In the past couple of months, I’ve been contacted several times by an insurance giant eager to sign me up for a special deal it’s promoting and each time, I haven’t been able to get a word in while the person on the other end of the conversation prattled on about how this deal is too good to turn down.
In the end, that’s exactly what I did, only much more forcefully than I normally would have for several reasons. Whatever happened to the no-call list that I thought I was on, but still continue to receive these annoying phone calls, usually just as I’m about to chow down?
Secondly, I explained several times that I’ve got enough insurance, but to no avail. The pitch just kept on coming as if I didn’t get it on their previous attempts when they also nearly left me with a cold dinner.
In this era of spam and pop-up ads that momentarily distract you from your main reason for being on a website, companies are finding it difficult to believe – or flat out refuse to believe – that corporate messaging and spin are intruding on people’s lives.
It’s pissing people off to the point that they think everything that’s presented to them from outside their circle of family and friends is nothing more than an attempt to separate us from our wallets. Therefore, cynicism rules.
That’s likely a big reason for the results of the current GNN Poll, which asks the question “Considering that Golf Canada has not met expectations in its membership drive, what statement accurately reflects your opinion about its future?”
The numbers continue to change, but a slight majority feel that it’s too early to tell and a significant portion of voters feel it’s time to “turn out the lights, the party’s over,” while just a small percentage believe that Golf Canada will be a resounding success. Be sure to cast your vote in the GNN Poll.
That, combined with membership recruits being much less than originally expected – I’ve heard anywhere between 10 and 50 per cent – is not the type of publicity that Golf Canada needs at this point.
The people who voted on the current GNN Poll are industry types who are critical to Golf Canada’s mission to get to golfers out on the driving range. Many of those consumers still think of it as the Royal Canadian Golf Association, one that was labeled for so long as being out of touch with the masses.
Golf Canada is attempting to change that image of being an organization for rich guys at private clubs, but where it stumbled out of the gate was with its emphasis on travel incentives and insurance deals. Those types of things are available through a multitude of loyalty programs and credit card companies.
It was through such incentives that Golf Canada hoped to touch more golfers, but in the end, it simply projected the appearance of being a commercial entity, the likes of which people are bombarded with regularly, leading to the cynicism mentioned above.
That, combined with the general perception of what was the RCGA, didn’t resonate with perspective new members wondering what Golf Canada could do for them personally. Truth be known, I’m not sure what Golf Canada can do for individual golfers since it has no influence on golf course pricing, etc.
The message that Golf Canada is trying to get across is that for a small price, golfers can contribute to the game by helping to fund programs such as Golf In Schools, Future Links and player development, among others, and by offering incentives that golfers probably already have only dilutes its “good for the game” message.
Whether golfers buy into that message is the million dollar question and, at this point, the answer has been no judging by the membership numbers to date. Golfers want to know how it affects them and their games and convincing them that Golf Canada is positive for the game overall is the challenge ahead.
That comes from discussion instead of sales pitches, education not spin, and how they engage golfers and, in fact the industry, will determine success. It remains to be seen if Golf Canada has the resources and ability to do that, but it’s not ready to blow itself up yet, even if there is a long, arduous journey ahead.
The message of Golf Canada being good for the game is the one that brought it and it’s the one that needs to bring it home. Incentives are an okay throw-in, but can’t block the primary purpose, which may or may not fly with consumers and the trade.
They will at least know what they’re buying into and decide if they want the product from there instead of feeling that they’re simply contributing money to another commercial entity, at least from a perception point of view.
So what’s ahead for Golf Canada?
Scott Simmons, executive director of Golf Canada, will contribute a guest blog later this week to talk about that subject on GNN.