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SLRG's Last Named to Top Golf Industry Innovators List

Golf, Inc. Magazine's recent listing of the eighteen most innovative people in the golf industry included the likes of a number of leaders in golf facility development and management. But rounding out the list was a marketing researcher—Sports and Leisure Research Group Founder and President, Jon Last. As one more used to creating lists than being included on them, Last was surprised to be selected from among an extensive group of several hundred nominees. Said Last, "I don't necessarily think of our work as innovative. Rather, I feel that our firm's commitment to rigorous research standards coupled with an insatiable appetite to translate our findings into something that our clients find meaningful and actionable is a necessity in this world of data overload. Since our leadership team has worked on the brand side, in agencies, media, travel and sports, it's important that everything we do is delivered within the appropriate context and perspective for the particular client. I might prefer 'pragmatic' to 'innovative,' but I'm flattered by the compliment." You can read the article and the rest of the list, here.

Leisure/Travel Case Study: Integrating Customer Behavioral and Attitudinal Information Through a Proprietary Research Panel for Best Guests

"Big data" has certainly become a buzzword within marketing, particularly among the travel, leisure and sports markets. However harnessing that data without drowning in it, is a resultant challenge. Sports and Leisure Research Group works closely with clients towards the goal of integrating behavioral and attitudinal data. For example, with a gaming property, the chosen approach has been to recruit and maintain a carefully screened and profiled private panel of guests to participate in regular research studies, utilized by the client for a multitude of purposes including amenity concept testing, customer satisfaction measurement, even to add value to its relationships with external partners by opening an insight window into their activation and presence on property. But one of the other great benefits of building and nurturing such a panel for frequent feedback, is its ability to integrate the attitudes and perceptions of these guests into the property's existing loyalty program. Research data is analyzed across existing customer segments, dynamically defined by behavioral data such as recency and frequency of visitation as well as spending levels. Each time a panelist participates in a survey, they earn instant rewards that drive them back to the property as well as bonus points that integrate with the client's existing loyalty program. It's a great way to build community and customer involvement, keep a pulse on guest attitudes, and leverage research insights into targeted communications programs. Contact us to learn more about how SLRG can do the same for you.

WHARTON, EWGA AND PGA CONFERENCE ROUND- UP: Complimentary Downloads Now available at Sportsandleisureresearch.com

Wharton Sports Business Initiative's "Business of Golf Breakfast"

Part of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School's continuing series of sports industry leadership panels, this invitation only event was held on June 12, in conjunction with the 2013 U.S. Open. SLRG President Jon Last moderated a diverse panel of top golf industry thought leaders that included USGA Senior Managing Director Sarah Hirshland, Wasserman Media Group Golf Division President Malcolm Turner, Sports Illustrated Golf Group Publisher Dick Raskopf, and Golf Channel President Mike McCarley. The interactive hour long session provided an insightful overview of the state of the business that spanned an array of topics including the globalization of golf and evolving necessities in facilitating meaningful sponsor/property activation.

The Women's Market: Where Golf is Headed SLRG's Jon Last joined the PGA of America's Sandy Cross and the LPGA's Kiernan Schindler for a lively presentation on the state of the women's golf market at the EWGA's Empowerment '13 Conference in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Topics included a number of player development initiatives being spearheaded by golf's governing bodies as well as recent Sports and Leisure Research Group studies that have helped identify and define key business drivers for golf facilities to optimize womens' participation and satisfaction.

Golf Market Assessment and Future Trends was the opening keynote session at the PGA Fall Expo's Fast Track Education program on August 20. PGA of America Senior Director Paul Metzler led the discussion and presentation in Las Vegas, which featured SLRG's Jon Last and Greg Nathan of the National Golf Foundation. You can download a complimentary copy of the presentation slides, here at the SLRG web site.

RECENT SLRG RESEARCH OF INTEREST: SLRG Research Helps Clients Optimize Retail Advertising Decisions; Destination Cooperative Marketing and Sports Fan Engagement

Breaking Through the Retail Clutter

Like many highly competitive industries, sporting goods retail can suffer from what has been pejoratively referred to in referencing cruise line advertising as a "sea of sameness." Sports and Leisure Research Group has worked with clients across multiple categories to help discern the creative elements that can enable an advertisement or on-site promotional presence to compel the consumer to more strongly consider their brand. Recently, SLRG completed a study built upon a series of online advertising concept tests to help a leading retailer optimize its advertising across multiple media platforms. Utilizing a variety of ad concepts designed for radio, television and print media, the SLRG research team created a series of "multi-variate" tests and an experimental design approach that exposed target consumers to the prototype ads in a cost efficient online study. The study's findings not only determined which advertisements created the greatest consumer impact, but also isolated those message points that created the greatest resonance, aligned most closely with the client brand and best differentiated the client from its competitive set.

Off the Couch and into the Stadium: Creating Meaningful On-Site Fan Experiences

High definition television, and interactive media have certainly been top of mind for team and sports property marketers charged with growing fan engagement and driving ticket sales. In recent months Sports and Leisure Research Group has been working with professional sports teams, agencies and activating sponsors to both get a better sense of ways to create the most compelling on-site experiences and leverage a desirable and captive audience through meaningful activation that strengthen the communal bonds between a franchise and ticket buyers. SLRG's work this summer has included fan focus group discussions to evaluate a team's value proposition, on-site stadium intercepts and online fan studies to gauge and demonstrate the impact of in venue marketing activation, and a mix of multi-modal studies aimed at testing and refining a number of amenities and venue based promotions to add value to the fan experience at live sporting events.

Measuring and Quantifying the Impact of Golf Facility Performance on Destination Marketing

Numerous travel destination CVBs have smartly leveraged their portfolio of resort and public access golf facilities to help drive guest visitation. Sports and Leisure Research Group has worked with several of these destinations to measure and track consumer attitudes, perceptions and visitation intent, and the results have helped to not only position a destination, but to identify demand and perceived strengths and weaknesses relative to competitive destinations. But for one particular client, SLRG has taken the approach a step further by building and launching a continuous research mechanism that also helps demonstrate the economic impact of the market's golf facilities, while giving each member property a way to benchmark their own performance within the market. It's a cost effective and cooperative approach that uniquely and discreetly has enabled participating properties within the destination, to track key operational performance metrics, while concurrently arming the CVB with valuable supporting data that can support increased funding of golf cooperative marketing.


Media Post's Marketing Sports:

SLRG President Jon Last's monthly blog/column on Media Post, provides insights drawn from recently conducted market studies as well as commentary and suggestions for sports marketers looking to optimize their use of research to enhance decision making. Synopses of the most recent items are included below, or read the full items here. Jon's columns post regularly on the second Tuesday of each month. You can find them on the SLRG website or receive immediate notifications on Twitter, by following him, here.


Beware the Bells and Whistles, "Proprietary" Sports Research Methodologies are Often More Sizzle Than Steak

The May 2013 posting diffuses the self aggrandizing boasts of some who claim that there are elusive "black box" methodologies when conducting research. Rather, the ability to truly customize an approach for a particular client's needs and cultural realities, are the more critical success factors behind any study. Read the full piece here.


Transparency, Accountability and Accessibility as Mandatory Marketing Assets in an Era of 24-7 Visibility:

June's column reflects on why and how maintaining a certain level of transparency and direct dialogue between sports properties and their audiences has become increasingly important in today's marketplace. Read the full piece here.


Don't Drown in a Tidal Wave of Information

The July Marketing: Sports speaks to some of the potential potholes and missteps that sports properties need to avoid when conducting marketing research and monitoring fan conversations be it on sports talk radio, through social media, or with self selecting "convenience samples", and offers some guidelines to separate grandstanding from real representative sentiment. Read the full piece here.


Marketing in The Era of the Modern Day 'Joe Hardy'

Jon Last's August 2013 commentary takes a step back from some of the recent sensationalistic headlines surrounding athletes, to offer a more tempered and realistic interpretation of the impact of these developments on the sports marketing landscape. Read the full piece here.

Good News for Private Clubs

In his latest commentary, SLRG President Jon Last cites recent research conducted with private club members, to reveal some welcomed positive momentum. However, the data also suggest some potentially troubling underpinnings of this performance shift, and some ideas on how to combat them. Read More »

Connecting With Her: It Makes Financial Sense for PGA Professionals

In the July 2013 PGA Magazine, Jon Last shares SLRG research that demonstrates the actions golf facilities can take to grow profitability and share of customer by instituting women friendly best practices. Read More »