Paper – Scissors – Rock:  What Is the Most Effective Marketing Medium Today?  

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Paper (newspaper, magazine, curated newsletters), Scissors (email), and Rock (text messages) are eroding as efficient marketing tools.

In this increasingly fast-paced world of instant communication, Mail Chimp just published the following caution:

“Apple’s release of iOS 15 and macOS Monterey will offer a new feature called Mail Privacy Protection. If an Apple Mail user enables this feature, it will limit the ability for marketing software providers, like Mailchimp, to accurately determine the following:

  • Whether or when an email has been opened
  • The estimated location of the recipient when they open the email
  • The type of device and email client a recipient is using when they open the email

This has implications for the marketing programs of golf course owners.

In conducting customer surveys, as a standard procedure, we send a second follow-up email to a golf course’s customer database segregated in two ways:

  • Those who did not open the initial email
  • Those that opened the email and elected not to take the survey.

For the golfer survey we conducted in August 2021, here are the results of the initial and follow up email:

Action

Sent Open Click Bounce

Unsubscribe

Initial

6,554

37% 8% 1%

1%

Opened Initial Email – Did not Click

2,033 62% 3% 0%

0%

Did Not Open

4,050

17% 8% 0%

0%

We are always surprised by the results.  17% of the individuals who did not open the initial email, open the second, with 8% (324) taking the survey upon a second request.  Three percent of the customers who opened the first email and chose not to take the survey did so upon being requested a second time.  Go figure.  Human behavior is a funny animal.

Changes to the Apple iOS15 will preclude a marketer’s ability to send tailored or customized responses to individuals based on their demonstrated behavior of responding to marketing campaigns.   Thus, the ability to deepen the engagement with a customer may be compromised.  For example, our ability to obtain a higher response rate to client surveys may be lessened.  A greater  consequence may be offending the customer sending them a tailored message based on incorrect data as to their historical response.

What are the options at the current time?  For golf’s leading software firms, they are trying to figure out a workaround.  It is currently speculated that golf courses that use Social Media Apps, i.e., 1-2-1 Marketing, Gallus, etc. are likely to find push notices via text may be effective.

In the interim, we would suggest golf courses undertake “customer database hygiene” to improve the scores their email, and text campaigns receive.  A good first step is archiving bounces, unsubscribes, and those who have not opened a course’s email in three years.

With the attention of consumers becoming shorter, what other ideas do you think will be effective to help golf courses be practical marketers?

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