Thu Aug 7 2014The basics of marketing your club
The basics of marketing your club
The term “marketing” is used very loosely nowadays and the real definition of “marketing” tends to get lost much of the time. It’s such a broad term which covers many aspects of our daily operation. The Webster’s dictionary defines marketing as “the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.”
In operational terms marketing is “everything you do!”
It’s how the phone is answered, how staff engage with members, internal and external advertisements, facility branding, the quality of golf course and clubhouse, the rates charged and the overall experience ultimately provided.
So the moral of the story - don’t waste your money on marketing unless you first have at least a simple plan for what you will be undertaking and more importantly, what specific outcomes you are trying to achieve.
Also, don’t underestimate the importance of consistency in your efforts. It’s better to do the marketing basics right all the time, rather than doing a few great marketing things occasionally.
How to get started
Start the process with a detailed review of your strategic plan and make sure everyone, especially the Board, is in agreement with what is outlined. The next step is to start documenting your current state of affairs. How the club is “positioned” and/or “benchmarked” within the identified target market area.
How is your club currently performing, what are some key outcomes to achieve, and what will be seen as success in your overall marketing efforts?
Having a strong understanding of your current membership base, the local market (within 20 kilometres of your facility), how they best receive information, and what they are interested in will be of great assistance.
The better you can pinpoint your target market, the better they will respond especially if you are able to meet their specific needs.
Once you know what you are trying to achieve and who the target market is, your marketing mediums will become very apparent.
It is important that you create some kind of documented Marketing Plan which outlines all of the above; even if it’s only a simple one page document that you can easily reference from time to time. For each campaign you decide to implement, make sure you track results. Of course financial budget restrictions will come into effect, so being creative with your approach will also be critical to your success.
Set up a yearly calendar of all events already planned - member/non-member, golf and non-golf. The format could be a simple 12-month mud map, an updated version of your Fixture Book or a simple yearly calendar that you have hanging on the wall. The key is to create something that is simple for all involved to use.
By outlining the events, you will start seeing where low periods of activities exist and can pre-plan to build these particular days up through marketing initiatives. Don’t get too much into the details of the entire year, but focus on/within a three month sliding window. Your marketing efforts need to be flexible enough to adjust to external forces and be easily refined once you receive results of current campaigns. If the campaign is not performing well, then you are able to make changes sooner rather than later.
A schedule for communication with each of your target groups is integral to pulling all of the above together efficiently. Having a regular and consistent engagement with your database is very important, e.g. if you decide to do a weekly email blast, then you must keep it going every week. People are creatures of habit so having a regular communication that includes relevant content to the reader is a low cost effective marketing tool and becomes part of their expectation.
Decide on your primary forms of communication - social media, newspaper, email, newsletters, signage etc.
Lack of proper tracking is the main reason why marketing tends to fail. Without tracking the success (or failures) of your marketing efforts, how will you ever know if it is working or if it is cost effective to run again? We can’t emphasise this point enough. It may not be a straight financial return, but it could be higher traffic to your site or more “LIKES” on Facebook. Whatever you ultimately decide to do, identify your starting position and what will be deemed successful for each of your campaigns.
Set clear Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) for each marketing campaign you implement and track your campaign results accordingly.
If you need any further assistance in setting up the above or want to discuss your particular needs, please feel free to contact Mike anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or (+61) 0415 682 259
This story originally publish in Inside Golf November 2012
Mike Orloff is a golf marketing and operations specialist with management experience in the golf industry in Australia and United States. He offers marketing and operational advice for golfing facilities in the areas of revenue generation, membership attainment and retention, new player development, staff recruitment, event management and retail management.
Marketing to grow golf businesses is Mike’s main focus these days.
As a current US and Australian PGA Member, Mike has more than 22 years of experience working his way up from pro shop assistant to general manager of two to five-star operations for two of the biggest international golf management companies globally. Now Mike is offering his experience, knowledge and tools to golf clubs and other golf-related businesses in Australia and New Zealand.
Articles by Mike Orloff