90% and growth of 11%.
  • Member retention during COVID - In 2020/2021 during COVID, the MAAA achieved a higher retention rate of 93%, attributed to member communications encouraging members to undertake workshop projects and share their stories with other members.
  • Member loyalty – member communications such as Wingspan resulted in a progressive increase in their Net Promoter Score from -11.77 in 2014 to 40 in 2021.
  • Newsletters – Achievement of an open rate of 46.4% against an industry average of 28.9%
  • Wingspan – Achievement of an open rate of 47.36% and a click-through rate of 21.12%. Wingspan was the number one most popular content on the MAAA website.
  • Facebook – Growth of fans from 1,450 (October 2016) to 13,083 (August 2021), with average daily users reached in August of 1,983 and an engagement rate of 7.9% in August 2021.
  • Public Relations – achieved strong PR coverage on TV, press and radio at a national, state and local level.
  • Public Relations: Maryborough Aero Model Club will make history (check Maryborough event video here)
  • Public Relations: Event Management: MAAA Airshow Sandown 2016 (check MAAA F1 Airshow Sandown video here)
  • Online search visibility: Search visibility for MAAA’s website was 16.1% as at September 2021
  • Website visitors: A healthy 19,738 new users from September 2020 to August 2021.
  • Event management: Over 3,500 people attending the F1 Air Race Sandown event and 7,300 unique visitors to the Sandown Campaign website.


The results achieved for this airsport marketing are discussed in the testimonial below.

“The Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA) is the leading model aircraft association in Australia and has a membership of approximately 10,000 members consisting of 8 State Associations and approximately 360 clubs.

During the years 2012 to May 2021, I occupied the positions of MAAA Vice President and President. At the commencement of my term of Presidency, the visibility, confidence, and support of members was extremely low. The knowledge of the objectives, functions, and day to day activities of the organisation were misunderstood by many members who considered the organisation only existed to provide third party insurance. This concept was far from the truth. To turn these negative perceptions around and to increase the visibility and openness of the organisation, the governing council of the MAAA took a decision to engage a marketing company to assist.

Sustainable Marketing Services to commenced working with the MAAA in 2014 and worked as our marketing team for over seven years.

By providing advice and resources, Sustainable Marketing Services helped the MAAA to build our reputation, our visibility online with our members and the public; they also assisted in achieving solid membership growth at a time when most industry bodies were struggling to do likewise.

The MAAA’s collaborative approach with Sustainable Marketing Services has seen an average growth of new members of approximately 10% per year. Like all organisations whose majority of members are elderly, this growth was insufficient to offset those leaving the sport. Growth and attrition numbers were similar and has resulted in stable membership numbers. To further reduce the loss of membership a “Beyond 10000” membership drive assisted in further reducing the fall of membership numbers.

Between 2014 and 2020, Sustainable Marketing Services planned, implemented, and assessed the results of seven (7) surveys to members. These surveys proved extremely useful for future planning and assisted the MAAA Executive to understand what the members were expecting and to refine marketing communication products. These surveys also provided members the opportunity to communicate their individual ideas to the MAAA Council.

A new and improved website was launched in 2014, Sustainable Marketing Services grew the MAAA’s online search visibility within aeromodelling to 17%. Maria Anderson, their managing director, proved to be very community orientated, and often donated resources to assist the MAAA secretary to add new content to the website.

Due to the decline in Australian aeromodelling publications and requests from members, the MAAA Executive saw the need to help fill this popular vacuum. In consultation with Sustainable Marketing Services, a quarterly magazine “Wingspan” was produced. This publication was launched in May 2014 and has regularly been produced until August 2021. Wingspan also assisted in achieving our safety obligation to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) by the regular publication of safety articles. Wingspan has an average of 3,991 unique views per edition and up to 45,000 page views.

The publication achieved the highest average open rate of 47.4% and an average click through rate of 21%, compared to the hobby industry rate of 6.6%. Research indicates the publication is read by members and non-members; views are not restricted to Australia.

Through Sustainable Marketing Services initiatives, the MAAA was able to improve member perception. Statistical data indicated a change in our net promoter score of -11.77 in 2014 to a positive 40 in 2020. The communication strategy for Wingspan, Member Updates, website content and social media delivered considerable value to our members and progressively shifted member attitudes and behaviours. Wingspan is very popular with members and shares the collective knowledge of our 360+ clubs and member stories which helps educate and facilitate change at the club level.

During the time Sustainable Marketing Services was contracted to the MAAA, they regularly achieved strong PR and media coverage of our hobby/sport on National TV, radio, national press, and local coverage.

From the commencement date, 2014, up until the end of my term as President, Sustainable Marketing Services continued to deliver email communications to all MAAA members; statistical information indicating this output substantially exceeded the hobby industry average. For example, newsletter average open rate was 46.3% compared with the hobby industry average of 28.8%.

Sustainable Marketing Services grew the MAAA’s Facebook presence from 1,450 in October 2016 to over 13,000 in 2021; it now has one of the highest engagement rates in the world for our industry. The MAAA Facebook page is now the 3rd largest aeromodelling page in the world after the American Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) and the British Model Flying Association (BMFA).

The team at Sustainable Marketing Services have proven have a high level of expertise and marketing, PR, digital marketing, and social media in the marketing of air sport industry bodies and organisations. They have always gone above and beyond to assist the MAAA in achieving our objectives. They have a strong focus on measurement, which they use to make continuous improvements.

I have no hesitation in recommending the marketing products of Sustainable Marketing Services; during the term of my Presidency, I found they provided a very knowledgeable and professional approach in their marketing activities. Although not initially familiar with the sport of aeromodelling they were willing to listen and learn and adapt their style to MAAA suggestions.”

Neil Tank, Past President, Model Aeronautical Association of Australia, 17th August 2021

MAAA Wingspan Magazine

Design by Renee Buckley, Propeller Global

MAAA The Thrill of Flight brochure

MAAA The Thrill of Flight brochure

MAAA Ready to Take Off brochure

MAAA Ready to Take Off brochure

MAAA Advertisement Flatout RC magazine

MAAA Advertisement Flatout RC magazine

Where to from here?

Feel free to give us a call, email, or use our contact form to discuss your project and how we can help you.

Call us on 07 3446 5837 or 0402 095 699.