In my previous blog, we talked about player endorsements influencing buying decisions as somebody gets into golf, but players aren’t the only people of influence.
Whether you go to Angus Glen near Toronto or Shaughnessy in Vancouver and you walk in and say, `I really want the best. I’m about to retire or I played 10 rounds last year and I’m going to play 50 this year, I’ve got to get custom fit. What’s the best?’
The person on the other side of the counter suddenly becomes the key influencer in that buying decision and the thing is that so many golf companies are so good these days, you’ll get a different answer depending on which shop you approach.
Jon Roy is a great teacher who works out of Coppinwood in Uxbridge, Ont., and is also an elite teacher with Golf Ontario. My son’s starting to play little events, nothing major, and he goes to some of his camps.
I could have called a lot of the companies and had my son fitted for clubs, but I told Jon that he should fit him and tell me what he needs, which he did and it wasn’t a manufacturer that I expected, but we went with it.
I was relying on Jon, who knew my son. It doesn’t matter that I’m in the business – I could work at General Motors, it doesn’t matter – but because he’s teaching my kid, I’m not going to tell him he should have a certain brand.
If a teacher says that for him personally, he’s going to get him a certain set, then I’m okay with that and I think that’s a huge influence.
If I’m a beginner and my neighbour takes me to golf and that neighbour happens to be loyal to a certain brand, he might have a used set sitting around and tell me that I don’t need to spend $3,000 right away, but he also is steering me towards a specific brand, whether he means to or not.
If I want to start playing tennis, I’m not an expert, so I would go in and talk to my tennis pro or somebody at a tennis shop and say, `Here’s the deal. I’m going to play once or twice a month. What’s for me?’
Family can play a big role in your brand loyalty. For example, my dad drove General Motors cars for years and my first two or three cars were GM, as well. You think to yourself that your dad drove GM or years, why would he not change?
Your buying decisions are not linked solely to player or celebrity endorsements, although they get the most attention and that’s the way it is in not only golf, but tennis, hockey and making decisions such as which restaurant you go to and choices you make every day.