The fascinating thing about author Amanda Stevens’ presentation of “She Marketing” at the 2015 GMA Conference was just how much the themes rang true with another message; that of Swing Fit.
Both Amanda Stevens and Swing Fit research independently suggest there are big opportunities for attracting more women into golf. Amanda suggested clubs: “Release the female handbrake.”
We know that golf clubs are good at capturing the grey dollar but not the female dollar. Clubs average only 21% female members.
With this in mind everyone at the GMA conference was listening for insights into how to increase the figure.
Stevens revealed there are now more single female households in Australia than non-single female households. Women are closing the salary gap on men faster than any country in the world.
Research in 2013 revealed that a staggering 1.3 million Australian women would consider participating in golf in the next 12 months; and 512,000 were motivated to participate. Of women motivated to participate in golf in the next 12 months, 55% were aged 16-39. Yes – they are young!
The research lifted the lid on what club administrators thought women wanted from golf. The two key drivers to attract women to golf are social benefits and health benefits . Women also want nice facilities, an affordable cost and the opportunity to learn the skills – because they do not want to be embarrassed.
The importance of social benefits cannot be overstated; women crave social connection. Stevens talked at length about the inner circles of female friendships; women surround themselves with other women who become an extension of their family.
But it is not as simple as that. Stevens revealed women as customers place more emotion in the transaction than men. She spoke of her own positive emotional transactions that led to purchases of expensive handbags she didn’t really need. She laughed about it which, one can only assume, means she is doing quite nicely on the speaker’s circuit.
The lesson for golf is that a positive emotional transaction is very beneficial to the vendor. Women will happily be walking unpaid advertisers for your club if you get this right. You need to give women “ta, da!” moments and they will talk. In fact, Stevens revealed that women are five to 10 times more likely to share positive news.
So, how do we go from good research into good application to get more women into golf?
Some concerns were raised about the club environment. One GM suggested that existing women members can actually make new women feel like they don’t fit in; the rules and etiquette can make it even harder.
Clubs will need to plan ahead and put resources into making the environment just right for new women. The Swing Fit program, for a start, encourages the wearing of different outfits, as women are taken through a course of fitness and golf skills followed by social drinks.
Clubs should make sure the professional, staff and women’s committee are all on the same page in terms of how a Swing Fit program will work.
Swing Fit is the first step on a pathway to membership, but the focus must not be on membership, it must be on having fun. It is only when participants have enjoyed themselves and gained social connections that any notion of advancing beyond Swing Fit to membership can be considered.
The information from Stevens was a wake-up call for clubs to try some new strategies with women. Swing Fit is a well-designed vehicle, backed by research, for clubs to start. So please, plan ahead and give Swing Fit a go in 2016.
Visit swingfit.com.au for more information and to register as a Swing Fit Centre. Any further questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org or Serrin Cooper on 03 9626 5013