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January 2018 Industry Report

As we try to keep our New Year's resolutions and balance work/family commitments in 2018, I thought I would start my first report of the year with an excerpt of the last words from Steve Jobs (founder of Apple):


"I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. In the end, wealth is only a fact of life that I am accustomed to.


"At this moment, lying on the sick bed and recalling my whole life, I realize that all the recognition and wealth that I took so much pride in, have paled and become meaningless in the face of impending death. Now I know, when we have accumulated sufficient wealth to last our lifetime, we should pursue other matters that are unrelated to wealth.


"The wealth I have won in my life I cannot bring with me. What I can bring is only the memories precipitated by love. That’s the true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. Love can travel a thousand miles. Life has no limit. Go where you want to go. Reach the height you want to reach.


"Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – life. When a person goes into the operating room, he will realize that there is one book that he has yet to finish reading – Book of Healthy Life. Whichever stage in life we are at right now, with time, we will face the day when the curtain comes down.


"Treasure love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others." – Steve Jobs


A changing business world

I am a believer when someone inquires, "How's business?" they are hoping your business is as bad as theirs. Misery loves company. For years, the primary conversation at The PGA Show has been "How's business?"


This year should be better for golf. Our industry will receive a short-term boost from a strong economy to help counter the long term negative trends of changing consumer preferences and demographics. 


Our industry isn't alone. Here is a case study (courtesy of the Wall Street Journal) on how a fine dining establishment is fighting for survival. 


When Perla, opened six years ago in New York City, a reservation was prized to enjoy their bible-thick pork chops and luxuriate in red leather sofa chairs. 


Dining trends were not in Perla's favor. The two martini lunch had long been out of favor and many New Yorkers struggled to justify 30 minutes for lunch – not two hours. 


After only four years in business (and spending millions on build-out), the owner of Perla decided to move locations (not an option in the golf business). 


The move to the West Village in Manhattan provided a short-term bump, but costs overwhelmed revenue. 


The owner realized, "I was either going to run Perla into the ground or pivot."


The pivot included a name change (Perla became Fairfax), longer restaurant hours, smaller plate options, lower pricing, with an upscale cafe interior design. Its dark walnut tables have been replaced by decor suggestive of a Pinterest-perfect living room. 


How is this story relevant for golf? Perla is the type of restaurant our demographic patronized a generation ago. 


As we start 2018, evaluate each of your departments. Are you operating a Perla or Fairfax? 


Important social media terms for your vocabulary

During a recent presentation, a marketing director commented, "Today's media world has become complicated!"


I echo that sentiment. 


It’s hard to believe websites are now a mature media platform. 


As social media becomes ever more important, engagement is the key matrix to measure how successful your marketing program is performing. 


Followers to your Facebook/Instagram pages only tell part of the story. You want to make sure you have the right followers on your page.


As social media posts evolve from static photos to video/slideshows, there is an important term to be aware of. 


"Views" are followers who watched your Facebook/Instagram post for a minimum of three seconds. Interestingly, research shows it takes only seven seconds for us to judge another person on a first date. 


You might question how effective three seconds can be in delivering your message. Believe it or not, three seconds is quite a bit of time if you are scrolling through posts. I ran a test with my four daughters, timing how long they viewed typical Facebook posts. Astonishingly, they averaged scrolling through eight posts in three seconds. 


As you prepare your 2018 marketing message, it's important to remember the three second rule. My tip: determine your two strongest selling assets and dedicate 1.5 seconds to each point. 


This isn't to say you must limit your message to three seconds, simply make sure your primary selling points are delivered upfront and in an efficient manner.  

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