Selling Tech to Golfers
When I launched Golf Pulp in 2006, my phone calls to potential clients seemed almost like prophetic outcries - I was selling websites and “internet marketing,” but no one was buying.
There was a tried and true retail model that would be the most sought-after pinnacle of golf business achievement. And while the product companies tried to elbow their way into the shrinking retail shelf space, I busied myself with the goal of proving that e-commerce was to be the next generation of golf business. I credit any success in this industry to my commitment to educate and inform my colleagues on the ever-changing landscape of commerce and the implications of digital trends.
Explaining the value of a website was hard work back in those days, but even more difficult was explaining internet marketing to my ‘tenured’ golf colleagues. However, the lessons learned have prepared me for the emergence of what is to be another iteration of golf commerce: The Emergence of Golf Tech.
The golf tech industry has exploded. Just a quick jog around the aisles of the PGA Merchandise Show was enough to convince me of that. It’s a great sight to see the golf industry on the leading edge of modern sports technology focused on game improvement or enjoyment through the wondrous world of tech.
But in the mad rush to digitize the golf experience I feel our innovators have missed some important steps, and to ensure success, I am digging through my own painful archives to share how I first had to bridge the information gap before I could sell a digital solution.
Where Golf Technology Companies Are Missing the Mark
Most of the emerging technology products are selling a feature-based solution; they are selling the bells and whistles. In this environment, each product promises to be more innovative than the next. It truly is the way the technology sector does business.
However, there is a missing link that could determine the success or failure of this burgeoning product category and it’s all about assumptions.
It’s easy to assume that the end user understands your product. In fact, most of these companies are so diligently involved in product development that they fail to bring their customer along with them on this journey.
A quick reset and reference to the genesis of product innovation would serve every tech company well.
Don’t Assume Your Target Audience - You may be surprised by the willingness of certain market segments to adopt technology, but you should plan on it. The goal is to devise a strategy that can walk prospects through the information path to demonstrate the value of your technology, no matter the age group.
Stop Focusing on Millennials - Sure, millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers in pure numbers, but the spending power, especially in our industry, is still in the hands of the 55-and-older crowd. Keep that in mind when considering branding, packaging and even user interfaces.
Explain and Support - If industry spending trends are skewing towards an older demographic, you must provide resources that aim to close the information gap and clearly state why innovation has a place in this golfer’s solution repertoire. Don’t just assume that a product sold is a customer gained; be prepared to support the purchase with easy-to-use tutorials and traditional customer support channels. This is truly what Baby Boomers need to support their buying decision.
Build a Bridge - The best path to increased sales starts with a bridge. Be ready to walk your most novice prospect through the tech jungle and right to your product. This will require a content marketing strategy with long-term payoff goals, but if executed correctly, this can build your user base and help extend the longevity of your business.