Gaining Market Share – What’s Fair and What’s Not
Everyone should be focussing on gaining market share in the flat golf economy we’re experiencing. Some prefer to describe the current golf economy as declining, we prefer to call the surge we saw a few years ago a spike, and the years since as flat. Perhaps it’s a preference related to that old question, “Is our glass half empty or half full?” Ours is half full, and we recommend that all our clients adopt that attitude. While growing the game is a long term goal shared by all, it is just that…a long term goal. In the interim, we should be focussed on attracting every existing golfer to our business. Not every attempt at gaining market share is fair for everyone. But wrangling business from a lazy competitor is not always unfair. Be honorable, but aggressive. Don’t be afraid to look for help, but don’t be victimized in your attempt to grow your business by other’s excuses and unfair practices.
Excuses or Reasons?
It’s fairly convenient, far too easy, and certainly counter-productive to hang on to popular excuses for lack of growth in any business, especially after a decline like we saw during the Great Recession. But, that seems to be the tendency of many of the folks we encounter who struggle with lackluster sales. But, all those crutches are just as we called them….excuses. Proactive businesses and marketing cooperatives will prevail, and those who hang on to the excuses will fail. It’s time to decide if you’re going to find a way to survive or ride your excuses to the end.
We hear the folks in some areas claim they can’t grow due to airline restrictions. While direct flights from popular tourist origination points are a boon, there are golf markets around the globe without an airport and therefore, zero direct flights, that are experiencing growth. So, we could classify the lack of direct flights as an excuse rather than a valid reason for not gaining market share. Failure to target every golf tourist origination point is a huge mistake. Granted, the gain from each far-reaching market will be smaller than those with the best connections, but several small gains equal again, period. Take the blinders off, and consider for a change, there are golfers in every country, state, and city that would like to do business with you, if given the chance. Spend some resources letting them know what your have to offer.
International Interest in American Golf
There’s no doubt we have too many golf courses in America for the number of rounds being played annually by Americans. Time will only tell how this situation shakes out, and who will survive. The game is growing rapidly around the globe in areas that have too few courses to support the growth, or where the season is too short to support the interest and subsequent demand. American golf offers quality, variety, and value to anyone from any other country in the world. When we’ve asked American golf marketing / packaging organizations about more aggressively marketing to other countries, we get a myriad of excuses, usually surrounding airline connections. When we ask golfers in other countries about coming to America to play golf, it’s a different story. The rarely recognize our excuses.They are willing and certainly able to make the trip, but they will most likely visit the destination that makes the most compelling offer. Obviously there are some remote areas where travel to the U.S. takes 24 or more hours, but there are many more where travel is 6 to 8 hours, a trip well within reason. Spend some resources letting them know what you have to offer. Read more on the subject of international interest in American golf HERE.
Differently Abled Golfers
We’ve heard some astounding numbers lately relating to the size of the potential market represented by handicapped individuals ready, willing, and able to play golf. We’re working to verify the exact numbers and will publish more information later. But, they certainly number in the millions. Some numbers being quoted are as high as 18 million. There are some obvious and serious concerns about handicapped golfers on some courses. No one wants to create an unsafe environment for any golfer, and many of those concerns are warranted. But, being concerned does not mean we should not aggressively work to make as many courses as possible accessible to a degree. Not every course is going to be navigable by every handicapped golfer,and that is where much of the concern lies. While no course would ever want to be labeled as discriminating against any specific handicap, it is an area of potential growth that has to be more aggressively addressed. With the advent of technology and promotion of the game by groups like the ParaLon Drive Championships, golf is certainly within reach of millions more golfers today than a few years ago. Spend some resources developing a strategy and let them know what your have to offer.
Stealing Market Share Versus Earning It – Anticompetitive Monopolization of a Market
Where is the line of fairness drawn, and how do you know when competition is fair and when it becomes predatory? It is necessary to recognize the signs. In almost every market there are (and probably always will be) those who concern themselves most with taking away from others within their market. If they were working together for the good of a market they would be using their resources to gain new business from outside their market area. Normally when this occurs, it is an attempt at monopolizing the market. What can we say? There have been bullies and thieves since the beginning of time, and in nearly every case, that practice fails in the long run. It should most definitely be recognized for what it is and considered counter productive to growing market share for any destination as a whole. The only advice we can give to those who are faced with such an inconvenience is to stand firm and protect your investment. Be cautious of every offer from such entities and be sure to understand what’s in it for you in the long and short term. Know your market and know your competition. An old idiom to consider (not sure of the origin), “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” might be worth considering. Just know that those who are in this practice of monopolizing have already determined it is fair and reasonable competition, and probably feel it is best for the market if they control it. Diversity is still the most fair and equitable business model for gaining market share, but not all monopolies are illegal. A business that produces a superior product or are well managed may disadvantage their competitors while not violating antitrust law. Monopolies are illegal if they are established or maintained through improper conduct, such as exclusionary or predatory acts. This is known as anticompetitive monopolization.
Here are some examples of how illegal monopolies are formed:
- Price Fixing: competitors agree to buy or sell products or services at a fixed price or rate
- Price Discrimination: selling similar goods to buyers at different prices
- Exclusive Dealings: requiring a buyer or seller to do buy or sell all or most of a certain product from a single supplier
- Group Boycotts: competitors agree to boycott a certain entity
- Tying Contract: selling a product or service on the condition that the buyer agrees to also buy a different product or service
So, beware of the circumstances around you, and use the example here as a test for any similar act that may be developing in your market area. Cooperatives are still good for a variety of reason, but if you’re depending upon someone else to supply your business stream, make sure you’re still in control of the outcome.
Leave No Stone Unturned
The popular idiom “Leave no stone unturned”, is an expression that alludes to an ancient Greek legend about a general who buried a large treasure in his tent when he was defeated in battle. Those seeking the treasure consulted the Oracle of Delphi, who advised them to move every stone. The actual man who wrote “Leave no stone unturned” was Euripides, an ancient Greek playwright. Our advice on gaining market share, for those willing to cast aside the excuses and take charge of their destiny, is just like that of the Oracle of Delphi, move every stone in your quest. Be honorable,but unrelenting in your efforts. Spend your resources to market your brand and offering to anyone who will listen. Never sit back and expect anyone to do it for you. You are in charge of your own destiny. Find a way to reach beyond normal boundaries and dare to be different. Set yourself apart from the noise of competition, and go after the treasures being ignored by the ignorant and lazy. If you’re looking for ways of gaining market share by reaching golfers in new markets, we may be able to help. Feel free to contact iNetGolf HERE.