E-Newsletter   |  SEPTEMBER 2018
Full News & Views Archives Now Available on SLRG Web Site

For ten years, Sports and Leisure Research Group has provided numerous downloads, POVs and extensive content on sports, travel and media trends, all driven by our extensive research within these verticals. Now, as part of an upgrade of our website, you can easily access all of these past issues.  Just CLICK HERE to get started discovering an abundance of complimentary content provided to help our friends and clients stay on top of their industries 


Last to Keynote and Deliver Feature Presentation at Golf, Inc.  September 17-19  

Sports and Leisure Research Group President Jon Last will moderate and participate in the opening keynote and closing sessions of the 2018 Golf, Inc. Strategies Summit September 17-19 in Carlsbad, California.

MONDAY Sept 17: 1:30PM--SLRG, Top Golf, USGA, Open with Trends Impacting Golf's Future

Kicking off the conference, SLRG President, Jon Last, will be joined by Rand Jerris, Ph.D, Senior Managing Director, Public Services, USGA ; Top Golf Chairman Erik Anderson and Steven Ekovich, National Managing Director, Marcus & Millichap 
at the La Costa Resort and Spa. Monday afternoon's opening keynote "Three Macro Trends That will Impact Golf in the Future will speak to: 
  • How the golfer experience is evolving the 'facility of tomorrow'
  • New rules for the delivery of golf content
  • Research driven perspectives on marketing and operational trends
The panel will share direct experiences and perspectives and reflect upon recent SLRG research and other industry initiatives that will provides a road map for delivering an impactful and relevant golf experience and resonant engagement  for golfers in the future.
WEDNESDAY Sept 19: 11:00AM--Millenials: Insights From The Market Everyone Is Struggling To Capture

In the closing conference session, Blue Green CEO Manuel Biota and Golf Pay CEO Dale Merritt join SLRG's Jon Last to discuss recent research findings  regarding golf and millennials. This session will speak to what the next generation of golfers want, dispel some popular generational myths and explore the similarities and differences in the mindsets of various generational cohorts.
To learn more details and register for the conference, CLICK HERE
POV: Labor Day; Labor of Love

The unofficial end of Summer, Labor Day is admittedly one of my least favorite holidays. I have always been a warm weather person. Hence the earliest hints of autumn (football season excluded) are an unwelcome reminder that those balmy humid days that I covet, will soon be a memory.  But for many, Labor Day is looked upon as a much needed respite from the daily grind...a day away to forget about work.  Not surprising given countless surveys that reveal the majority of Americans dislike their jobs.

Perhaps I've been blessed to find a vocation that does not typically feel like work, but I've always subscribed to the mantra.."Do what you love. Love what you do; and the rewards will follow."  Even my time out of the office, is usually in some way related to my passions for sports, travel and understanding human behavior.  I'm always one to believe that a common trait among those who are successful in their work is that they don't hesitate to roll up their sleeves and immerse themselves in their jobs because they are constantly learning, growing and surrounding themselves with people and experiences that inspire them.

When I completed my MBA at Wharton, the majority of my classmates went to Wall Street, consulting or packaged goods. I took a job with the PGA of America, earning about half of what my classmates did. Sure, I felt envious of their relative initial financial compensation.  But it wasn't long after they started, that they began feeling unrewarded or unfulfilled. They were going to work and getting paid, while I truly cared about the "product" that I was working with, the craft that I was developing and the environment that I was exposed to.

Life is too short to not enjoy what you do.  I've met too many people who followed the money or took the easy or expected path in their careers and later regretted those choices. I'm thankful that I didn't fall prey to that type of thinking.  Happy Labor Day.
Emotional Coding Enables Qualitative to Quantitative Story Telling

In recent years, some researchers have turned to the use of "wordles" or thought bubbles to illustrate the most frequently utilized phrases from open ended responses in quantitative research.  Often utilizing semantics scrapers and other technology to create a hierarchy of these answers, the results are a simple means to cut through extensive respondent comments.  Unfortunately, such practice often eschews numerous contextual interpretations, often rendering misinformation or buried insights.  
Machine learning, AI and web scrapers that identify language patterns are not a substitute for the human element of considering the appropriate context.  They fail to probe respondents or apply research techniques culled from social psychology, as good qualitative researchers can.  Pulling out the raw emotion and motivations behind one's comments are even more critical in high involvement, passion driven categories like sports and travel.  
In two recent projects, one for a major youth sports initiative, the other for a leading destination property, we deployed, what we called "emotional coding" to open ended responses. 
Role Playing Allows Research Team to Examine the Sentiment of Language

We often use projective exercises in qualitative research to get a respondent to think 'outside of themselves.'  For example SLRG moderators might ask respondents to put themselves in someone else's shoes to describe photos of others and determine what they might feel or do, and why.  In other circumstances the respondent can be asked to associate brands or products with other brands from different categories all towards better gleaning perceptions across a broader customer base.
But in two recent sporting goods studies conducted with elite athletes, it was the researcher that needed to take on a different persona.  CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.

SLRG's Jon Last 's August 21 blog post for Marketing Research Institute International looks at ways that researchers can get past the contradictory challenges of being succinct, thorough and value additive in delivering marketing research reports.  Last is immediate past president of the Institute and serves as its current Marketing Committee Chair. READ HERE
In his August Media Post Marketing: Sports column, SLRG President Jon Last speaks to the dangers of relying solely on web scrapers to analyze fan/customer sentiment.  The human element inserts the added value benefits of context, essential for effective qualitative story telling. Click here to read it.
The July Marketing Insider column looks at why the 24-7 sports news cycle may actually have a negative effect on fan engagement. READ IT HERE.
In June's Marketing Insider, SLRG's Jon Last speaks to some interesting opportunities that sports properties may enjoy with the legalization of sports wagering. READ IT HERE.
In the Summer issue of By Design, SLRG's Benchmark "Market Trend Watch" study highlights reveal the most desired aspects of golf facility renovation, as well as the most critical drivers of the decision process for both public and private courses. READ IT HERE.
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