Blue Skies, Big Sales
Thousands and thousands of words can (and have) been written about the art of picking and selling product for golf events (see our March issue!), but if you're looking for a less-trod bit of advice, how about this: Don't forget to plan for cold weather.
It can be easy to forget that golfers wear more than polo shirts and sun visors given how iconic the two apparel items have become with the sport, but the fact is the golf season starts in early spring and winds down in late fall, two times of year where chilly weather can make an appearance.
For outfitting fall and winter golfers, Danny Tsai, vice president, merchandising, Tri-Mountain, Irwindale, Calif., recommended windshirts, quarter-zips, light jackets and polyknit fleece. "They protect against wind and the elements without sacrificing mobility and performance," he said†.
Besides unpredictable cold, pop-up rainstorms are something common to the early and late golf months, especially spring: "Players need to stay comfortable no matter the conditions they face," said Joel Freet, national sales manager, corporate, for Seattle-based Cutter & Buck†. "It is so easy to think of polos for a golf outing, but so often the weather is unpredictable across the country in the spring," he said. For these unpredictable days, Freet suggested lightweight and quick-drying materials, such as apparel made from polyester mesh.
Think camping. Think stadium tailgating. Think 4,000-person company picnic. That's outdoor recreation, and that's a huge market you could be tapping into. And while the market is unquestionably diverse, it is subject to a handful of core rules. Namely, focus on practicality and perceived value.
"Clients appreciate gifts that are not disposable, can be used over and over, and offer a high intrinsic value," explained Daniel Berkowitz, president of Picnic Plus, West Chester, Pa.‡ "Due to the current economic situation, more people are staying home or traveling local, but still want an adventure away from the daily chores of being home," he added. "Recreational products can offer an inexpensive getaway."
Besides being inherently fun in a practical way, the mental imagery and emotional associations connected to outdoor products also makes them valuable with end-users. "Outdoor products make great promotional items for many reasons," said Scott McCormack, director of sales and marketing for Picnic Time Inc., Moorpark, Calif. "The most important is that the logo is seen by a much higher number of people than that of indoor products, but also, the outdoor items themselves conjure images of the beach, your favorite camping spot or other enjoyable activities," he explained. "This makes the product much more appealing to the user than other standard promotional items."
Durability, of course, is also something to look for in outdoor recreation items. "Weather elements and frequent handling of outdoor products make high quality a must-have," said McCormack. "Distributors should choose lasting items that have several practical uses that maximize brand visibility, and this is most easily attained when the product is enduring and functional."
*Stoeck's quotes from the 2011 article "Assignment: Improve Sales: Earn extra credit by marketing to school sponsors"
†Tsai's and Freet's quotes from the 2012 article "Dashing Drives: The new necessities for golf apparel are moisture-wicking properties, overknit jackets and bright colors"
‡Berkowitz's quotes from the 2012 article "Outside Possibilities: 5 great ideas for the great outdoors"