Marketing Lessons from the Golf Course

Lesson #1 – Walk the Course

The Player: Every golfer knows that one course can be dramatically different from others – hillier, angled, {insert your own adjective here}, etc… Even playing the same green day after day can be completely different.

The Marketer: Know your customer! You need to know their preferences, how & when do they use social, is the content relevant to them now, is there shared value? Even the same customer changes with time – so never stop getting to know them. Walk THEIR course.

Lesson #2 – Focus on Where you Want the Ball to Go

The Player: Once you’ve fixed your stance, gripped your club, and you are ready to take the shot…relax. Focus on where you want the ball to go, and the path it will take to get there.

The Marketer: Establish your goals & objectives, and map the preferred customer journey first. Don’t make the mistake of jumping straight to a tactical plan. Focus on the goal, then fill in your tactics.

Lesson #3 – Play Practice Rounds

The Player: Practice, observe, and tweak your grip or stance to improve your swing.

The Marketer: Test, test and retest your marketing activities and track performance. Analytics are key! And don’t be afraid to take risks and be bold. Pivot when necessary.

Lesson #4 – Choose the Right Club for the Shot

The Player: Choosing the right club is one of the most important decision a golfer makes before each shot.

The Marketer: Not every communications channel is right for every audience, or for that matter, for every message. Make sure you’re talking to the customer where they want to be, and when.

Lesson #5 – It’s Not Your Clubs

The Player: The trouble that most of us find with the modern matched sets of clubs is that they don’t really seem to know any more about the game than the old ones did. ~Robert Browning, A History of Golf

The Marketer: The best marketing tools don’t guarantee great marketing. Never stop learning, the world changes fast, and so should your marketing.

Lesson #6 – It’s the Short Game that Counts

The Player: It does take some skill to get the ball on the green, but from there, it’s all about the putting.

The Marketer: Filling the pipeline is not where marketing’s job ends. Supporting your sales team through every step of the customer journey is what wins the game.

Lesson #7 – Etiquette Matters

The Player: Golf etiquette refers to the rules and practices that make the game safer and more enjoyable and minimize damage to equipment and courses.

The Marketer: Never forget that your customers are people, and that once you cross the line, it will take twice the effort to regain their trust. Think about GDPR and Facebook’s recent woes.

Lesson #8 – Networking is Not Optional

The Player: Golf is much more fun when played with a partner or foursome.

The Marketer: Be social. Talk to people in the industry. Share expertise. VOLUNTEER for the AMA! (see what we did there…a little shameless self-promotion never hurt anyone…or did it?)

Lesson # 9 – Never Stop Learning

The Player: Golf lessons are arguably the most efficient way to improve as a golfer. The best way to improve is to work on your golf swing, and there are few golfers on the planet who do not need help.

The Marketer: Talk to experts outside of marketing; talk to your competitors; share your own expertise…and never forget that marketing is changing now, faster than it ever has before. If your marketing gets stale, so will your results.