As our 2013 season approaches in earnest, I hope you, your staff have found some quality “down time” with family and friends. I also hope you’ve found time to put together a strong business plan for being the “revenue generator” at your facility this season.

player-dev-graphicAt right, you’ll see the PLAYER DEVELOPMENT WHEEL has six key steps to be followed for success with player development efforts at your facility. You’ll notice the process starts with Communication and it seems to end there as well. (It doesn’t end there, it just starts the loop again to get better, more efficient and more profitable.)

In my humble opinion, many of us have excelled in some of these steps during our careers, most notably ANALYSIS, PLANNING and EXECUTION. However, I believe our weak areas (collectively,) have been in MARKETING, TRACKING and COMMUNICATION.

player-dev-example-indiancanyon player-dev-example-lakepadden player-dev-example-meriwether player-dev-example-tualatinMarketing

From observations of many other professionals, plus my own experience, I believe many of us are good analyzers who plan clever, well-thought-out programming for our facilities. Unfortunately, we often rely on paper signage, static webpages and rack cards to sell the story of what we’re offering. These “analog tools” fail to catch the attention of our customers, who no longer “see” signage, sign-up lists and the like.

We now have the Active.com tool available for free to PGA members for online promotion, registration, data collection, fee collection and management of all these aspects available to us. Several golf professionals have also moved from the analog of paper signage to digital signage promoting programming, upcoming events, staff biographies and merchandise promos using flatscreen TVs and computer monitors. I have included a few samples images from these professionals, and I would be happy to share more with you and develop more for your needs. I can also help you setup your Active.com and provide you with tools, tips and suggestions on how best to use it as a new marketing tool.

Tracking

As with Marketing, our collective effort with tracking has tended to be reliant on anecdotal evidence, our memory and generalizations. For most of us, 2012 was an “up” year. Across the nation, PGA PerformanceTrak shows rounds were up 6.4% over 2011. The number of “golfable weather” days in 2012 was also up 6.4%. On face value, it’s easy to say it was better weather that led to more rounds. But, I believe it was not only the weather, but the efforts and successes of active PGA professionals that made the difference. How do we prove it? Good tracking is the only way.

In the past few years, some point-of-sale (POS) systems and use of “player cards” have helped, but too often, these tracking efforts focus only on rounds played, merchandise dollars spent, etc. While these systems provide some data, they typically fail at connecting a program’s effort to create new customers and/or create new revenue to the spending, behaviors and reporting capabilities in the system. One best practice in this area is to give new customers, (created by a specific program) a unique ID number to track purchases, rounds, etc. at the facility. Once again, the new Active.com tool’s “revenue dashboard” is a resource available to track programming efforts and successes. Paired with customer and member numbers in most POS systems, a complete tracking picture can be put together.

Communication

Finally, the best communication starts at the beginning, before the analysis step has really begun. In presenting the current picture to the employer, a savvy golf professional engages them right away in the process—and include key staffers as part of the process. This a great time to share your “why” to your employer so they can see, believe and support your efforts to drive revenue to the facility bottom line. In this case, good communication is also beneficial because it will show your expertise, analytical skills and acumen to your employer.

As the last step of the “Six Step Player Development Wheel,” communication about the successes of the program, potential areas to improve and possible ways to expand it is equally important. In essence, this final communication (supported by tracking numbers,) with the employer (and key staff) is your way to say, “I DELIVER MORE…more customers, more dues, more member retention, more participation, more sales, more rounds. I deliver more revenue.”

We have approximately 6-8 weeks left before our 2013 golf season hits us in the PNW Section. In that time, I hope you’ll give me the chance to help you develop your plan to be the “revenue generator” your facility needs you to be. As YOUR PGA Member benefit, I would love to help you, your staff and your facility in any way I can.

mkoch@pgahq.com or (206)335-5260.