Why are your customers YOUR customers? Why are they involved with you; why are they buying from you? Most of us would answer with some form of “Price…Features…Quality…Value…Location.” We also tend to think these are THE WAYS we can differentiate ourselves in our market. In reality, people (including golfers) aren’t motivated by these factors directly.

The typical method used to get our people to play our facility, take lessons from us or buy from our shop is MANIPULATION. (This is the very same method most businesses use to create a “call to action” for their target customers.) Some examples of manipulation include:

A SALE OR DISCOUNT: Dropping your price…no matter what your product is like, if the price is low enough, people will play your course

URGENCY: “Buy now, limited stock, don’t miss out.”

PEER PRESSURE: “Play our top ranked golf course.” “We have the best instructors and attract the best players.”

PROMOTION: Two-for-one deals, bulk purchases like range cards, online booking engines like GolfNow, Value Books and some of our Value-Adds with merchandise or food/beverage, trial membership programs (no initiation fee, reduced dues, etc.).

There are a few other manipulation strategies and tactics, like Aspiration and Novelty, and they do really work at some level. The proof is in nearly every piece of marketing we see, hear or watch every day of our lives. This is the norm in our everyday world. The problem for us in the golf industry is this: NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THESE METHODS BREEDS LOYALTY. Over the course of time, these methods cost more money, degrade green fee averages, degrade profitability and create stress for us as operators, golf professionals, owners, managers and Board of Directors.

There is an alternative…it’s called INSPIRATION.

There are success stories in our world today, and within our own industry, of golf professionals and facilities who have adapted their own “marketing plans” from generally manipulation based to INSPIRATION AND “ACTIVE MARKETING” with a few key PGA Professionals focusing on their highest and best use to:

  • INSPIRE (help their golfers to find more ways to enjoy golf and the journey in the game)
  • IMPROVE (golfers’ skills and fun levels)
  • INCLUDE (all players, including gender, ethnicity, skill level, etc.)
  • INCREASE (the enjoyment, number of rounds, visit, wallet share of their customers)

In our Golf 2.0 Toolbox, we have collected, (and are continuing to collect,) these examples of INSPIRATION, and I would love to share them with you before you finalize your Business Plan and Marketing Plan for 2013. We also have some great playbooks including CONNECTING WITH HER (just introduced) and KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER that are intended to help you become the highly valuable on-site “go-to expert” for your facility.

I would love to visit with you in person or on the phone about these tools, “better practices” and concepts when you have time, hopefully before you finalize your 2013 Business and Marketing Plan. For those of you I have already visited with, please let me know how I can help you be the INSPIRING LEADER I believe you have the desire to be.

I have really enjoyed getting to visit so many of you this season. Merry Christmas to you and your families this Holiday Season. Hope to see you soon!

Monte Koch
Phone: 206-335-5260
E-mail: mkoch@pgahq.com