Archive for April, 2009

Based on NGF research, word of mouth is the number 1 reason that a golfer will try another course from the one that they most frequently play.

Additionally, based on empirical evidence presented in the new NGF report, #1 Way to Grow Revenues, we know that a loyal customer will deliver close to one new customer to facilities through the positive referrals they issue. Yet for every disloyal customer, they will cost you close to one full customer through negative word of mouth referrals. Multiply those numbers by what an average customer will spend at a typically priced golf course and that will equal an additional $542 in new business to be delivered from positive referrals. Conversely, each disloyal customer will cost facilities on average $444 in lost business through the negative referrals that these customers will issue.

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This is close to a $1000 spread between loyal and disloyal customers!


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Faced with a superior business model, marketers are slow to shift gears.Why??? Marketing leaders brought up through a world of advertising agencies, TV spend and print media have had to work hard to adjust to a new digital, web based world. New media is inherently more risky, only because returns from traditional marketing – although relatively poor – are understood. Few companies measure word of mouth, let alone guarantee its positive result. Customer communities? Viral marketing?  Many golf businesses don’t even email market.   Why do many golf businesses not email market?  The internet has been around for over fifteen years.  The answer is that many golf businesses will stick with the marketing methods that they know – even to the point of failure – because the personal risks of change are too high to experiment.

Customer experience is not a traditional focus within a marketing department. Many marketing departments will equate advertising spend to power of the organization. Spending tens of thousands of dollar on creative advertising for print, billboard, tv and radio is the way marketers have always done business in the past, so why change?

First, golf businesses need to accept at executive levels that the model has changed and is not going back. Once we accept that the current model of advertising is not working, the relative risks of investing in word of mouth drops.

It’s worth recalling the maxim that “nothing kills a bad product like good advertising.”

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