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The new dimensions to golf membership marketing

POSTED ON October 6, 2016 @ 11:39 am

When was the last time you had one of those “light bulb” moments, you know when you get the sudden realisation on some topic and go WOW!  I get it now or I see it in a new way? My most recent “light bulb” moment was last month while facilitating the Annual National Participation Forum organised by Golf Australia.

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) was presenting on a few different subjects and one of their topics- Market Segmentation– really got me thinking and reviewing a better way of marketing to members and golfers at our clubs.

“Market Segmentation involves dividing a market into groups of people/consumers with similar needs, attitudes and behaviours.” 

Industry wide we typically only have ever segmented our members primarily by gender and in some cases by age. We haven’t really taken into consideration other elements of members such as Stage in life, wants/needs, attitude, and behaviour. These elements can be very different and are ever changing throughout our entire life. What was important for me as a young adult will not be the same when I’m married or retired. What is important for a female may be have the same importance as a male, etc.

We haven’t had the technical know-how to dig this deep into our market groups and tend to market our clubs to really a relatively small cross section of our potential market. We also don’t have a diverse enough range of products or the facilities to attract many of the other segmentations needed to grow our membership base.

The ASC research recently conducted has blown this narrow mindedness wide open and over the coming years I think we’ll start focusing more on getting to know our members much better than we currently do.

The ASC recently commissioned a ‘needs-based consumer centric market segmentation’ model for Australian sports participants (players) and non-sports participants (non-players). The following is an excerpt from thei report which outlines what they have found.

“Australians are becoming increasingly time-poor and, for many, more restricted in terms of budget. Changing lifestyles and competing forms of entertainment have created an increasingly complex landscape, making it difficult to understand the changing attitudes and behaviours of Australians in relation to sport.

Furthermore, past research has shown that sport preferences have changed over the last ten years with an increased uptake in sport being played in a non-organised environment, versus a stagnation of participation in organised sport.

The ASC research developed two Market Segmentation models; one for Adults (aged 14 to 65 years) and one for Children (aged five to 13 years).

The purpose of the Market Segmentation Study for both Adults and Children was to uncover, explore, identify and clearly articulate the different motivations, attitudes, needs and barriers that influence people’s decisions and behaviours in relation to sport and, in particular, participation in club-based sport. The study is designed to help clubs understand the market and more effectively target their approaches to particular segments.

In line with the changing consumer preferences, both Market Segmentation Studies identified that sports will need to adapt their offerings if they are to stay relevant to the Australian consumer.

Segments

The Market Segmentation Study provides key insights regarding how participation in sport among the Australian adult population (aged 14-65 years) is affected by:

  • Sport delivery that focuses on competition rather than fun and enjoyment
  • A lack of flexibility around the scheduling of sport in traditional sporting clubs
  • Organising individuals and teams according to talent rather than retaining friendship groups
  • Limited opportunities for people with limited sports competency to join sporting clubs
  • Self-consciousness amongst adolescents and embarrassment by their lack of sporting ability.

The Study identifies ten consumer segments among the Australian adult population:

  • Current club member segments — Loyalists, Socially Engaged, Sport Driven and Apathetic Clubbers
  • Non-club member segments — Sidelined Sportsters, Club Wary, Ponderers, Self Focused, Sport Indifferent and Sport Atheists.

How can golf use the Market Segmentation?

Both studies identified a significant number of Australians who view and engage with sport quite differently, particularly in terms of how they want to play sport. This research provides insight to the needs and wants of the Australian consumer as it relates to sport participation and more specifically club-based participation. These insights and other statistical data can be used to inform the development of targeted sports delivery strategies (both products and services), to either retain or attract new participation.

They do this by enabling sports to take a look at their current product and service offerings and assess whether they are meeting the needs of the various consumer segments. It also considers whether modifications to existing or new offerings would retain current or attract new consumer segments. In addition, the research sized each of the ten segments; for example, how large or how many adults fall within each segment across the total Australian adult population. Most importantly, by understanding the relative size of each segment sports are able to determine where the greatest potential for retention or acquisition may exist and therefore how to invest their efforts.  

In Summary

If we get to know more about the people we want to market to- we can devise new, more specific, strategies and products to attract them and more importantly retain them longer.

Source and further details available www.ausport.gov.au/

If you are in need of assistance for planning, better services standards, or marketing please drop me a line at mike@golfindustrycentral.com.au or call 0415 682 259 any time to discuss.

Click here for our available marketing services.

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