Have You Herd? – January 2019

By: Rich Katz, Founder & Managing Director

Ultimate Influence

America loves lists and golf course rankings and ratings are no exception.

They represent tried and true outlets for golfers’ decision-making on their next playing destinations.  This influence applies to golf courses and resorts within driving distance as well as those requiring short- and long-haul flights.  Private clubs can creatively leverage rankings to gain new and retain existing members.

It’s been reported 50% of golfers planning buddy trips, family resort stays and daily, multi-day and week-long journeys consult “best-of” lists before booking.

Most annual and bi-annual rankings and ratings systems – delineated by state, region, nation and even global – are administered by outlets like Golf Digest, GOLF Magazine and Golfweek.  They take into account overall strength of routing, feature shaping, natural settings, greens, variety and remarkable nature of holes, conditioning and maintenance, landscape management and other criteria.  Clubhouse and other amenities hold direct or subliminal impact.

Many course and club owners and operators aren’t adept at navigating the art, science and “fraternity” of the process.  Moving up on lists doesn’t happen by accident, holding serve emits a “there’s nothing new” perception and moving down means courses are falling on hard times.  In all cases, there’s considerable current revenue and lifetime customer value on the line.

Often, the better the ranking, the more courses charge for greens fees, memberships, real estate, and other amenities and services.  We’re talking millions of dollars over time.

As an industry insider, Buffalo manages courses’ rankings and ratings initiatives as part of a larger, integrated public relations program.

Digital Context

The world is moving fast.  Very fast.  Businesses are, too, and they’re left behind if they don’t understand the magnitude and importance of online engagement and prevailing trends.  Stats which put e-commerce opportunities into perspective:Digital Context | Have You Herd?

  1. There are currently 4.1 billion Internet users worldwide compared to 3.9 billion in mid-2018 and 3.7 billion in late 2017.
  2. China accounts for roughly 20% of worldwide Internet users (98% mobile enabled), eclipsing the combined population of the U.S. Japan, Russia and Mexico, and more than double the U.S. population.
  3. The Internet influenced $2.84 trillion in retail sales in 2018 that’s expected to grow to $3.45 trillion in 2019 from an estimated 2.22 billion buyers. More than 80% of Internet users in the U.S. are projected to shop online.
  4. More than four million blog posts are published online, 500 million tweets and five billion Google searches are conducted daily.
  5. As of Q3 2018, there are 94 billion websites worldwide. Google is the world’s most visited website followed by YouTube, Facebook and Chinese search engine Baidu.
  6. For every $92 spent on generating traffic and acquiring customers, only $1 is spent on converting these customers. Only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates and the 72% calculating ROI are more likely to have an effective marketing strategy.
  7. Almost $.60 of every dollar spent at an offline store is influenced by a digital interaction and 82% use smartphones to research purchases they’re about to make in a store.
  8. Roughly 95% of Americans shop online yearly and peruse with a buyer mindset an average of five hours weekly. Men spend 28% more money than women, only 35% of shoppers are willing to pay for delivery and price determines where 87% of Americans buy.
  9. The first position on Google results in a 34.36% click-through rate on desktop and 31.35% on mobile.
  10. Nearly 55% of e-commerce sales occur in branded stores and 45% are in marketplaces.
  11. Amazon is responsible for more than 49% of all online sales and about 5% of all U.S. retail sales.
  12. The best day to send an e-mail is on a Wednesday and the worst is Thursday.
  13. By 2020, mobile e-commerce worldwide is projected to be at $2.32 trillion (or 67.2%) of e-commerce sales ($693.36 billion in the U.S) and account for 45% of all e-commerce activities compared to 20.6% in 2016
  14. Mobile is responsible for 52.2% of Internet traffic in 2018 (50.3% in 2017) and 90% of time is spent in apps where engagement is four times greater than mobile web.
  15. Mobile ad spend is expected to represent 72% of all digital ad spend in the U.S. in 2019.

What Middlemen?

There are countless me-too businesses globally.  Their similarities get lost in the clutter and cancel each other out.

How to distinguish a brand without compromising product quality and margin is the multi-million-dollar question.

TecTecTec figured this out.  This Buffalo marketing client designs and manufactures high-performance rangefinders for golfers and hunters.  The brand has aggressively gained ground on its more well-known competitors and for good reason – TecTecTec products are made comparably and in the same factories.

The key is a streamlined business model largely predicated on disintermediation or the removal of middlemen in the sales process.  In lieu of traditional distribution channels involving wholesalers, brokers and agents, TecTecTec deals with customers directly.  This B2C strategy reduces the cost of servicing customers, thus “factory-direct” rangefinder prices are lower.

What Middlemen | Have You Herd?By far No. 1 in category sales on Amazon, TecTecTec enjoys a 4.5-star rating from thousands of reviewers for superbly engineered, uber-accurate, practical, durable and affordable products. Considerable traffic is also driven to TecTecTec multi-lingual websites via organic and paid social media, search engine marketing and public relations.

Last month, TecTecTec unveiled the ULT-X, its most advanced model ever.  Various new features are winning over golfers.  They include Target Lock Technology that vibrates when locked onto flagsticks up to 450 yards away and hazards up to 1,000 yards away.  A visible slope toggle displays elevation adjusted distances and is easily disengaged for USGA-conforming play.  The premium, multi-layered optical lens combined with diopter adjustment and 6x magnification provide ultra-clear views and unprecedented accuracy of plus / minus .3 yards at distances of up to 300 yards, .5 yards at up to 600 yards and one yard at up to 1,000 yards.

The golf rangefinder market forecast is $460 million in annual sales by 2020 and the hunting niche is on par.

TecTecTec is in the right place at the right time with an uncomplicated business edge to boot.

Need Vs. Luxury

Good things typically happen when custom marketing programs are pegged to sales goals.  Motivations are in high gear with (in football parlance) end zones in mind.

Proof in the pudding:  Aquatrols, Tagmarshal and Thor Guard have extended their partnerships with Buffalo.

For these clients, our team manages marketing strategy and planning, public relations, graphic design and production, data analytics and digital programming.  We also leverage our expansive network to broker C-Suite introductions and incorporate influencers into marketing campaigns.

  • Aquatrols introduced the world’s first commercially available soil wetting agent more than 60 years ago.  Buoyed by modern innovation, its advanced product suite optimizes soil-water-plant interactions in agricultural, professional turfgrass and horticultural environments in more than 40 countries. Dominant in golf worldwide, course superintendents hosting PGA Tour and major championships, the Ryder Cup and other international competitions rely on Aquatrols products for better playing conditions from tee to green.  Turf managers for Olympics venues and Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer and NCAA Division I college fields also trust Aquatrols.
  • Tagmarshal is the golf course intelligence and pace-of-play management software that turns golfer speed into player satisfaction and a course revenue asset. Its small “tags” are clipped onto golf bags and affixed to golf carts, transmitting geo-location data and informing staff and golfers about picking up pace and, therefore, averting back-ups. Carnoustie, Kiawah, Pinehurst, Whistling Straits and Erin Hills are among the famous courses which use Tagmarshal to effectively manage player flow.  Private and daily-fee operations serving all golfer demographics have improved speed by up to 30 minutes per foursome.
  • Utilizing proprietary atmospheric electrostatic analysis technology, Thor Guard is the world’s only lightning prediction system, warning people of nearby severe weather with up to 20 minutes notice; conversely, detection systems on the market provide alerts at first (lightning) strike. Thor Guard live streams local radar to better manage and ultimately protect participants in outdoor activities and events.  Customers include the United States Golf Association, Marriott, Disney, Department of Homeland Security, NASA, American Airlines, AT&T, UPS, Google, Rolls Royce, University of Michigan and Broward County (Florida).

Moral Victory

Hats off to Dick’s Sporting Goods.  With about 850 locations across America, the leading sporting goods retailer, a longtime carrier of firearms and ammunition, removed them from shelves in wake of excessive school shootings.

Moral Victory | Have You Herd?With hunting gear on the downslide, there’s more room for products benefitting golf and other outdoor enthusiasts.  The time is right given golf participation is stable and latent demand shows 43 million Americans are “somewhat interested” and “very interested” in taking up the game.  Additionally, nearly half the U.S. population age six and higher participated in an outdoor activity at least once annually (three consecutive years of growth); and 13.6 million tried a sport for the first time or returned from hiatus while 11.9 million stopped participating – a 1.7 million gain.

While on the topic of golf and outdoors, Callaway Golf’s recent acquisition of Jack Wolfskin, a premium outdoor apparel and gear brand in Europe and China, demonstrates synergies between the golf and larger active lifestyle category.  The deal follows Callaway’s purchase of golf and mainstream apparel brand TravisMatthew, and backpack, bag, apparel and accessory maker OGIO.  The thesis is balancing corporate revenue once dominated by golf hard goods with burgeoning specialty soft lines.