A Good, Long Drive
GOLF IS A game of increments and minutiae. Misjudge a stroke by one millimeter, and a killer drive ends up being a killer search through the woods. Appropriately, golf promotions require the same kind of precision. A campaign that is even slightly off can land product meant for a promotional hole in one right into a sand trap.
There’s no reason, however, that selling golf promotions has to be as nerve-wracking as the last putt of the U.S. Open. With proper insight into several facets of the golf world, from balls to gear to tournaments, distributors can sell with the same Zen calm that allows players to dominate on the green.
Start with the Basics
A central, and perhaps the most simple, component of both golf and golf promotions is the ball. However, as both Josh Hayes, business development manager at Ball Pro/Golf Plus, Eden Prairie, Minn., and Chip Wiegand, merchandiser for the Golf, Sports & Fun category at Norwood Promotional Products, Indianapolis, suggested, underestimating the complexity of using golf ball promotions may be a mistake.
Because they are so key to the game, and can be produced so cheaply, Hayes named golf balls as commodity items, meaning it can be very difficult to make a profit with them without creative planning.
Offering a solution, Wiegand recommended first considering the ball’s end-user and matching the price point to the company’s needs. “If you’re giving them out as gifts with the company logo on it, you’re going to use a higher-end golf ball,” he said. “If it’s for an event, and you’re trying to get the most bang for your buck, you’re going to go with the Wilson Ultra or the Top Flight XL,” two balls Wiegand had pointed out as being high-value and high-quality.
Kellie Costa, custom marketing manager for Acushnet Company, parent company of the Titleist, FootJoy, Cobra and Pinnacle brands and based out of Fairhaven, Mass., emphasized the importance of brand names even for golf balls. “Being able to offer a customer a product that adds to the branding value of their own company is extremely important and should not be overlooked,” she explained. “A distributor should offer their customers the best golf balls and not just the golf balls they make the most margin on,” said Costa, adding companies typicially prefer to co-brand with product lines that have popular name recognition.