A Mix of Strategies Makes for a Successful Golf Marketing Plan
If you think that a once-a-month ad for your course is going to generate hundreds of golfers… keep reading. If you think a $5-off coupon in all the local taverns is effective marketing… keep reading. If you think that the Friday night couples' league with dinner specials is the marketing solution… keep reading. If you think that a direct mail campaign offering your course's golf package with the nearby Hampton Inn is the answer… keep reading. And if you think that a mixer for potential new members will sell your membership… keep reading.
It is not one or two of these marketing strategies that make for effective marketing; rather it is the combination, or mix of properly planned and carefully implemented marketing strategies that will pay handsome dividends in the cash register.
Marketing plans are an extremely important part of your business and should be developed in the off-season and used as a road map to guide you and the staff through the golf season. The plan may be developed by the general manager, golf professional, membership and/or sales manager, or with outside assistance from a qualified advertising agency or golf consulting firm. The same group will each play a role in implementing the plan's marketing strategies.
The marketing plan should have five main components;
1. The situation analysis - Where are we now? This will require some research and analysis, especially on key results (including rounds, high demand times, and revenues). Do you need to fill weekday afternoons, add more members, generate more weekday outings, increase the pricing on the weekends due to demand, generate more tourist play? Knowing where you are now will help determine your objectives and the strategies needed to meet these objectives.
2. Objectives - Where do we want to go? Based on the situation analysis, develop objectives that will strengthen the weak areas and improve key results. Setting objectives helps you plan where you want to go, so that your strategies will focus on meeting those objectives.
3. Strategies - How do we get there? This is the marketing mix that includes direct sales, promotions, pricing, advertising, direct mail, collateral, and public relations. It is a combination of these various strategies that will help you meet your objectives. It may include some of the ideas in the opening paragraph, and doing all of them will lead to marketing success.
4. Action Plan - Who is going to do what and when? This is a detailed outline of steps that will be used to implement the strategies. Responsibilities and due dates are assigned and managing the action plans will ensure that the strategies are being implemented.
5. The Budget - How much will it cost? Each of the strategies will have costs associated with them. A careful prioritizing based on past experience and the best chance for the greatest return will help you develop a reasonable budget. There is not a magic formula.
Golf marketing success will not come from a once-a-year marketing brainstorming session, nor will it come from placing one ad just because the salesman called. Rather, the keys to effective golf marketing are to develop a well thought out marketing plan with a mix of marketing strategies that are designed to help you meet your objectives.