I am finding it more than interesting the attitude by many golf businesses have developed towards dealing with the pull back in the golf economy. In a large number of cases, instead of moving forward to make a change needed to survive in a recession they pull back to doing nothing or go about attempting to do things the Old Way as far as improving their position in a decaying market. It is really a shame to see so many golf facilities and retail establishments take a ‘sit tight’ approach when there are so many very talented professionals around the world who could help the golf industry step out of the muck of trying to get aging processes to work in today’s economy that were set up for the post World War II booming economy.
As social as Golf is as a sport or game you would think the Golf World would quickly adapt get their arms around the benefits of Social Media. Still a vast majority, 55% ,of the facilities I have reviewed their online social networking applications still do not get it. Looking at the bright side, those 45% who are embracing effective social media practices are starting to make a difference, however, 65% of them just started their social media efforts within the past six months placing them having to make a very long uphill putt to win in their markets.
Standard Procedure is Not Stand Procedure In Golf
In a few of the conversations I have been able to have with the people employed to develop social media campaigns for the old traditional golf clubs I am told most golf clubs have no concept of how things have changed around them in the business world. A few of these social media professionals report that their initial meetings started out with them being asked if they could ‘get them onboard with this Social Media thing’.
I have found many of the private sector clubs want to guard their conservative images to a point they will only take the advice of the large box PR/Marketing firms who they feel mirror the image they want to keep. As a result, the new wave approach to social networking, which is the core of social media, is squelched due to these firms insisting on using very old methods of social media. The reasoning behind those decisions to stay behind the cutting edge of marketing are made primarily due to the fact the decision makers are not personally or professional adapt to understanding how social media really works. What takes place is marketing campaigns used by other non-golf industries are placed into effect by these facilities setting the golf clubs, or businesses, up for a long slow death in their markets.
Golf ≠ iPad
Simply taking a successful marketing plan set up for a non-golf related industry and adapting it to a golf related business will not work. Replacing the name of the golf business wherever the word iPad was used and expect the same results that marketing campaign made is what seems to be taking place in the way many golf businesses approach using social media.
What works for hot tech driven products and services to drive their brands to profitability simply does not and will not work in Golf. The golf consumer is a different animal than the non-golfer fad driven gadget consumer who represent the majority of the population of the internet. This is not to say there are no fad gadget tech savvy golfers amongst the citizenship of La-La-Land. However, those few golfers who are online each day for more that setting up a tee time do change hats quickly when their focus moves to looking at Golf related services/products online.
More still needs to be done to bring onto the internet more of the tens of millions of golfers who are not online. A clear picture needs to be painted for the golf consumers so they see the internet as a place they should frequently use. To do this more has to be done to develop viable reasons, or purpose, for golfers to come online. More has to be developed to provide a greater purpose to playing golf than a recreational activity. Once that is done on a broad scale in every vertical of the golf industry’s markets then all of golf, including golf clubs and retailers, will see the interest in their services/products increase from their social media efforts.
Until then, golfers are stuck with looking at some very stale looking golf sites and will have to continue to tolerate the old methods of online marketing the golf industry keeps on using. I am sure one day the golf industry will wake up to the fact they moved too slow in adapting to using effective social media practices. I just hope these golf businesses can survive to see that day.
Let me know how I can help.