PGA Magazine, Don Zozwiak. Interview Topic: Professional’s Role

Smart Advantage CEO Jaynie L. Smith lists the following marketing “musts” that companies across a spectrum of industries, including golf, have to do in order to be successful:
1. Base your plan on unbiased and accurate feedback. Smith says many small businesses, including golf facilities, fall prey to thinking they know their customers better than they do. That includes basing marketing plans on anecdotal feedback from a small group of satisfied customers instead of gathering information from a variety of customers and non-customers.
2. Have everyone on the same page. Relevant marketing depends on internal agreement. It’s difficult to deliver a consistent message or product when different employees or departments don’t share a common vision. Create a mission statement and marketing plan, so your staff members are all waving the same flag.
3. Have a different plan for potential customers than you do for existing customers. Prospects make decisions for different reasons than people who are already customers. Market your facility differently to new golfers or potential new members than you do to avid golfers or existing members.
4. Treat different target markets differently. Just as prospects and existing customers need distinct messages, so do different target markets. Your message needs to be different when you’re marketing to a group of working women vs. a group of retired men, for example.
5. Base investments on what your customer values, not what you value. Again, this is where research into customer opinion is key. A clubhouse renovation may not be a good investment if what your golfers really want is a pool for family activities.
6. Fill operational gaps. What are you not offering that your customers value? Providing daycare may get more young women on the course, or a short game practice area may bring avid golfers out more often.
7. Think about tomorrow more than you think about today. Much of golf marketing is reactive to a month of bad weather or a short-term downturn in memberships. Having a marketing plan will help you keep sight of long-term goals for the bottom line and the identity of your facility.

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