From the Diploma: What is Marketing?

There are myriad views on what marketing is. There are thousands of quotes regarding it, but it is generally recognised to be a process where companies create a conscious pre-planned campaign that requires the management team to set a specific measurable objective for the golf club. Golf clubs are typically slow adopters of marketing - believing their membership are happy with the product being delivered without any real data, other than anecdotal, to support this view. It is essential to consider what your customers think about you and the club to get a different perspective. It is not uncommon to become fixated on the ‘what’ or the ‘how’ of marketing. WHY we are marketing and remembering to engage with customers is increasingly very important. Focus is a major challenge and understanding what your club is trying to deliver, why and to whom is an essential starting point. In the broadest sense, marketing is about facilitating change. There is a difference between marketing and selling. Marketing will raise awareness but then you need a strategy to convert awareness to a sale. It is important to engage with people to get their opinions. Perception is important, and can become reality, so customer interaction is essential. How can you become effective and successful if you never engage with your customers? Among many things, marketing should be seen as a proactive process: creating value, positive perceptions and understanding what is impacting on your customers. It is the power of observation! Over the next five to 10 years, understanding WHO our customers will be, what their requirements will be and how clubs will change to meet these new demands is the challenge. Golf clubs will need to fundamentally re-think the processes and their value propositions by which they identify, communicate and deliver value to customers. There are some key questions that the workshop focuses on to start to engage with marketing processes and understand value propositions: Why should people bother to buy from a golf club? What makes your club different from other clubs? What do customers think of you? Are you giving customers what they want today...and tomorrow? So what is the marketing process? There are two models that will help you consider marketing and how to engage it. The first, shown in the table above, is a traditional view which encourages investigating and understanding the marketplace in which you operate and those customers within it. This would then lead to the creation of a strategy and programme that delivers value to customers, ultimately ensuring they are delighted and are actually expecting to purchase your ‘product.’ This maybe an ‘intangible’ experience as well as a ‘tangible’ good golfing facility. If all this is done well, we will capture value. Many large businesses adopt this ‘considered’ approach but it is still highly applicable to smaller organisations. The second, shown below, is a more fluid model. Namely, understand your issues and act fast! It suggests trying pilot schemes with little investment and seeing what happens. Sometimes the best...
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