This article was written by Kristine Roberson, Membership & Marketing Director, and originally appeared in the Club’s June 2017 Newsletter.
These days, it seems I can’t get through a blog, podcast or book on marketing and sales without the subject of the Millennials popping up. If you haven’t heard this term yet, it is the name used to reference the generation generally between the ages of 20 and 37. There’s a plethora of research on the habits of this generation, and it makes complete sense from a business, marketing and sales perspective. Businesses wanting to increase their attractiveness to upcoming and future generations need to understand the buying, spending, saving and entertaining habits of said generations.
I, myself, am a Generation Xer (37-50 year olds), while my oldest “child” just turned 18 and could be considered a Millennial. Our Club’s largest age group is the 60-69 year group, so a great deal of our members are Baby Boomers. Nationwide, though, Baby Boomers are no longer the largest in numbers. The Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomers. The Millennials also have a current spending power of $4.4 TRILLION and, in as little as 10 years, will make up 75 percent of the workforce.
The median age of residents of Lodi? 35.8 – yep, Millennials. This is a significant statistic for local businesses, including ours. This is fantastic news for the Club. Let me show you why:
Millennials value EXPERIENCES, not things
This generation would rather spend their hard-earned money on experiences rather than material possessions. While this is bad news for Mercedes and Rolex, this is great news for the private club industry because we primarily sell experiences. Every round of golf is a new experience. Spending the day playing tennis, an evening at a Club event or a day at the pool with family are all great experiences we offer at the Club. And our Long Range Plan will increase those experiences for all our members, their guests and the local Lodi demographic.
Millennials value FAMILY
In his book, “The Definitive Guide to Membership Marketing,” private club marketing expert Gabriel Aluisy writes:
“This generation is looking for places to take their kids. Both husbands and wives are likely to have careers, so the time they spend with their kids is precious to them. Beyond that, large purchasing decisions are often made or at least advised on by the ladies in millennial households. That means your club better have some options geared toward women, and your marketing needs to show it if you want to have the best chance at success.”
Men, you can skip to the next paragraph. Ladies, we know we’ve always held those purse strings, but this generation is no longer being polite about it, if you know what I mean.
The Millennial woman wants to know what our Club is going to offer her and her children, because chances are she’s not a golfer (yet!). She’s also more willing to loosen her purse strings for children’s programming (classes, lessons, activities, etc) than for herself. The writing on the wall is this: The Millennial Member comes to our Club as a family unit, and expects experiences for the entire family. Again, our Club offers many attractive experiences already and our plan for the next decade meets even more expectations for these families.
Millennials value VALUES
This is probably one of the most heartening commonality, in my opinion. Millennials want to know what your business stands for. They want to know if the local grocery store promotes organic produce, or supports local farmers. They want to know if a portion of their purchase will go to a cause. They want to know if a business has established environmentally-sound standards. This is not to say most Millennials are of the liberal mindset. They just want to see where you stand and what your cause is. Again, this is great news for our Club. We are one of only 71 golf clubs in California that has been awarded the Audubon’s prestigious Wildlife Sanctuary designation. Additionally, this year to date we have given out 60 donated foursomes to local charity fundraisers ranging from cancer organizations to schools. Our Men’s Club and our 18-Hole Ladies also consistently donate to charities.
Millennials value SOCIAL PROOF
Customer testimonials are not a new thing, but the Millennial places high value on social proof over other generations. This means, when they are considering a private club membership, they are first visiting social media sites such as Yelp, Facebook, Google Places and Instagram to determine which local club is best suited to them. Sure, they are also talking to their friends, family and business colleagues, but the recommendations of social media strangers play high in their decision making. I’m proud of the work we’ve done to increase our social communications and presence, and am always finding new approaches to get our Club’s name seen by more eyes. But your testimonials are invaluable and not something I can recreate. Thank you to all of you who have taken the time to write a positive testimonial about our Club on your favorite social media site! Keep them coming!
When I look at these Millennial values, I realize we aren’t that different from each other. My guess is, regardless of your generation stamp, you value most or all of these commonalities as well.
When you look at the commonalities of our Millennial market, combined with current trends in the private club industry, I believe we will see an amazing revival and nationwide growth in golf and in the private clubs that move toward these experiential, family-focused trends. The future is glaringly bright.
On Tues, August 21, Kristine Roberson will present a “Marketing Strategies” talk at the Club. All are welcome to attend this free business talk, which starts at 8am and lasts about an hour. To RSVP, please call Kristine – 209-263-0115.