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Marketing 101 – You are reading this on the INTERNET!

As you prepare to go in to the 2009 golf season, I’m sure that you are already planning or making your media buys for the first half of the season. So you have to ask yourself if you are spending your marketing money wisely. Are you choosing to market to yourself by measuring your own habits and making sure that there is advertising on your favourite radio station or in your favourite magazine? Are you really the customer you are trying to reach? The answer is easy. No! You are not the customer. Give your head a shake and figure out how to reach potential customers where they are, it’s where you are right now – THE INTERNET!

Webvisible and Nielsen recently released a study that showed that although 63% of consumers and small business owners turn first to the internet for local information and 82% use online search engines to find that information, only 44% of small businesses actually have a website and half of them spend less than 10% of their marketing budget online.

Though the research shows a rapid shift to online media for local searches, most businesses continue to ignore the trend and focus their marketing on older “traditional” models. Consider this information about the most popular sources for finding out local information:

82% use search engines
57% use Yellow Pages directories
53% use local newspapers
49% use Internet yellow Pages
49% use TV
38% use direct mail
32% use White pages directories

Of the above, 50% said that search engines was the very first place they looked for local information. The report also notes that customers use search engines and e-mail newsletters much more now than two years ago and newspapers, magazines and radio less.

Before you spend another penny on designing yet another 1/8 page advertisement in a golf quarterly, you have to ask yourself where are golfers searching for information on the internet? That’s where you should consider putting your marketing dollars. If you haven’t picked up on the theme yet, the marketing landscape has shifted. It’s up to you to decide if you’re still in the game (pun intended)

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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