Using Content Marketing to Your Advantage

Content Marketing was unknown in 1956 when wily Sam Phillips, the Memphis-based musical producer who launched Elvis Presley on his path to stardom two years earlier, realized he was hosting something worthy of attention … four Hall of Famers singing together. Many private clubs may be missing similarly engaging, newsworthy and interesting events that show the lifestyle proposition of the club through online messages and images intended to stimulate interest.

Like many private clubs, Phillips’ Sun Records Studio was a news-making place. On this day, rockabilly legend Cark Perkins was in the studio to record a follow-up to his “Blue Suede Shoes” hit. Hanging out with Presley and Perkins was his friend, Johnny Cash whose “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Walk the Line” had made him a star. The fourth member of this coincidental foursome was a brash pianist by the name of Jerry Lee Lewis, who was working sessions for Phillips at $15 per hour.

Phillips, ever the promoter, sent for a photographer at the nearby Memphis Press-Scimitar, whose image of the four ran with the caption that has become legend, “Million Dollar Quartet.” That is content marketing.

Your club can communicate—not advertise—events and activities that may be of interest to members and the broader audience of potential members. Global Golf Advisors estimates that less than 10 percent of the 4,400 clubs in North America are full with a waiting list. So, most clubs need to fortify their brand awareness for prospective members. Those prospects are often friends of current members.

Here are six ways for private clubs to put content marketing to work:

  1. Build and share a photo library. Develop a ready supply of professionally produced photos of the club and its amenities. Inform local and regional lifestyle publications, who may benefit from ready-to-use images of the local community lifestyle.
  2. Curate interesting content that helps others get to know your club. From the children’s holiday gingerbread-decorating parties to chef’s table and wine- or spirits-tasting events, encourage your club members to share their stories and photos. Many non-members will be interested to learn more about their friend’s club.
    Reward loyalty with games. Nowadays gamification—using incentives and points to encourage participation—is popular and productive. Your members can drink and dine in many venues.
  3. Reward them for thinking often of the club first. Set objectives that increase usage and capture-of-wallet metrics for your club.
  4. Increase engagement efficiency with infographics. Your members are busy. Brief them and make it quick! Use images collected in one format to provide quick snapshots of club news, such as financial results, membership growth, special events and activities that should be added to their calendars.
  5. Expand the social reach of your club. Use social media in the ways and to the extent appropriate for your club. The great force of social media is its connectivity and expansive reach. Create focused social media messaging that reinforces the core values of your club. The keys are to plan all messages and posts; communicate on programs and events in ways that maintain your club’s private status; tell the story that your club is always improving itself through photographs of new furnishings and fitness equipment; and, reinforce your club’s commitment to environmental stewardship and engage members with the flora and fauna of the club through nature-oriented stories and photographs.
  6. Tap into the mobility of your members. Everyone seems to be on the go these days. See that your club’s mobile app is capable, robust, and current. The most frequent mistakes made by private clubs are having a mobile app that doesn’t work and outdated content or incorrect time or date coordinates. Be mobile and be accurate.

The musical greats entertained themselves singing their shared roots in gospel music during production breaks. While content marketing can create immediate impacts, the nickname given them quickly caught on with rock-and-roll fans who would not actually hear the music made that day for 25 years when the first portions of the lost tapes were discovered and released.

This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for the National Club Association. Henry DeLozier is a principal at Global Golf Advisors, a Legacy Alliance Partner of the National Club Association. GGA serves club management professionals from offices in Toronto, Phoenix and Dublin (IR).

5 Steps to Creating a Marketing and Communications Plan

Building an efficient and effective marketing and communications plan for your business can be challenging and the approach you take can have a dramatic effect on the outcome.  We wholeheartedly believe, and have witnessed repeatedly, that the best plans are built with purpose and on a foundation of research.

The following article contains a proven and systematic approach to guide you when building your marketing and communications plan for 2017, along with suggestions and ideas to help you develop a solid base of research.

This article was authored by GGA Partner Derek Johnston and GGA Senior Manager Michael Gregory for Golf Business Canada magazine

 

January 2017 Edition of the SI Insider Newsletter

Welcome to the INSIDER, a private communication for Strategic Intelligence (SI) subscribers. Each issue will bring you insights and research from GGA’s Club Management practice as well as tips to help you derive the most from your SI platform’s custom reporting, tools and dashboards.



New Research

Gauging the Impact of National Trends on Private Clubs


In this inaugural issue, we are excited to unveil the results of the latest social and economic survey of trends that have, or in the near future, will have, the greatest impact on private clubs. The research paper, available for download below and through the Insights section of your SI Portal, provides insights garnered from 150 club managers at North America’s elite, top-performing clubs.

Download Research Paper

SPOTLIGHT
Sophisticated business intelligence is having a high degree of impact on private clubs, with 81% rating the impact as ‘high’ or ‘very high’:

TREND: There is increasing adoption of more sophisticated business intelligence for decision making. This includes the tracking and analysis of financial and operational performance trends, market pricing trends and positioning, member satisfaction and net promoter score, comparable club benchmarking, and targeted market segmentation.

BEST PRACTICE
Planning Ahead. Private clubs have made a comeback since 2008, what are the important ‘to do’ items for a club’s success today? There are at least five characteristics that separate top-performing clubs from those that are not…
Read More
INSIGHTS
Member Insights Empower Clubs… That Listen. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower” – Steve Jobs.Listening to and measuring insights from your membership is a practice your board and management should embrace if they are to predict and navigate the inevitable change that is coming to every club.

 

 

Read More



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Championship Experience

To the untrained ear, the quiet whispers of winter prevail at the Quail Hollow Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C. But behind the scenes, where superintendent Keith Wood and team are preparing for the 2017 PGA Championship, there are the unmistakable sounds that come in the days leading up to a major golf championship. Soon the season’s solitude will be replaced by soul-shaking roars rolling like thunder through the Carolina pines, and Wood knows, there’s not a moment to spare.

Here is a preview of what is afoot as Quail Hollow readies for the 99th PGA Championship, with a few lessons sprinkled in for those who may never see a major at their course.

The Process of Preparation

“There are three keys that I watch: agronomics, playability and personnel,” says Wood, who began work on the championship when he came to Quail Hollow in May 2015. “Agronomically, it’s is all about plant health and making sure the turf has enough fuel to make it through a very busy lead up to tournament week without too much stress.”

Wood is hosting his 10th professional tournament, and past experience tells him he needs to harden the turf so it can stand up to heat and severe mowing heights, but without appearing stressed. “Playability is all about grain control on tightly cut Bermudagrass fairways, greens and approaches. Also, conditioning the Bermudagrass rough to play very difficult without being out of control at an insane height of cut,” Wood adds.

He must also make sure his team is ready for any contingency – especially those doled out by Mother Nature. Even more of an unknown are the volunteers, for whom his staff will share leadership duties prior to and during the week of the championship. “The prep that goes into recruiting volunteers is something we take very seriously,” he says. “Then the training that is done by our full-time staff during tournament week really sinks in and the entire team comes together.”

Learning from Others

Building the infrastructure to accommodate a championship event is a phase of preparation that largely goes unnoticed. General manager Tom DeLozier and his team have been learning from other professional venues and events since 2009, working as part of the team at the Masters, U.S. Open and Open Championship.

Of course, Quail Hollow is no newbie to PGA events, having hosted the highly regarded Wells Fargo Championship for a number of years. But there’s nothing quite like a major championship, DeLozier says.

“The PGA of America is an exceptional organization that has a tremendous championship team who are experts in hosting major events,” he says. “They have been critically involved in everything we have done since the beginning. The core championship team has relocated to Charlotte and been on our property since the fall of 2015.”

Patrick Finlen knows the long hours and anxiety that are now the norm at Quail Hollow. Finlen was the director of golf course operations (who rose to the GM job) when The Olympic Club near San Francisco hosted the 2012 U.S. Open Championship.

“The best preparation would be to work at a course hosting a major,” Finlen says. “If you can’t do that, I would attend as many majors as you can as a spectator and as a volunteer. That gives you a view from two very important perspectives. Outside the ropes you get to see the course as thousands of fans will. Inside the ropes you get to understand what it takes to prepare a course the week before and during a championship. Each superintendent and course prepares in similar and dissimilar ways. The more you can experience that, the better prepared you will be.”

Enjoy the Experience

Those who have lived through a major championship know the week will fly by and soon enough the crowds and their roars will be gone. “The absolute best lesson I learned was to be patient and enjoy the experience,” Finlen says.

But what if the biggest event happening at your facility this year is the club championship? As Wood, Finlen and others will tell you, many of the same lessons apply:

  • Preparation never starts too early
  • Train your people for the unexpected
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of others, and never be too proud to learn
  • Take time to stop and smell the roses or, in this case, the Bermudagrass.

 

This article was authored by GGA Partner Henry DeLozier for Golf Course Industry.

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