Have You Herd? – September 2019

Big Buffalo News

I love it when a plan comes together.

A few weeks ago, our Buffalo Groupe acquired 54 Brands, the Charlotte-based marketing company with a celebrated history in golf and adjacent industries.  It joins Rawle Murdy (based in Charleston and acquired by Buffalo in May) and Buffalo Agency (established as Buffalo Communications in 1991) on our roster.Big Buffalo News | Have You Herd | Buffalo Agency

The trio combines to advance our leading marketing platform that connects brands to the golf lifestyle through amazing content that drives action.  Buffalo also owns “Morning Read,” the daily golf newsletter with news and opinions from famous golf writers, as well as companion “Where to Golf Next” and “The Equipment Insider” weekly digital publications.

54 Brands brings a complementary, distinct set of capabilities and 20 years’ experience in the golf industry, especially in the area of B2B marketing.  Its work for Club Car, Golf Channel / GolfNow, MacGregor, National Golf Foundation, Pinehurst Resort, Softspikes, Greg Norman and other brands has captured numerous awards.  Offerings range from top-level marketing and business strategy, field marketing support and turnkey management of brands’ presences at trade shows, including the PGA Merchandise Show, Golf Industry Show and CMAA World Conference.

Industry veteran Jack Burris remains president of 54 Brands and joins the Buffalo Groupe Executive Committee as a managing director.  The agency will now be known as “54 Brands, a Buffalo Groupe Company.”

“We excel at getting granular with data that informs how we purposefully separate brands from market clutter,” says Burris.  “That causes meaningful brand-buyer interactions which build trust, intent to purchase and, ultimately, sales – it’s tremendously gratifying to help grow clients’ businesses.”

The Yogurt Guy

Secrets to business success, as elucidated by pillars of industry, are often worth heeding.  One that stuck with me for some time is from Chobani (think yogurt) leader Hamdi Ulukaya:

The Yogurt Guy | Have You Herd | Buffalo Agency“Today’s playbook says the CEO reports to the board.  In my opinion, the CEO reports to the consumer.”

After all, businesses exist to serve (and sell to) current and prospective buyers.  But if their customers’ and consumers’ desires are unknown, it’s nearly impossible for product development, marketing, sales and all other departments to hit stride.

Many companies forget they need rich understandings of each customer’s patterns of behavior.  What motivates them and when?  What’s a new and exciting reason to believe?  How does a product or service align with market trends?

When data is collected via countless mechanisms, then properly appended, analyzed and segmented, there are greater odds of audiences receiving messages tailored to their special interests.

“Know your customer” is the oldest phrase in the business playbook.  However, per Ulukaya, it’s often a shameless afterthought.  Paying lip service to data is a disservice to all involved with your business.

There are many ways to reach your audiences; however, engaging them directly is paramount.  That’s why every company should rely on at least one data scientist.  We’re happy to report that those in the golf, sport and lifestyle sectors are increasingly turning to Buffalo to fill that void.

Cheese CurdsCheese Curds | Have You Herd | Buffalo Agency

  • Favorite ice cream – Mint chocolate chip. Every other flavor is a joke.
  • Why I love golf – It represents a special bond between my dad and me. Working in the industry has made me relish it even more.  I was in the college and pro sports business, but there’s no compare to the people and places that golf offers.
  • Destination Kohler – By far, it’s the best of Wisconsin. As a proud “Sconnie,” I can’t wait for the world to see what “Wisco” golf offers during the Ryder Cup next year.
  • Two “must-visit” places – Kilimanjaro in 2021 with the “brosef” and a Scotland golf trip with the fam.
  • My perspective on life – Dream big, work hard, play harder.
  • Why Buffalo is so special – Teamwork makes the dream work and I have the good fortune of being a part of many highly-skilled teams here. Buffalo also promotes an awesome work-life balance.
  • I worked at Augusta National – It was one of the most incredible, surreal and rewarding experiences … if I haven’t told you already.
  • Cold or warm climates? There’s nothing like a white Christmas, but beyond maybe a week in December, I’m all about the heat.
  • The specialness of family – Mine is as thick as thieves and although we’re now spread coast to coast, we still make the most of our time together. Join us for game nights, alcoholic beverages, the requisite cheese curds and some light, harmless ribbing – all in good fun.  Can’t wait to be my brother’s best wo-man next year when he ties the knot!
  • The last book read – I couldn’t put To Shake the Sleeping Self It’s a memoir about the author’s quarter-life crisis and resulting journey from Oregon to South America.  If I don’t show up to work one day, I’m probably headed to Patagonia.
  • Top sports teams – Being raised an unfortunate Chicago sports fan taught me to deal with disappointments from an early age. And I’ve probably already tried to convince your child, relative and neighbor’s cousin to go to the University of Wisconsin.  Bear Down!  Go, Cubs, Go!  On Wisconsin!
  • Parting wisdom – The anticipation is worse than the reality.

Trade Talk

September 1, 2019 marked a whopper of a day for several Buffalo clients.  Their businesses became subject to a 15% import tariff levied on about $112 billion of Chinese goods.  We’re talking footwear, apparel, smartphones, sporting goods and a boatload more.  Nearly 70% of products produced in China and consumed by Americans are facing the music.  Not to be outdone, additional tariffs arrive in mid-December.Trade Talk | Have You Herd | Buffalo Agency

Some companies successfully negotiate with Chinese factories to share in the new expenditure.  Others are shifting production to tax-friendly nations.  Then there are those, unfortunately, lowering the quality of materials and manufacturing processes, and passing on costs to distributors, retailers and consumers.

In a twist of fate, we are seeing savvy marketers increase their budgets to satisfy the need to generate greater sales and, therefore, qualify for volume manufacturing discounts.  It’s akin to brands which stepped on the gas during the recession a decade ago; upon America’s economic recovery, they clearly gained market share over those which succumbed to a marketing bunker mentality.

The Buffalo team is a close advisor to clients reliant on goods from China.  Figuring out the best way to efficiently conduct business, position brands and promote their “must-have” distinctions is more important than ever.  Welcome to the New Tariff Era.

My Florida TripMy Florida Trip | Have You Herd | Buffalo Agency

The nature of companies’ marketing needs is vast and diverse.  My wall-to-wall meetings in Florida a couple weeks ago are validation.  Here’s what they want Buffalo to explore undertaking.

  • Online lead generation
  • Golf-sport industry introductions
  • Discovery project / strategy development
  • Public relations / reputation management
  • SEO, SEM
  • Website build
  • Brand story presentation
  • Sizzle reel and video “featurettes”
  • Turnkey organic, paid social media
  • Content development / blogs, vlogs
  • Soup-to-nuts marketing (de facto department)

Thankfully, we have in-house functional experts to consider handling these requests.