These are campaign strategies and sales systems built on research and tested in the marketplace that has been proven to work.
Two things you must know before you even start to think about designing a marketing campaign—your product, and your target (prospect). Hopefully, you already know your product like the back of your hand and you have done your research profiling your ideal target. As far as deciding what vehicle is best fitted for delivering your message your budget and goals will determine that. We have provided another tab in this section; a study of the “pros” and “cons” of various mediums of media to help you on your quest.
This information, however, is focused on getting your targets (prospects and guests) through the door and building relationships (loyalty), and getting them to commit to your club.
Let’s start with marketing concepts and capturing your audience’s attention with your message.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.”
Circle of insanity:
- Have to change/too much pain
- Take action
- Pain reduces
- Lose your drive
- Stop taking action
- Back to where you started
- Worse than when you started
- Have to change/too much pain/start the cycle over
Most properties are just doing the same old e-mail blasts, newspaper ads, etc., that they have done for the past five, ten, and even fifteen years, or even worse, copying their competitors when they see something different. Doing the same old advertising and promotions year after year is “insane”.
People are motivated/moved by two driving forces—pain and pleasure. You must eliminate the painful emotions associated with your products/services and replace them with pleasurable emotions/feelings to your products/services. This can easily be accomplished with the appropriate delivery system of the desired message through a well-thought-out marketing/branding campaign designed and implemented by MMC®.
In today’s economic climate (or anytime for that matter) big investments scare people, and as you know, “being afraid” is a negative emotion. We can eliminate that negative feeling by re-packaging our offerings with a lower barrier to entry (often confused with lower barrier to entry) for our prospects to become members. This is not discounting; you are simply re-directing the revenue stream.
One technique employed by MMC® is to design golf memberships with a lower point of entry as a “hook” (the draw) for grabbing the attention of the masses. Golf memberships then can be upgraded during or after the point of sale e.g. the airline industry.
There are many hooks that can be used (other than a low point of entry often confused with a low barrier to entry), this is just “one” example. First set a goal, and then that desired outcome will determine the “hook” necessary to achieve the desired result.
Note: price can never be your only point of leverage, nor can it be presented as the superior part of your product and services. It can only be used as a “hook” to get the prospects through the door.
This is where most copycats sink the ship when trying to do this kind of promotion on their own. All they see is the tip of the iceberg that is visible above sea level (the hook) but fail to see the mammoth support structure beneath.
Even when this marketing “hook” is deployed there is no danger of engaging the undesirable consumer thanks to MMC®’s in-depth research on qualifying potential targets.
MMC® will guide you through this process, but in the end, you are still the boss and you have to approve the terms and conditions of the golf membership.
By listening to the feedback/pushback from other industry’s consumers e.g. the airline industry; we marketers are able to learn a lot from their successes and failures.
Using the airline scenario; customers that have flown for many years in the past absolutely hate the new airline à la carte system, feeling they are being nickeled and dimed. Contrary to the new customers, new to flying, and not conditioned to the old system, love the à la carte system; perceiving it as only paying for what they use.
It is difficult to change the pre-conditioned buying habits of the existing customer, whereas, it is very easy (with the proper training) to condition the buying/spending patterns of the new customer.
MMC® starts conditioning new members’ spending habits before they enter your golf club.
Unlike the airline industry, MMC® believes existing pre-conditioned members should be allowed to sustain their status quo; while bringing some of the new members in on a new “à la carte” golf membership with an option of upgrading to an all-inclusive “golf membership”.
MMC® customizes the golf memberships around your existing business model (it’s not discounting; it’s repackaging).
MMC®’s approach is to design three levels of golf membership. Starting with an entry-level golf membership (limited days of use) with a low point of entry and all other services are à la carte. I reiterate, this system is not discounting; it is simply redirecting the revenue stream. You will collect less upfront but you will receive more over the term of their golf membership.
Next, a mid-level golf membership with no limitations to the days of use, they pay a higher golf membership entrance fee and also follows the à la carte system. In most cases, under this system, these golf members pay as much or even more, than the course is currently receiving from its existing members under its current dues structure.
The final golf membership is the full, all-inclusive, golf membership you might currently have in place today. This is the golf membership level everyone will secretly aspire to. These are the members who play 50 to 100 times a year, they want to play all the premium times including Saturday and Sunday mornings at 8:00, they want people to know their names when they get to the golf course, they want to have the cleanest carts, they want to play in all the club events whether tournaments or leagues, they don’t want to be charged additional fees, they want to walk in the clubhouse and get immediate attention and recognition, they want to play a round with the pro, they want to charge at the bar and restaurant, they want to attend the social functions, and etc. This quality of service and attention commands a premium golf membership fee.
The level of service from the “entry-level” golf membership to a “platinum” golf membership is like trying to compare big beautiful red delicious apples to a few peanuts; there is no comparison.
With this approach to marketing, MMC® converts fickle, price-jumping golfers into committed, loyal, free-spending members of their new home. Once you have the customer in a committed relationship it gives you the time to “sell” them on staying a member.
These principles of marketing can be applied to all golf courses from municipal properties to country clubs; just do your research, know your target market and adjust the golf membership hook accordingly.
Let’s move on to psychology as it relates to selling golf memberships, products, and services.
Psychology of selling is one of the many reasons MMC® chose to sell golf memberships as opposed to annual passes, punch cards, season passes, preferred player’s cards, etc. We are well aware that some properties are anti-membership for various reasons, but still elect to sell golf packages, annual passes, punch cards, preferred player’s cards, etc. Some owners/operators feel the “member” is beating the system, i.e., getting too much value for deep discounts; or maybe they have encountered other negative scenarios that have linked up negative feelings to having “members”.
These golf courses are failing to see the enormous psychological advantages of calling it a membership as opposed to a player’s card or annual pass. When asked, the golfer always refers to his/her golf package/annual pass as a golf membership, even if it’s to a municipal course.
Question: Why do you think everyone from the airlines to blockbuster videos has membership/loyalty programs?
Answer: They know the value of meeting the consumer’s psychological needs.
Knowing the needs and wants of your audience and how your product can satisfy those needs and wants is critical to your success.
You might golf because it makes you feel successful. Some golf because it allows them to connect with their friends, others golf to build new relationships or rekindle old relationships, and some golf because it is challenging and they are excited to see how well (or how poorly) they will play.
You must know what emotional reason the customer in front of you is chasing so you can let them experience that feeling right then and there so they will link extreme pleasure to your property. The biggest mistake we can make is to think each golfer is at our door for the same reason or is interested in the game for the same reasons that we are.
One of the biggest mistakes we learned as a kid growing up is the “golden rule”. Treat others the way “you” want to be treated. We need to treat others the way “they” want to be treated.
There are four basic personality types:
1. Director: straight to the point;
2. Relater: wants to know how everyone else feels;
3. Analytical: wants every detail;
4. Socialist: wants to socialize
If a director treats an analytic the same way he wants to be treated (get straight to the bottom line), is the analytic (wants every detail) going to want to do business with him? Of course not, at least not in the beginning.
All of us have a little of each personality in us. Sometimes we want to know how others feel about something, we just want to get to the point in some scenarios, we have the need to socialize on some level, and we all want to go through the details at one time or another in our life. But we all have a dominant personality type, and it is your job to figure out your guests.
After you figure out the personality type you are dealing with, next, you must know the top two emotional needs that drive your guest. Everyone has the same six basic core needs. The difference is which two are at the top that drives us in our decisions. Your job is to find out which two are driving (motivating) your guest.
For example, if a person feels (or associates the feeling of) significance from having a golf membership; you will want to make sure he/she feels significant during the tour. This is an important emotion he/she is trying to attain and you want to make sure they feel it in your golf club.
Consumers buy for emotional reasons and justify their purchases with logical reasons. For example, when you see a sports car commercial what is the first thing that catches your eye? Is it the shiny red sports car, or the hot model? The hot girl of course! Professional marketers know people buy for emotional reasons and justify their decisions with logical reasons. The guy links up in his mind that he will get a girl like that if he drives a car like that. After he purchases the car he tells everyone that he bought it for the dependability and great gas mileage.
Part of MMC®’s focus is on meeting the SIX core emotional needs of the consumer.
You must know your targeted market and design your advertisement to trigger their core emotional needs.
This is another reason why MMC® focuses on golf memberships.
The feeling associated with the word “member” corresponds with the feelings of belonging, significance, connection, growth, certainty, contribution, etc. You can call it what you want, e.g., Player’s card, or annual pass; but if you want to start building loyalty, we recommend golf membership.
The key to golf membership sales is to find the win-win combination of giving the prospective member enough value to get them in the door, without giving them too much value relative to their investment. But how much is enough and not too much? MMC® will guide you through this process from our years of experience and research.
Consumers also associate certain feelings to everything in life including products and services. If you are going to be successful in the industry you must learn the negative and positive emotions/feelings that your prospects associate with your product and services. Then you must come up with a way to replace the negative with the positive.
This can be done with the proper ad copy and design. Your goal is to get the prospect to link positive emotions to your product no matter what your history in the market has been, good or bad. You always hear the word “branding”; this is the elementary step of building a brand.
We hope you have found this information to be of great value. Please take time to view the entire site for additional free tips on growing the game, your course, and your career. Watch the videos, read the text and pick and choose what is valuable to you and fits your current and future business model.
Partner with MMC® today in growing the game, your course, and your career.