Want to get a hole-in-one with your digital marketing? The best approach just might be playing 18 holes. It’s not as strange as it sounds! Golfers develop all kinds of skills and traits that lend themselves well to digital marketing and can help you improve your overall results. On this page, I’ll explore six of the biggest carryovers between this popular sport and how each helps you market your business better.
1. Persistence and Determination
If you watch a game of golf on TV, you’re likely to catch a hole-in-one at least once and multiple shots that defy the odds to bring a pro in under par. The reality is much different. For instance, a hole-in-one is usually only scored every 3,500 rounds, according to the PGA. Just one to two percent of golfers will land a hole-in-one each year, and it takes an average of 24 years of gameplay before someone nails their first one.
Moreover, you don’t often see the ball veer wildly off course on TV unless the player manages to sink it during the recovery shot. In reality, PGA Tour players are making a bogey in 80 percent of these shots, according to Practical Golf. That means they’re coming in one over par for the hole.
Golf is a difficult game, and the best players understand this. They may get frustrated when things don’t work out how they should, but they stay focused and keep trying even when they face setbacks or challenges.
Marketing is similar because there will always be setbacks and challenges. A campaign may land “in the trees” and require a recovery shot or perhaps be worthy of a mulligan. Nevertheless, it’s important to stay determined and keep trying different strategies until one that works is discovered. In fact, the best marketers keep working to produce better results even when a strategy is proven effective.
2. Attention to Detail
Golfers must pay close attention to every detail of their game. Their stance and posture, grip on the club, aim, and other seemingly small details greatly impact the swing. External factors, such as the presence and speed of the wind, will influence the ball’s behavior too.
It’s also important to pay attention to the small details in marketing. For instance, if the “swing” involves launching a website, then the language, usability, optimization, and other details must be addressed to succeed.
Even if a golfer only plays a single course repeatedly, he’s unlikely to have the same experience twice. This is because the course literally changes each time. For instance, the hole location on each green is typically moved on a daily basis. This allows the green time to recover from traffic and pitch marks, but it also changes the challenges a player faces. Similarly, a different tee box or starting point will be used. Conditions such as the grass length and weather will influence how the course plays too. Golfers must become adaptable for these reasons.
In marketing, the “position of the hole” (AKA your goal) may not shift on a daily basis, but it likely will over time and across different campaigns. You may also need to adapt your strategies to changing market conditions or new technologies.
Creativity goes hand-in-hand with adaptability. Experienced golfers take in the green, evaluate potential risks to their shot, and identify ways to overcome the obstacles. They also know when it’s best to use their recovery shot to simply eradicate themselves from a difficult situation and when to take a hero shot and land the ball in the hole. These aren’t things they start out knowing how to do. They learn through experimentation. They work with many clubs, grips, and swings in different scenarios to see how the ball responds.
In marketing, creativity is also key. Coming up with new ideas for social media campaigns or finding unique ways to showcase products or services are prime examples. Identifying new A/B tests to run is another.
5. Time Management
Players on the PGA Tour typically only have 40 seconds to swing, though there are exceptions to the rule that allow up to 60 seconds, per the PGA. Groups of four are expected to finish a hole within 14.5 minutes, and groups of three have just 13.5 minutes. While the rules aren’t generally quite so stringent on most courses for non-pro players, golfers must still move at a reasonable pace. That means managing time effectively on the course to ensure that each hole is completed.
It’s the same in marketing. You could spend an eternity setting up the “perfect shot.” There is always something more you could be doing. However, this approach doesn’t always improve results, and it doesn’t deliver a greater return on marketing investment (ROMI). You need to prioritize tasks and allocate resources effectively to maximize ROMI.
Golf is referred to as an “individual sport,” but the term is a bit misleading in this context. While it may be true that the player is the one who ultimately makes the swing and is responsible for the outcome, there’s someone else supporting him throughout—his caddy. Communication between the player and caddy is not always seen, but there’s often dialogue between the pair about which club and strategy is best. Golfers must also be able to communicate effectively with other players on the course.
The same is true in marketing. Leaders may not always heed the advice of their “caddies,” but they should be prepared to listen to people close to the situation and collaborate on shared goals. Effective communication is also required with customers through various channels such as email, social media, or in-person events.
Improve Your Digital Marketing Swing with Expert Advice
As a digital marketing consultant with a background in business and decades of experience, I may not be your first call if you want to improve your golf swing, but I can give you pointers and help you level up your digital marketing. If your business growth has stalled or you’re not getting the results you need from your digital marketing, please contact me for a complimentary consultation.