You don’t have to go far to see or hear a commercial about something or the other. In reality there are probably more and more commercials you don’t see or hear because, like SPAM ,you have tuned them out. Why? Well, the commercials are not what you came to the internet or tuned into the TV or go to an event to see..is it? I hope not, but then again there probably are people in the universe who are paid to just going around clicking on as many ads as they can so the sponsors see some results..Humm, did I say that?
The world of business revolves around marketing and the centerpiece of marketing is advertising. OK, enough of the Marketing 101, lets get down to what it is businesses are wanting out their advertisements. The answer is simply, they want business..to many money. Why else would they advertise if they did not want people to come to their site or walk into their store to buy something.
What gets people to look at what a business is advertising?
What you are seeing online and on TV is lots of animation and, yes, attractive people that give a good impression of the product. But what drives people to go to the locations where the advertisements are place? Simple again, quality programming online with attractive looking web-sites and sexy displays and on TV, good looking people in quality programming. This is what sponsors feel bring people to look at their advertisements. In the golf arena, golfers go to golf tournaments not to gawk at the trillions of commercial displays but to see the golfers. OK, I will admit I have seen a few thousand fans at the many golf tournaments I have attending that really don’t know why they are there..someone handed them a ticket or something like that..
That is what sponsors want, but is it what they need?
Businesses’ needs are almost the same as their wants. They need for people to check them out and buy something, but what businesses really need is consumer loyalty. It is one thing to get that one sale but a totally different matter when they get the second sale, or repeat business. Many of the business plans I am reviewing for new and old businesses are showing figures on expected return sales. In a large number of these cases they place small margins of profits on the first sale items in hopes the return sale will result in the consumer buying something with a larger margin of profit….yep, the old bait the consumer is used a lot.
In the Golf arena businesses look to capturing the golfers through sponsors of golf events. This coves a broad spectrum of the economy from the local charity scramble to the Title Sponsorship of a PGA Major Tour Event. The investments are different at these two extremes, but the intentions are the same..get their product/service in front of people.
The Golf Sponsors of the world are after tapping into a broader form of advertising. Being a sponsor of a golf tournament covers online and offline marketing very effectively which most sports events do not. It also offers another component of marketing most businesses don’t like, or use effectively, personable offline business networking. What golf sponsors are out to do is capture a market. A golf event is probably one of the best ways to denominate a demographic that on paper is likely to spend more money than other parts of the economy.
The Plan Begins to Crumble
This is where today’s golf sponsors old traditional marketing strategies start to fall apart. In today’s economy golf is being set on the shelf by millions of golfers for justifiable reasons resulting from consumer not being able to afford golf. That throttles down one avenue of advertisers exposure..the golf tournament events. The fewer people playing the game results in fewer people interested in attending a golf event.
That forces more pressure for golf sponsors to move to the other avenues of marketing which leads to these businesses to dig deep into the internet to fulfill those numbers they need to be profitable. That is not working because there are not enough golfers who use the internet to hold their ship a float.
So the sponsors goes back to the golf tournament to look for more ways to get exposure to their products out of the actual golf tournament. They place hundreds of banners and logos, electronic signage, clowns carrying balloons and an army of boots on the ground passing out samples to the paying spectators who did not come to get that stuff..they came to see the golfers.
This is the next stumble in the marketing plan to profit from a professional golf tournament. If the golf tournament does not have the marquee player on the roster the event attendance drops below that of a flea market. So, with the evaporation of the offline real people market goes away because they only go to events , or watch it on TV, when the player they want to see is playing along with the failure of the internet to offer anything of interest for a golfer the businesses interested in sponsoring a professional golf tournament naturally drops. This also trickles down to the Monday morning charity scramble.
There are two failures in the golf sponsorship industry that need to be dealt with. the first is businesses need to get away form using unverifiable numbers to evaluate and value their interest in sponsoring any level of golf tournament. Secondly, golf has got to look to marketing GOLF and not the players of golf, or the number of people who play golf.
So what does golf have to do to survive the pull out of major sponsors for all levels of golf events? All of these events, big and small, depend on sponsor dollars to survive. Other than starting a witch hunt to find who starting the campaign against golf of declaring it frivolous or irrelevant to the economy, I would say there are few options to consider to stop what is causing the problem. So we need to move on and find out how to help golf survive with those oppositions.
A more viable option would be to deal with what golf has been dealt with and find where golf has got to change.
What is at stake with the major businesses pulling out of sponsoring golf events across the board is the complete collapse of the golf industry. You can call it gloom and doom if you want, but the fact of the matter is if there are no sponsors to sponsor golf so golf producers can produce the events on TV then over 80% of the golfers in the world will loose the only convenient way to see how the top players of their game are playing. Millions of golfers measure their play against the professionals. Even beginners start playing golf from being interested in playing like the top players. Close that window for all those golfer fans to see the game of golf and thus goes the interest in golf.
Who will be left will be the golfers who understand golf, love golf for what golf is and does. They will be the few who will have to shouldered the load of the misguided expansion of the game made years ago to accommodate the millions of golfers who started playing the game because they want to try out Tiger’s new swing or show off what Paula Creamer wore at the Women’s US Open.
What golf has to do is help event sponsors achieve their wants and needs. Help those non-golfing executives of the large firms understand that sponsoring a professional golf event fits into how their businesses should be doing business…getting out and seeing what the color of their customer’s eyes are…that can’t be done sitting in the C Suites.
The changes needed in golf is a two way street. Golf and the sponsors of golf have to find new ways to keep golf in front of the golfers of the world.
Golf event producers have to get back to producing quality for the spectators and viewers so they will want to watch golf. Not just come to watch Tiger or Paula, but to watch Golf. Golf has to change the way golf is seen and the professional golfers who profit from golf need to do more than play in a Pro-Am and shake hands with sponsors.
Golf has also got to change the focus of the tour events only purpose as being a tool to raise money for charity. That effort the PGA and LPGA have done for years to raise funds for charities is very commendable and is for a fact more than what most sports can lay claim to. However, it should not be showcased as the only thing those events are doing for the community.
More has to be done to showcase the impact a tour event has on the local and national economy. How many people those events employee fulltime with very good wages.
Golf sponsors expectations of the ROI of being a sponsoring a golf events need to be realistic. Sponsors can’t just write a check and expect that the exposure they get on TV and internet is going to bring in the business. The businesses who get involved as sponsors need to take every advantage to build customer relationship with old customers as well as new customers. Every employee of every department of the corporation should be encouraged to learn to play golf so they can take a customer out for a round of golf. That one effort would bring in hundreds of thousands of golfers into the golf economy.
Throwing cute commercials on TV and the internet may provide some entertainment value for a few, but selling a product in today’s economy will only be done after the consumer knows who it is they are doing business with. The world of marketing has changed back to word of mouth and unless the powers of the golf industry start helping to find ways for sponsors of the pro events to gain the consumers trust then golf as we know will slip away from the everyday golfer.
And as far as those who ask where the figures of increase viewership and hits to golf sites online come from..may be there is something to the advertising firms rounding up a huge posse to hit sites to produce those figures. That is the only way I can see they came up with them.
Let me know how I can help.