Inside GCMA 2021 Conference: Scott Seaborn

In a profile of those who will be speaking at Wyboston Lakes Resort, Scott Seaborn, head of digital acceleration at Capita Consulting, explains how he’ll help you tackle technology…

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I used to be a creative technologist and my early career was in making mobile applications. I work for an advertising group called WPP, and the agency Ogilvy, and we made many applications which became quite famous names.

We were involved in things with British Airways, HSBC, and all sorts of other brands. Then I moved to Nectar and got involved in customer relationship management and mobile. Today, I work at Capita Consulting. I’m the head of digital acceleration in our cloud engineering guild.

How excited are you about presenting at GCMA 2021 Conference?

I’m really excited. I’m a golfer myself – although I only play off 21.

I’ve been playing for about five years and my son got me into it. He’s much better than me. We’re lucky enough to have a membership at Hindhead and there’s nothing better than getting out for nine holes with your son, and you’re miles away from the clubhouse. They’re just quality moments, so I fully recommend it to anyone.

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And the opportunity to talk to golf club managers is something you’re really anticipating?

Absolutely, I think some really interesting stuff has happened and is happening with golf. The last time we saw this kind of thing was when Tiger Woods gave the game a real boost back in the 90s and you saw all the memberships filling.

I’m really interested to see how we can use digital to help keep that. I imagine when everything changes, and things open up again, there may be some attrition.

[For] all of the new members, we need to work out logical ways of customer relationship management to keep them happy and keep them playing.

You’re giving a keynote session on ‘Using mobile technology to create loyalty and engagement’. Talk us through what you’re going to be presenting to GCMA members…

The first section is quite a fun history of mobile technology and the human race. We go all the way back to 1000s of years BC and we look at the pace of change.

What you’ll see is, the closer we get to today, the faster and faster and faster the pace of change is. It’s mind boggling how quickly things are changing so we start off with that.

Then we go into the mobile format. It’s much like any other creative format. If you’re painting a picture, oil paint dries differently to watercolour and so you do different things.

It’s about understanding digital and mobile in the format perspective, so you can use its unique elements. We’ve got a dual section which looks at customer relationship management and a lot of the membership tactics [we used] from Nectar – how to get people loyal and reward people.

Finally, we look at some of Joe Macloed’s work, which is around Ends, and how companies, and golf clubs don’t really have an end.

If you’ve been a member for 30 years and you leave, and it finishes, it just ends. I think that’s an interesting thing to bake into the product, in order to help with this attrition. That’s really useful in other industries and I think it might apply to golf as well.

You’re also giving a breakout session on mobile technology and the customer journey for golf club members. What can members learn here?

This is about new ways of working. In the old days when you’d make an app or website, you would work everything out before you started. It’s called waterfall, and you’d kind of waterfall all of that investigation into building a great big thing.

If it was wrong, or not great, you were kind of stuck with it. These days we work in Agile and Lean and we use design thinking.

What that means is you do something very quickly, very small, and you try and fail as many times as you can and learn from that and iterate.

So you do something on digital, or SMS or WhatsApp or whatever, with 10 members. You get it wrong, get them to help you tune it, and then move to 20, than 100 and then 1,000. There are some proper takeaways of how to do that.

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It seems adoption of technology in golf has been accelerated by the pandemic. As a sport, we sometimes haven’t been the quickest to utilise the digital options available to us. What advice would you give GCMA members grappling with this?

I’m on a number of club WhatsApp groups, for example, and they seem to be kind of left to the members. WhatsApp is a really powerful channel. You can have all sorts of useful services through that channel.

One of the case studies I’m going to show is a piece we did on WhatsApp for the German government where they used it to train people to learn German.

They had a big influx of refugees – this was many years ago – and on WhatsApp they had a language school. It was really powerful and useful for them.

It’s kind of the opposite of, ‘let’s open a WhatsApp group and let everyone run with it’. I think that applies across the board, and I’ve got some other ideas for other things like Instagram and other mobile technologies.

Delegate places and Breakout Sessions are filling up quickly for GCMA 2021 Conference at Wyboston Lakes Resort, staged from November 21 to 23. Check out the full programme, book your sessions, and get all the information you need by visiting our dedicated website here.

By GCMA Content Team

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