The Pellucid Perspective - February 2016 - (Page 6)

Golf industry marketinG Millenials are only part of the story; Don't forget the rest By stuart lindsay W e spent a lot of time in our recent State of the Industy presentation at the PGA Merchandise Show talking about Millenials. Actually, we have been talking about golf 's participation problem in the 20 - 40 year old age group for the last several years. As we have detailed in the past, there are about 4 million FEWER golfers in that age group today than there were 20 years ago. Millenials are probably the hottest marketing topic on the planet, so it is no surprise that the recent PGA Show was full of it (play on words intentional). After we get done congratulating ourelves for being among the first people in golf to recognize this issue, a little realism is in order. First, market research should be an exact science, but it's not - especially when it applies to breaking down generational trends. Market researchers, sociologists and economists need to establish certain definitions in order to make comparisons, and modern data-driven research has basically started with the post-WWII generation of "baby boomers" and worked its way forward and backward from there in traditional 18 year increments. "Lost Generation" "Silent Generation" "Baby Boomers" "Generation X" "Millenial" 1908 - 1926 1927 - 1945 1946 - 1964 1965 - 1983 1984 - 2002 There is even the historical basis for this 18 year approximation for generational assignment dating back to the Civil War draft ages of 18 - 35 that carried on to the Draft Boards of WWII and beyond. For you history buffs out there, massive New York City draft riots in July, 1863 diverted Union troops from Gettysburg. Some very simple math should tell you that the above ranges are inherently misleading. The "silent generation" credited with winning WWII was actually comprised of people born between 1913 - 1931 and had a lot of people from the "Lost Generation" before it. In short, applying arbitrary date ranges and generational descriptions can lead to some serious miscalculations as we try to document past behavior and predict and act to drive future consumer behavior, which is the ultimate purpose of good market research. These blurred generational lines should be a warning to all of you who are buying into the concept that Millenial Marketing is the most current critical issue in golf. It may be for those that are interested in what happens 15 years from now, but for those of you interested in what is going to happen over the next 5-10 years, spending an inordinate amount of time and money chasing 6 The Pellucid PersPecTive Millenials may end up being effort you can't take to the bank. Using Pellucid's extensive data sources and the innovative creation of the consistent measurement of "Play Rate" (rounds played per capita based on participation and frequency), here is how US golf participation and rounds played are distributed by Age. aGe Group us population play rate % of total rounds played 0 - 34 149,716,259 0.8 19.3% 35 - 54 85,531,751 2.3 31.7% 55 + 84,259,034 3.6 48.9% Keep in mind that none of the 35+ golfers are Millenials and they play over 80% of the golf in the US. You would have to increase Millenial involvement by 40% to match a 10% increase in involvement in the 35+ group. On a current basis, what efforts have a better chance of bringing the most immediate improvement? While we may have been the first to point out the flagging participation among GenX and Millenial golfers, we were also the first to talk about the challenges of setting "Senior Rates" so you don't get blindsided by a drop in revenue as more rounds are played at those rates. We have also predicted that these generally "avid" older golfers will try to fix the cost of their involvement - the increase in membership rolls and season pass sales being seen in Florida and other retirement destinations should be noted and addressed. Another data point of note in our SOI presentation was that 85% of all reservations to play golf are still made the "old fashioned way" - in person and speaking over the phone. If you want to earn your customers' business and loyalty, you should be paying attention to staff training and the prompts on your telephone system. Also, before you buy or barter for a new tech solution aimed at making your course friendly to Millenials, you might want to pay attention to its integration with your other tech platforms and your ability to provide better in-person service. You also should make sure it doesn't give a "booking and/or price advantage" to that group versus the bigger group that may not be digitally living inside their telephones. Probably the biggest disappointment at the PGA Show was talking to various technology vendors about integration - making their solutions work with other platforms. For example, when talking about making the "game arrangement" process easier and faster (a feature found in Golf Pipeline, Group Looper, Boxgroove and ForeTees), several vendors took the old February 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - February 2016

PerformanceTrak rides off into the sunset: What’s next?
Millenials are only part of the story; don’t forget the rest
Scoundrels or saviors depends on one’s point of view
January golf weather impact: All good things come to an end
Tough love, brother, in Philly market
Slow life in the fast lane

The Pellucid Perspective - February 2016