What Is Your Golf Club’s Marketing Strategy?
Let’s be honest …
You don’t actually have one, do you?
Don’t feel bad I have never met a golf club be they daily fee, private, public or resort that does (before we worked with them)….
Yet without a marketing strategy, every dime you spend and every decision you make will be no more effective than deciding what club to hit next by rolling two dice!
Instead, what every golf club does, including all the ones run by management companies, is bounce from tactic to tactic in the daily scrummage for short-term gain. A discount tee time, a waived membership fee or a free hot dog and a coke!
They back up their random pricing policies and weak positioning statements with vague un-measured promises of “service” or “brand”
This week a client called me and asked how if he should do Groupon and if so what should the offer be?
I asked him what his overall marketing strategy was?
I asked him why he wanted to use Groupon as a tactic?
He said to make money!
I asked how much money he made at this 60% off price last time he tried it?
He said last time he did it 300 people bought the offer at a net gain of just under $20 per player or about $6,000 for 300 rounds.
I asked how many of the players where new players rather than regulars who might have paid more?
He guessed about 100 or $2,000 in new money.
After several more questions three things were clear:
1) He made VERY little money from the promotion.
2) He got fewer than expected new players
3) He promoted his mid-level course as being at the bottom of the food chain thus potentially hurting his brand.
I say potentially for if his marketing strategy is clearly defined as being the low-price high volume leader in the market and filling the course with 200, twenty-dollar rounds a day using whatever means are possible, then using Groupon is certainly one of the tactics he should employ. If, however his marketing strategy is to be the premium daily fee course in the area doing Groupon will hurt him in many ways, as will all those discount trade times GolfNow and EZlinks are flogging to the starving masses for whatever they can get, on a daily basis.
If he had said he was using Groupon to generate new leads instead of making money I would have held the decision to a different set of questions.
Were the acquisition cost and potential damage to the brand of getting 100 new leads worth the cost? Would it not have been far easier to generate those leads from a single $20 Facebook ad with no damage to the brand?
Until we know the strategy we cannot know the answer to these questions we can only guess and we will often guess wrong!
Will you be the low-price leader? The premium-priced leader? The maximizer known simply for taking what he can get on any given day? Pricing and positioning are just a few of the things to consider when developing a winning marketing strategy. Do you have other assets that attract play beyond the actual course? A great range, a superior location, a bustling bistro or café?
Can you Blitzkrieg your market with a larger budget than your competitors?
Do you have an army of ambassadors willing to bring in new blood with a grassroots membership campaign?
Can your resort dominate the search engines?
Do you have a massive email list of local players?
Can you dominate the social media space and reach a different target market than your competitors?
What equipment will you use to put yourself in superior strategic position?
If you are using the cheapest technology you can find because that’s the only way you know how to evaluate it, you lose! Unless of course, your strategy is to have the lowest cost basis of any course in town. The lost opportunity cost of any club not taking advantage of massive breakthroughs in technology like marketing automation, send time optimization and dynamic email content is staggering! (You don’t have this if you use GolfNow, CourseTrends, etc and you won’t be getting it any decade soon!)
Think of a cavalry charge on horseback versus a tank!
Few people I have met know how to define what strategy actually is; Here is the best definition I have ever read and I have read thousands of pages on the subject!
“Strategy is the necessary response to the inescapable reality of limited resources. No entity, regardless of size, has unlimited resources. Strategy, therefore, is about making choices on how we will concentrate our limited resources to achieve competitive advantage. All else follows from there.” – Von Clausewitz
Need more help defining yours? Contact me at 352-266-2099 or Andrew@LegendaryMarketing.com.
All The Best,
PS: Watch the video below to see what a golf course marketing plan should look like!