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Golf Unlimited research dissects super wealthy LSM 14+ market

The affluent “LSM 14+” market is notoriously difficult to reach but one of the places where they are ‘contactable’ is on the golf course. To prove the efficacy of its media platform within this environment, Unlimited subsidiary Golf Unlimited (GU) recently commissioned research which unequivocally proves the value of the medium.

The GU media platform consists of digital screens located on golf carts at mostly 5-star golf courses across the country. This places them in direct view of an upper echelon market within a highly sought after, premium environment. In light of this, Golf Unlimited MD Pieter Groenewald says; “Where else would your brand get about 14 minutes of dwell time with such a condensed, high-end demographic audience without anyone else ‘shouting’ at them?”

Each digital GU screen is refreshed on every hole with a new advertisement and during that time features vital, accurate information necessary to play the best golf shot including distance and pin placement etc. This is accompanied by an advertisement in the lower left hand corner of the screen, with the ability to change during the course of the hole and is refreshed with a new advertisement at the next hole.

The latest GU research was conducted at two premier clubs in Gauteng – the Ernie Els Club Pretoria and Serengeti near OR Tambo International Airport – given that both of them are representative of our footprint and the profile of player that frequent the clubs where we’re represented.

Groenewald explains; “This year we looked at the business roles of our target market whereas the previous round focused on lifestyle factors.” This allowed the GU team to drill down into a more specific profile of the audience who is exposed to its clients’ advertising which revealed that despite only 0.3% of South Africans earn more than R40 000 a month i.e. 3 out of every 1 000 people, 60% of the GU audience earns more than that.

In terms of gross income 29% of respondents indicated that they earn more than a
R1-million per year, which is significant. Even more significant, however, is the 28% who declined to reveal their income which usually indicates earnings at the top end of the scale.

“If one were to combine both figures this means that 57% of our audience earns more than R1-million with a broader figure of 60% earning more than R800 000. In addition, our research showed that 70% of our audience is in senior management or an owner or director of a company, while 89% either influence decisions or are major decision makers within their business,” reveals Groenewald.

The research also asked a flying frequency question to establish whether the GU audience really are high flyers. These results confirmed that they most definitely are, given that 19% fly at least once a week, 49% fly more than two to three times a month and 85% fly once a month. “This is important because traditionally when you want to reach these high flyers, clients utilise airport advertising where brands instantly become part of a highly cluttered environment,” explains Groenewald.

In terms of access to technology a whopping 63% of the GU audience also reported that they owned a tablet. “Now unless you go to Apple head office you probably won’t find a propensity of tablet users higher than this anywhere else!” comments Groenewald.

But does it really work?

The quality of the GU audience in an uncluttered premium environment aside, the million dollar question is will a client’s advertising work within this environment? To prove this, golfers were exposed to ads that had never been flighted on a media platform before and they were only exposed to that ad on one hole.

Following this, an incredible 50% of the players who came off the course could recall the ads without being prompted and when prompted, 77% could which proves the efficacy of this form of advertising.

Interestingly, when golfers were asked what they would like to see on the GU screens, they said they view it as a medium that informs and persuades particularly.

“From this we can extrapolate that our media type is not really about a call to action but is key in terms of information and persuasion. So if, for example, BMW launches a new range of vehicles the GU platform is an excellent way of communicating the specs of the car in a highly visible manner.”

Groenewald adds that the reason it’s a persuasive medium is that it’s consumed within a relaxed, social environment which means it’s conducive to creating talkability around a brand that can lead to endorsement by fellow players.