To say the golf industry is slow to move into the world of digital technology would not really be an accurate statement. Golf, by nature, is centered around an offline active and since the world is moving rapidly into an online digital age the Golf industry naturally would not be a leader in the tech world.
However, old school non-tech processes, like marketing, are rapidly adapting to being technology based which is where Golf is being left behind. While Golf is out using old forms of marketing their customers are rapidly online where they will not see or hear any of those promotions. Granted, demographics are showing the majority of the golfing population still has not accepted the digital age so naturally the reaction for Golf businesses would be to continue with analog styles of marketing. Unfortunately, these statistics in these demographic reports do not reflect the fact the golf consumers are adapting to the latest technology for their non-golf life which is changing their interests across their entire lifestyle. This change in attitude promotes golfers to use their new found digital technology to enhance their personal and professional life which is leading them away from the Old School ways of doing business. Technology is being accepted by the golfer, but the golf industry is not adapting to using the technology the consumer use fast enough.
This does not mean Golf is taking a back seat to using technology to advance the business of Golf into the current century. One of the many things changing around Golf that is not understood by most golf businesses is Social Media. The main reason the golf industry is having a hard time grasping the enhancements social media can produce for golf businesses is due to social media can only be performed by using technology. Golf clubs and golf businesses are lagging behind other industries and businesses in adapting to what the consumers are using to find golf related products and services. These golfers who are making the jump to the new digital technology become disconnected from their old sources of obtaining information on golf. With these new found tech devices they starting to use the internet to search for what they formerly went to magazines or newspapers to find.
Unfortunately, the golf facilities and businesses who are moving online are not influencing the golfing consumer. Online golfers are not believing what they see of these golf businesses online. Since they are not finding the golf facilities or golf businesses they use to use online or presented online like they were offline they move or click pass them. As a result they lean heavily to their new found friends they have found in social networks.
This leads tech savvy golfers to reading blogs which offers them information, most of the time in deep detail, on the golf business or golf facility they have an interest in know about. Since the golf facilities and golf businesses are not online there really is no other place for the golfing consumer to gain believable information. This ability to find out quickly more information on a golf service demonstrates the power of Social Media in the golf industry. Tragically, most golf clubs, golf instructors, golf retailers and golf manufacturers discount the use of Social Media as not needed for their business.
Many golf businesses disconnect from adapting new ways of doing business because it deals with unfamiliar technology. Most pull back from using social media methods of promoting their businesses due to their thinking Social Media is just a fad. Fortunately, as more and more of these golf clubs and golf businesses reach out beyond the large PR Firms to enlist the help of people who are not influenced by the huge investments in Old School methods of marketing the large firms are indebted to using, they are finding out that Social Media is real and here to stay. Hopefully, more golf clubs and businesses will continue to employee people who understand golf to help them get a foothold in the new way of doing business today.
Some of the things golf businesses, who feel they are using social media, are doing wrong is they are not being social. They do not produce anything outside the company promotions; do not respond directly to consumers and disconnect from the core values of what what makes social media the way business is done today. The reason given for not using the true form of social media is usually based on lack of understanding of what social media is and lack of willingness to commit to what it takes to use social media as it should be used.
Many golf facilities insist in using old school methods of marketing in a social network. Again, the reason is based on their misunderstanding of today’s consumer’s interest and, in most cases, denial that social based marketing will produce anything of value.
Golf businesses find being social online is uncomfortable. Most get hung-up with producing ‘numbers’…how do I deal with thousands of people at once?…how does socializing with people produce revenue?…how do I get an immediate ROI on the time and money spend socializing? All are natural questions business operations managers will ask. However, the lack of understanding what is available to them in the world of technology to use to develop effective social media practices is why these questions are asked.
The Good news is, over the past year, the advancement of technology specifically for the golf industry needs has advanced to a level matching the Old School ways most golf businesses feel comfortable using. With this advancement of tech comes the advancement of new social media tools. The key for golf businesses is to find out quickly how to use the new technology and the social media tools so they can keep up with the jump the golfing consumer will make to what is new. Those golf facilities and businesses who deny anything have changed in the business world will be the ones looking for bankruptcy attorneys. The golf consumers can only hope they will look to getting help understanding what changed before they reach that point.
Let me know how I can help.