Have You Herd? – March 2018

Dear Friends,

Business is like baseball.  Executives need to protect against falling behind in early innings.  The difficulty of come-from-behind victories lies in the inherent sense of urgency and pressure.  The result is often severe deviation from game plans in the form of budget cutting.  Moreover, opponents notice the momentum lapse and use it against you.  With 10 innings remaining in a 12-month game, savvy CEOs and CMOs are calling in Buffalo’s golf, sports and lifestyle cavalry as a trusted advisor and for a push.

News and insights from our herd:

Sunrise Java

The shrinking landscape of media covering specific sports is old news.  One that’s bucking the trend in golf is Morning Read.  It’s the one-year-young daily newsletter with established writers like Steve Elling, John Gordon, Mike Purkey, Adam Schupak and Gary Van Sickle.  Intrepid reporting breaks stories while opinion pieces stir conversations about topics other outlets don’t touch.

Its subscribers are unique.  Advertisers are selling products, stay-and-play packages and even real estate thanks to access to a highly-engaged readership of one million active, transactional golfers – not just golf fans.  Morning Read’s companion newsletter, Where to Golf Next, is delivered to a similarly massive, hyper-targeted audience, covers all things golf travel and rates courses on a “fun meter.”

Former Golf.com owner, Golfweek publisher and Golf Channel on-air talent Alex Miceli is the genius behind these newsletters.  Industry veteran Chris Van Duyne, chris@morningread.com, runs business affairs.

Morning Read’s golf at a glance with your Starbucks latte at dawn is refreshing.


Economy Rising

  • Reasons for business optimism:The consumer confidence index rose to 130.8 in February, the highest since November 2000 and up from 114.3 in January. This measure is based on current economic conditions and outlook on the next six months.  The unemployment rate is influencing sentiment by holding steady at 4.15, a 27-year low, and offsetting stock market volatility.
  • Consumer spending accounts for about 70% of U.S. economic output.S. manufacturing expanded in February at the fastest pace in nearly 14 years. Up 1.7 points from 59.1 in January, the gain largely comes from surges in the employment and inventory components of the index.  Any score above 50 signals growth.  Among the 18 manufacturing industries, 15 reported increases over prior month.
  • The health of national retailers is proportionate with rises and falls in the financial markets. In “spending economies,” Americans are known to buy clothes and jewelry aplenty.  Thus, Macy’s is on a roll.  Sales at stores open at least one year combined for a 1.4% increase in the most recent quarter, its largest in more than three years.  The once beleaguered company’s CEO says spending hesitation is at a five-year low allowing the company to dial back discounts.


Sponsor Imprints  

Call us geeks, but we closely monitor activities which connect brands and buyers.  Some interesting items:

  • The Fed-Ex / PGA Tour partnership is the most recognized brand-property alliance in sports. Roughly 60% of avid and casual sports fans surveyed know the brand’s status as “official shipping partner.”  Its ownership of the Fed-Ex Cup Playoffs that debuted in 2007 bested more than 600 title and sub-title sponsorships.  They include the NFL (Gatorade and now departed Papa John’s), NASCAR (Goodyear, Monster, Coca-Cola), NBA (Gatorade) and MLB (Budweiser).
  • Touching and feeling physical products is still No. 1 for immediate gratification. However, spending of discretionary income on consumer activities has grown faster than overall spending on goods and services in 12 of the past 16 years.  The marketing world is following suit.  iFLY teamed with Live Nation to create lookalike Facebook audiences among the former’s indoor skydiving consumers and the latter’s concert- and festival goers.  TopGolf Crush was a popular sponsor activation at the BMW Championship.


Hello, Good BuyHello, Good Buy - Buffalo.Agency

Warby Parker, eat your heart out.

Taking a page from the popular eyewear company and other major online and brick-and-mortar retailers is Global Value Commerce.  Innovating yet again, the world’s largest e-commerce platform for new and pre-owned golf gear has launched U-try, the industry’s first exclusively online golf club trial program at Globalgolf.com.

Golfers across America are testing new drivers and fairway woods from Callaway, Cleveland, Cobra, TaylorMade and Titleist.  They simply select up to two clubs and either keep the club(s) and pay the current list price – less a $25 per-club trial fee – or return them with a prepaid shipping label.  Hybrids, iron sets and additional brands will be offered by late spring.

U-try promotes men’s and women’s clubs with various shaft flex and clubhead loft options.  A deep inventory of new and legacy driver and fairway wood models are warehoused by GVC for immediate delivery.

A complimentary Arccos Driver unit is sent with each driver tested.  The small sensor attaches to the grip-end of the club, pairs with a free app for iOS or Android smartphones and automatically records distance, accuracy and other stats for each drive.  Arccos Driver is an easy and unbiased way to compare performance of different clubs.

The beauty of U-try at GlobalGolf.com is based on the significant investment in buying clubs which best suit golfers’ unique games.  Spending time with new clubs and determining the right fit guards against buyer’s remorse.


By the Numbers

Clients trust Buffalo to make them money net of our fees.  The bedrock is two tenets within our control – effort and conversations.  That’s drilled into heads of Buffalo’s 55-person team and realized in our daily actions.  A sampling of recent outcomes for clients:

  • A full-length company story on GolfChannel.com that, in two days, generated 200% more web traffic than the entire previous month
  • Paid search leading to a 7:1 return on ad spend, per sales on the company’s website and not including those on Amazon and affiliate sites
  • Creation of clever promotional campaigns and signage in golf pro shops and clubhouses, and on driving ranges which led to a 200% lift use of our client’s service
  • Analysis of data revealed more than 70% of customers were “one and done,” stimulating offers that turned 15% of them to repeat buyers at first outreach
  • Organic and paid social media campaigns that lifted engagement by 500% in the first three months of activation


New B.B Newsroom

Last month, we debuted Buffalo.Bureau.  It represents the newsroom-style integration of public relations, branding and analytics, functioning as a centralized hub for communications strategy, and story development and delivery to editorial media.

Buffalo Founder and Managing Director Rich Katz serves as Editor-in-Chief with Senior Vice President Kristen Ingraham as Bureau Chief and Buffalo veteran David Griffith as Executive Editor.  The Bureau leverages Buffalo’s many subject matter experts, creates efficiencies and consolidates media outreach to generate even more high-value publicity about clients’ brands.

The newsroom model allows us to filter and fine-tune story ideation and media relations through a team of seasoned PR experts.  The result is an even more sophisticated approach to earned media programs for clients.

Here’s to our new “story-selling” offering that’s pioneering next-gen public relations.