Developing a Legendary USP (Unique Selling Proposition) for Your Golf Course
How important is a USP? So important that without a great one your golf business will always be an “also-ran.”
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) was first described more than 50 years ago in the classic book by Rosser Reeves, Reality in Advertising. While given much lip service, the concept of USP is seldom understood or operationalized well. Reeves said that your USP must meet three criteria to be complete and powerful:
- It must say to your consumer, “Buy this and you will receive this specific benefit.”
- Your USP must be one that your competition does not, or cannot, offer.
- It must be strong enough to attract new customers to you.
Your USP is the basis for your marketing and advertising efforts. It is your unique advantage you use to sell your club, your lessons, outings, and so forth. Your USP should be so strong and memorable that it will both distinguish you from other clubs and attract new business. It should also be memorable enough to generate word of mouth to drive referrals. Some select courses have obvious and powerful USPs: Augusta — the Masters course; Saint Andrews — the home of golf; or Pebble Beach — unique coastal beauty. Since your course is likely to be among the 99 percent that are less famous than the few like Augusta, you’ll need to work harder to develop your USP.
In this article, you will discover:
- Why your USP is so important to lower your costs and increase your income.
- Why most golf courses have no USP.
- How to develop possible USPs.
- How to gather input for your USP development.
- Formulas for possible USPs.
- Sample USPs.
- How to test your USP for effectiveness
- How to best use your USP
No matter who you are or where your course is located, your club’s reputation precedes you in your market. The more positive and solid your reputation for whatever your unique selling proposition is, the easier it will be for you get players, members, students, or outings. More players will seek you out, pay you more money, and happily refer you to others.
While some clubs have taken decades to build their legacies and reputations, others have done it much faster. In today’s world of the Internet, direct mail, and targeted magazines for every audience, the opportunity to build a reputation quickly has never been greater. The challenge is to accurately define your unique selling proposition (USP) — the essence of what your club offers that is superior and unique.
DON’T BE A “ME-TOO” CLUB
Most managers have never heard of a USP. And while a select few instinctively emphasize their uniqueness, most clubs have done nothing to set themselves apart in the marketplace. Except for custom pictures, you could take one of these clubs’ names out of their ads and replace it with a competitor’s and the ad would be just as accurate.
The importance of accepting this challenge to differentiate yourself from your competition is that without a USP you can waste millions of dollars marketing the features of your golf club — features that every other club also has, or that no one cares about. You will be another me-too club with 18 holes, a pro shop, and a driving range.
By taking the USP challenge, you will, with a few words and concepts, set yourself apart from all of your competition. You will find yourself more focused and your message more on target while attracting a far greater number of the right type of players for you.
Let me give you a clear example of what I mean. Pebble Beach sells a once-in-a-lifetime experience, not a round of golf! Using some non-golf examples, a Kia dealer and a Rolls-Royce dealer both sell cars, but they are hardly in the same business. A Kia dealer sells transportation; a Rolls dealer sells luxury. A Timex dealer sells watches that tell time; a Rolex dealer sells jewelry and status.
Most clubs don’t have a USP and therefore they don’t ever build a strong marketing program on a secure foundation. Instead, they bounce from idea to idea without a consistent theme. In fact, I’ve had clients who proudly showed me the twenty different ads they had run over the last five years — each touting something different! This approach wastes lots of time, lots of money, and a great deal of effort!
In order for your club to attract the maximum number of prime clients in your market, you must determine exactly whom you are trying to reach and what message from you will resonate with them. Then you must shape your club’s performance to deliver this unique experience.
“RESTRICTING” YOUR MARKET
You might argue that if you focus your club on one USP, you will limit your market, but, that, my friends, is the very idea. You focus your market on the people who value the one thing your club can do best. Then you harp on it for all you are worth and develop your own niche market within a much broader category.
It turns out that this new focus doesn’t limit you as much as it attracts more play. Your USP also produces a tag line on your business card, a slogan on the bottom of your ads, and is attached to your name like a double-barreled surname (the club where the pros play; the hardest course in town; the club for family play; the highest-rated course in town; the most water; the most exclusive, and so on).
Without a position around which to build your marketing, you are just another commodity that no one thinks is special! With a strong USP, you lower your marketing costs, increase word of mouth, focus your efforts to do a better job for your golfers, and increase your income.
What comes to mind when you hear Domino’s Pizza? “Domino’s delivers in 30 minutes or less.” That was their unique selling proposition and it fueled one of the most rapid business success stories ever. Domino’s wasn’t really selling pizza, what they were selling was fast delivery. There are hundreds of different chains around the country that sell pizza. But when you think of Domino’s, you think of their 30-minute delivery guarantee. You might be interested to know that those ads haven’t run in over a decade, ever since a driver was killed trying to get his pizza delivered on time. Yet the 30-minutes-or-less perception remains because that 30-minute USP was so strong!
The same is true in the shipping business. There’s UPS, there’s the US Postal Service, DHL, and a host of other services that claim to get your package delivered directly to your customer, across the country, overnight. But when you absolutely, positively must have it there overnight, whom would you use? If you said the Post Office, move to the back of the class! (They lose 100,000 packages a day!) If you absolutely, positively must have it there overnight, the only company to use is FedEx. That perception has survived even through their name change from Federal Express. They have a legendary reputation for fast and reliable delivery and practically own the word “overnight.” You must do the same — own a concept in your marketplace that defines what your club is all about. This will attract people to you like a magnet!
USP DRIVES INCOME AND OPPORTUNITIES
Why can Doral or Pebble Beach get plenty of players to pay several hundred dollars a round? Because they are among the world’s best courses you say? While Pebble boasts spectacular oceanfront scenery, if the truth be known, Doral is a pretty average golf course, yet they can still command almost $300 a round. Why? Because it’s the “Blue Monster” that’s why! Because they have water on 14 holes and some very clever guy early on dubbed it “The Blue Monster!”— despite the fact that the water isn’t a real hazard on more than half the holes!
It doesn’t matter! Doral has done a brilliant job of getting people to believe that when in Miami, it’s the place to play and stay. Sure they had some help from the PGA Tour, but there are plenty of second-rate courses that host PGA events that you or I would never dream of playing, let alone paying $300 to play! Think Eagle Trace — that has lots of water, was home to the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic for many years, yet stands for nothing. You see my point. Despite the fact that they host a PGA Tour event, no one is going to pay $300 to play there!
WORLD’S LEADING TEACHER?
Marketing is not merely having a great layout or teaching talent! You need to own a key thought in a player’s mind so that when he picks up the phone to call three buddies to go play this weekend he’s already thinking about your course!
Who is the world’s leading expert on the “short game?” Tiger Woods — he’s pretty good? Jack Nicklaus — he’s got the wins to back up almost any claim, but, no, bunker shots and chipping were never Jack’s strong suit. Perhaps it would be a really great player like Moe Norman was, who never played the Tour because he didn’t like all the publicity? No, I think not. In fact, the person generally regarded as the world’s leading expert on the short game is an ex-NASA scientist who rarely if ever breaks eighty!
Does that bother you? It bothers many of my PGA friends, but it shouldn’t because Dave Peltz is first and foremost a master marketer and that is what it’s all about.
Marketing! Selling your uniqueness!
How did Dave Peltz, an amateur enthusiast for many decades, with no particular talent for the game, became the world’s leading expert on the short game?
Dave Peltz did several very interesting things to build his Unique Selling Proposition:
- He used his NASA background to gain credibility for his golf theories.
- He wrote a book — always a great start to building credibility.
- He noticed that while there were plenty of swing gurus pushing a method, no one seemed to be focusing on the area of the game that offered the greatest potential return in terms of score, the short game!
- He told everyone who would listen that he was the world’s new short-game expert and that he, unlike others, had approached the problem scientifically!
- He wrote magazine articles on his theory.
Bingo! Dave Peltz, a 50-something ex-NASA employee with no teaching credentials, no tour players winning majors in his stable (when he started), and no personal playing history out-marketed 50,000 other golf instructors because of his superior USP.
SOME USP EXAMPLES
Let’s look at some more examples by studying the USPs of two of the top equipment companies. To see what kind of job they are doing, take a simple test to see if you can match the companies’ USPs with their names.
What company’s equipment is:
- For Those Who Want To Play Their Best!
- The Number One Ball In Golf!
If you answered Ping and Titleist, kudos to you, and to the companies as well — their marketing stayed in your mind (and in a great percentage of other players’ minds).
Interestingly enough, Ping For Those Who Want to Play Their Best! is a good slogan, but not a USP! Originally Ping had some technological differences which they could use to back up a claim that they improved your game (differential weighting, heel-toe weighting, and so on). However, they’ve lost that uniqueness. Because their slogan was catchy, it is still useful; but everyone wants to play their best, so it is not a good USP.
Titleist, The Number One Ball In Golf! Simple and tough to argue with!
Now tell me what does Yonnex stand for… quick… come on… Okay, they did have a little run about 20 years ago with a graphite-headed driver, but now what? What have they done for me lately?
For most of the last decade, Yonnex had one thing going for them — the world’s undisputed best left-handed golfer. (Kudos to Mike Weir, but I’m talking Phil here!) I spent almost a year trying to convince them that their USP should be “The world’s best left-handed golf clubs.” Statistically, 10 percent of the 27 million people who play golf are left handed. (In Canada, a greater percentage of the population is left-handed, but I digress.) No one in the world had ever claimed to be the world’s best left-handed golf clubs, so the position was open!
AN OPEN UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION in this over-crowded marketing world!
This is a serious marketing opportunity!!! But the wise people of Yonnex thought that .000000001 percent share, or whatever they have of the right-handed market, was better than total DOMINATION of the left-handed market!! They just couldn’t see pigeonholing their market like that!
Why be the undisputed leader in a US market of 3 million left-handers, and a worldwide market of 30 million or so, when instead you can be a nobody in the worldwide market of 150 million right-handers?
Okay, so you get the idea. Let’s get back to talking about your club and your marketing.
WHAT DO YOU WANT YOUR CLUB’S REPUTATION TO SAY?
The first step in building a legendary reputation in your community is to determine how you want people in the marketplace to perceive your club. Your USP will be the basis for getting your marketing message across and building your reputation. It will be what they remember about you and pass on to others. It will be the foundation on which all your marketing is based, from your website to your customer-service training!
If you have a strong and memorable position in golfers’ minds, it will carry over into other areas. They will also think you are good in other ways.
In contrast, if you try to advertise your club as all things to all people, they will think you’re a “Jack of all trades and a master of none.” A strong USP doesn’t limit you, it opens up your options!
Throughout this discussion, I will continually emphasize that you must pick one USP and stick to it. However, if you have distinctly different audiences, it is possible to have different USPs for each audience. For instance, individual golfers are a different audience than members or outing planners. Your members may be most interested in the status of the club as a place to bring business associates. Day players may be most interested in a challenging (or nonchallenging!) course. And outing buyers may be most interested in price, or doing minimum work while looking good for their bosses! If you know your submarkets, you may develop different USPs aimed at each group. Of course, they should not be contradictory.
HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR USP
There are several factors to consider when designing your USP. The best way to start is to gather input from your staff and golfers. If possible, get your staff together and ask them as a group to come up with individual words or phrases that define your club. Make a list of at least 10 to 20 keywords or statements. Do the same thing with your customers, either in a group (like the board) or individually. You could even send out a quick e-mail to members asking them what they think the best thing about your club is. Ways to ask about a USP include phrases like:
- Our members tell us that what they like best about us is___________________.
- We are the only course in our area that does___________________.
- We are the best course/club because___________________.
- The thing we are proudest of is ___________________.
- We’re better than anyone else at ___________________.
- The thing people remember us for is ___________________.
- The most unusual thing about us is ___________________.
If you heard people talking behind your back about your club, what strengths of yours would you want them to be mentioning?
What is it about your course that people use to describe you (the quality of the course, the history, the status, the exclusivity, the value, the pricing, the attentive customer service, the scenery, the ambiance)? Specifically, what is it that your club does better than anybody else, or what is it that you have to offer that no one else can offer?
Try to avoid generic answers like quality or value. You can’t be everything to everyone. You should, therefore, select one main perception that you want to convey in your marketplace, and back it up with a couple of subsidiary points.
Take some time to carefully consider the questions and write down your answers. Even “silly” answers can sometimes stimulate useful material. For instance, if your club has a nickname it may suggest a USP (like the Blue Demon).
Normally, the answers to these questions will involve your golf course. But they could also involve your people, your general location, your price or value, your service, your clubhouse, your restaurant, and so on.
After you have collected information, develop variations and combinations and narrow the list down to three or four of the very best possibilities. Once they have been defined, these answers should be synthesized into a possible defining statement. This may take you a while, and that’s okay. This is much too important a decision to rush, but make sure you follow through and come up with just a single sentence, preferably one that offers a clear benefit to the customer.
Focus on one key trait!
Let’s take the golf pro as an example. Is a golf professional in the golf business, the service business, the entertainment business, the retail business, the instructional business, or something else? Your answer to this question can have a serious impact on marketing decisions, customer perceptions, customer satisfaction, and your reputation.
At a typical country club, the golf pro may be in all of the above businesses, but sales and marketing decisions must be based on a single underlying philosophy. No one since Tommy Armour (several decades ago) has had a reputation as a great champion and also as a great teacher. It’s equally tough to have great member service and play a lot of golf. You can’t play a tough guy and a comic at the same time, just ask Sylvester Stallone. Every movie in which he didn’t put up his dukes or didn’t blow up half the world flopped!
Cadillac keeps trying to make smaller and cheaper cars and loses millions in the process every time! Remember the Catera? Don’t worry, neither does anybody else despite a $100-million ad campaign! Cadillac means big and luxurious, not small and sporty. Over the last few years has Cadillac started to completely revamp their line-up and marketing and are making a great turnaround. They would have had better results in the beginning if they sold their smaller sports cars under another brand, a strategy Toyota used very successfully with Lexus for the opposite reason. I mean, who in their right mind was going to buy an $80,000 Toyota? The Toyota branding of inexpensive and reliable was too strong.
Speaking of branding, lately, some of the discussion about these USP issues has also been in terms of branding. You brand your club, and so forth. Another concept closely related to USP is positioning. Positioning focuses a bit more on you compared to the competition, not on your uniqueness. For our purposes here, however, both positioning and branding mean the same thing as USP.
You will only be remembered in one key area, with perhaps a couple of sub-thoughts at most. Once you choose that area, you must use it as your central focus in making future decisions. This means focusing on one particular area and spending less time and effort on others.
It’s very important that you decide what your image should be in the golf community. If you try to be everything to everybody, it won’t work. And once you have developed your reputation label, it’s nearly impossible to shed it. Good or bad, your reputation ultimately will depend on a few words, so choose the statement that represents your club wisely for it will stick with you for a long time.
MORE USP EXAMPLES
Cleveland makes fine irons and, I am sure, great woods, but when I think “Cleveland,” what comes to mind? Putters? No. Wedges! Great wedges! Wedges that PGA Tour players use! Cleveland built its reputation on wedges and parlayed it into something more, but without their success and recognition for wedges, they were just another second-tier company. Their positioning as the maker of the best wedges gave them the leg up that they needed.
Let me give you a personal example: I am the world’s leading authority on golf marketing. There are several reasons that I can make that statement and not blush:
- I wrote the only book in the world on how to market golf on the Internet, The Golf Marketing Bible. I have also written many more books and manuals that all revolve around one thing, improving your club’s business!
- I have delivered more than 200 full-day seminars on golf marketing for the PGA, the Golf Course Owners Association, Club Managers Association, and others.
- I have written a book on how to make money teaching golf, How to Make $150,000 a Year Teaching Golf.
- I have over 25 years experience in marketing.
- I have hundreds of testimonials from people who will back up my statement that I am, in fact, the world’s foremost authority on golf marketing — or at least the best person they know.
- I have a track record of success on which to draw with a very diverse range of hundreds of golf clients.
- I am a scratch player with a passion for the game, so I can talk your language.
- Most importantly, no one else has claimed this position; therefore, on top of everything else, I win by default!
“Central Florida’s Best Greens”
Here’s an example of one of the USPs we developed and how we came up with it. Stoneybrook West is not the best golf course in Orlando; it doesn’t have the best holes, has little or no elevation, and is surrounded by homes. That is not to say it’s a bad golf course; it’s just that it’s a lot like every other golf course in Orlando. We needed an edge. After brainstorming with head pro Ian Shepherd, he came up with a list out of which we crafted the statement “Orlando’s Best Greens.” We later modified this to “Central Florida’s Best Greens.” This has worked out very well for several reasons.
- People from out of town want to have good greens above anything else so it helped attract out-of-town play.
- Since we made the claim “Orlando’s Best Greens,” media (including the Orlando Sentinal and two local golf magazines) all chose to use that as headlines for articles they wrote about the course (which is nice)!
- No one else claimed to have the “Best Greens” so we were first in the market to do so, making it very hard for anyone else to take that title away from us.
“Michigan’s Most Beautiful Resort”
Garland Resort in Northern Michigan had plenty to shout about with four great courses, natural beauty, cross-country skiing, and a host of other activities, but nothing was pulling the marketing message together. We solved the problem by designating Garland as Michigan’s Most Beautiful Resort! Everyone enjoys beauty whether it’s golfers, riders, skiers, diners, meeting planners, or families!
SOME COMPONENTS OF USPs
Here are some other ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Preempting the truth for your USP
While it’s better if the USP you design is something nobody else can claim, it’s not essential. You can choose to highlight some aspect of your club that your competitors may also possess but have failed to exploit. By being first, you lay claim to the particular benefit that you’re promoting. Jack Trout and Al Ries, the originators of the term positioning, call this “preempting the truth.”
Miller Brewing Company built its business on ‘lite beer,’ but they didn’t invent the category. Coors did that more than a decade earlier. But Coors failed to position its beer as a light beer and lost out to Miller (who exploited the position to the tune of hundreds of millions). You don’t have to invent it; you merely have to claim it!
Back when courses like Pine Hill or Pine Barrens in New Jersey were both among the best public courses in the world, either could have been positioned as “The Second Best Course in New Jersey, But the Best One You Can Actually Play!” (You don’t even have to claim to be best to have a great USP.)
Standing out from the crowd
Let’s say that you are one of ten daily-fee courses in town. You have a typical 18-hole, par-72 golf course. It’s better than some, not as good as others. How are you going to make your mark?
First, look at what your competitors are doing — what do they specialize in? Take a look at their websites, brochures, print ads, Yellow Pages ads, and any other literature you can find to determine what positions they are claiming. Fortunately for you, in most cases, there will be nothing significant! However, their random claims may give you a few ideas and help you spot their weaknesses.
Have you got a great skins game Friday afternoons? I know several courses whose success is due to the number of players who show up on specific days to play in games. Encouraging such games can turn a mediocre course into a winner! “Home of the best games in town!”
Is your course amenable to a fast-paced round? “Play in under 4 hours or your money back!” That’s a bold statement, but I’ll tell you what — I’d pay an extra $10 to get that guarantee. With the right course, proper instructions to the players upon check in, and a good ranger program, it can be done! If you took over four hours to play a round in Scotland — and that’s without the aid of a cart — they’d hang you from a lamppost!
When I lived in Southern California, I used to ski in Big Bear where I had the choice of two resorts. Both were more or less on the same mountain and one was ten dollars a day more than the other was. Where would you ski? I skied Snow Summit, the more expensive of the two.
Why? Because they limited ticket sales and had a 10-minute liftline guarantee! If you were not on a lift in 10 minutes they gave you a ticket for another day free! It never happened. The two or three times I tried the cheaper place, Bear Mountain, I waited as long as 30 minutes to get up the mountain — NO THANKS!
Think about the free publicity you could get, “Just say NO to 4-hour rounds!” Think T-shirts, Golf Digest reporters at your door, and a big pat on the back from the USGA. You could run different types of speed tournaments and marathons. Or charge people on slow days by how long they spend out on the course! In fact, the promotion possibilities are endless.
Does this exclude certain people from playing your course? YES, SLOW PLAYERS, players who eat up your daylight, and upset the 20 groups behind them!! GOOD RIDDANCE!! The extra space and publicity will more than make up for the loss of Bernard Langer disciples who play slower than wounded snails!
Okay, I’m on a roll. Let’s say your course is the worst of the ten aforementioned competitors. What then? Don’t market the course as your key feature! Market something else. When the new GM of the New Jersey Nets basketball team took over in the mid-Nineties, he had on his hands the very worst team in the NBA. Not only did they have a terrible winning record, but the players had bad attitudes and the few fans who did show up hated them! So how did the new GM manage to go from a stadium that was not even half full to selling out every game in just a few months — while the team continued to play as badly as ever?
Brilliance, that’s how! Brilliance and a change in his Unique Selling Proposition. He stopped trying to sell his team. It was pointless — the Nets were terrible and everyone knew it! He couldn’t change the team play without some serious personnel changes and time to work on things. But he could change the USP and turn the team into a profitable business instead of a money pit. Instead of marketing his team, he started to market the stars of the opposition teams!
- Come see Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls!
- Shaq and The LA Lakers!
- Larry Bird and the Celtics!
In his favor was the fact that many of the stars he was promoting were nearing the ends of their careers, so he added some of that into the mix. “This might be your last chance to see Jordan play in New Jersey!”
He bundled the good games into packages of five, tripled the ticket prices for those games and threw in all the mediocre games for free. He sold out the stadium in a matter of weeks while the Nets continued their mediocre play. But it didn’t matter — he was no longer selling his team. He was instead selling the superstars on the opposing teams as the reason to come to the game.
Your USP doesn’t have to relate to your course
So, what can we do to help the worst course in town in our earlier example come up with a USP? Change the focus from golf to something else. Here are a few extreme examples to stimulate your thinking.
Consider the USP “An Ordinary Course Where We Treat You Like Royalty.” How can you treat customers like royalty when you only charge $25 a round? How about offering a free car wash while golfers play! That’s a nice touch that saves the player time and fifteen bucks, while it only costs you two guys on minimum wage! Picture this: a guy wakes up thinking, where should I play today? Umm… well, the car needs washing, let’s go to YOUR CLUB!!!
Here’s another idea. Turn the 19th hole into a haven of golf memorabilia, like a theme restaurant. Then people will bring their friends just to look at all the cool stuff you have on the walls. (This can be done fairly cheaply.)
Make your 19th hole the best place in town to hang out after a round. Satellite TVs, free salsa and chips, a waitress with large… well, you get the idea!
I know some country clubs that make it on the strength of their junior swim team! Anything that makes you outstanding can make you a winner.
TESTING YOUR USP
Like other parts of your marketing, your USP can be tested. You can use focus groups to compare different USPs. You can use surveys. You can test headlines in e-mails using different USPs. You can test USPs as direct mail or advertising headlines. Just don’t fall in love with the first clever idea someone comes up with. As famous advertising man David Ogilvy used to say, you don’t want your ads to win awards for creativity, you want them to make you money!
YOUR USP STRENGTHENS YOUR MARKETING MESSAGE
With a USP in mind, your logo, ads, website, brochures, and other marketing material can all be designed in a very cohesive manner. This is called integrated marketing, where your different pieces reinforce a consistent marketing message and convince, rather than confuse, the customer.
All too often, course owners bounce from one message to the next, hoping in vain to be everything to everyone. It doesn’t work. Once you have decided to be a tough course for serious players, don’t shoot for women and seniors — stay focused. Develop your campaigns around strong images. Use strong colors that carry the feel of your USP throughout everything you do!
Confused prospects do not make good customers because confusion causes doubt. Doubt leads to fear of making a poor decision, and fear leads to paralysis or procrastination. Use your USP as a roadmap for your marketing materials. When completing any new marketing tool, ask yourself the following simple questions.
Are the graphics and copy congruent with your message?
A client recently brought me a marketing piece in which he claimed in his copy to offer both the finest and the cheapest service in town. But you cannot be the cheapest and the best. People simply won’t buy that concept. They have been preconditioned to believe that the best of anything is always more expensive. The cheapest may offer good value, but you hurt your credibility, never to regain it if you also try to claim that you are the best! The best is never the cheapest. On the other side, words claiming that you are the best club in town would not be supported by printed material that was cheap looking.
Does it enhance your position in the minds of your customers?
Check if each marketing effort stands out and brands your course’s name clearly and uniquely in the minds of your prospective customers. If it’s only as good as anyone else’s effort, don’t do it.
Stand out and be bold — or save your money and invest it in bonds!
Is your delivery consistent?
With your marketing materials in complete harmony and building on your USP, the next question to ask yourself is how consistent you are in delivering your message. In many cases, business owners develop a winning concept and then become bored with it, thinking that others must surely have tired of the concept as well. So they move on to a different and far less effective concept, just as the other one was taking root in the public consciousness.
In my golf consulting, I frequently design ads for clients that they instantly proclaim to be the most effective they have ever used. Eight weeks later, they are back on the phone asking me to design a new one, even though the original one is still pulling far better than anything else they have ever done. I ask them why they want a new ad.
They tell me because everyone has seen it already. Good ads can go on working indefinitely. Sure, you might rest them for a few weeks and then bring them out again, or perhaps change the picture, keeping the copy much the same, but the fact remains that a good ad will work far longer than most people have the patience to keep running it!
Consistency is the key to building a long-term image that allows you to dominate your marketplace. Most great marketing campaigns last for years, even decades, as has the Marlboro cowboy, the Energizer Bunny, the twins in Wrigley’s Double Mint Gum ads, and Budweiser, the King of Beers. I’m sure that in your town you can think of at least one particular business that has made an impression on you just because they are so consistent, even if their marketing is consistently bad. The Crazy Greek Mattress Shop, the car dealer who always wears a ten-gallon hat on late-night TV, or the attorney who pitches injury law with a cast on his leg. Consistency is no substitute for great marketing, but great marketing done with consistency will produce the best results of all.
Trying to be everything to everyone is a sure way NOT to conquer your market. You must decide on what your core business is and build a unique selling proposition around what you do best. To define your USP you must answer at least two questions:
- What is the word or statement you want to “own” in the minds of your customers?
- What one thing do you do better than anyone else around?
Once you have answered these questions and decided on a USP, you must stay focused and use your position as a guide to both marketing issues and business decisions.
You must make your marketing congruent with your USP message so it builds and grows in the minds of your customers. Finally, you must remain consistent within your marketing message. Resist the temptation to change for change’s sake. Once you find a good marketing message, ride it for all it’s worth, over and over again, until it’s burnt into the collective consciousness of all the players in your market.
If you have any questions about developing a legendary USP for your property or want to talk about how Legendary Marketing can help your golf course, call me at 352-266-2099. I am the world’s leading authority on golf marketing after all!
All The Best,
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