From celebrity tournaments to charity events, more and more consumers have gained interest in golf and are hitting the links or enjoying the game from a spectator level. For insurance agents, a round of golf is an opportunity to socialize with colleagues and clients and participate in some friendly competition, or an appropriate venue for networking opportunities. However, what many agents have failed to realize is that golf also presents a great opportunity to market to one of the fastest growing fan bases in the nation: the Hispanic golfer.
Not unlike their general market counterparts, the Hispanic consumer will go through a series of life changing events, causing the need for insurance-related products and services. Insurance agents are more aware than most of the need to act upon life events such as purchasing a new automobile, a home or the birth of a child.
Since Hispanics have a $675 billion spending power, marketers have quickly developed campaigns to make sure their messages are reaching this influential audience. Some companies have turned to traditional marketing strategies such as direct mail in Spanish or have incorporated a multicultural feel to their advertising campaigns. However, in order to activate a brand within the Hispanic community it is important for insurance agents to connect with their customers at their level. Engaging in sports activities, golf in particular, is a great way to accomplish this.
Consider these numbers: eight million Hispanics consider themselves golf fans and compared to the general Hispanic market, 20 percent more Hispanics who are fans of the PGA have annual incomes of $250,000 and are college graduates. More than double own a home with a market value of $1 million or higher. Dozens of professional golf tournaments take place in markets throughout the United States with the largest Hispanic populations. These statistics illustrate golf is a viable marketing platform to reach more affluent and educated Hispanics–a segment that is difficult to reach.
When so many agencies spend marketing dollars to reach the general market through golf, why does the Hispanic market get overlooked?
Companies must utilize various effective approaches to reach their many key markets. Programs should go beyond the stereotypical approaches and demonstrate an understanding of the audience in order to establish a connection.
Here are a few ideas that can be of assistance for insurance companies interested in targeting Hispanics through golf.
For the love of the game. Insurance marketers must realize that Latinos love sports. Period. Golf included. But marketers need to be able to match the right sport with the targeted consumer segments. This means being willing to try something new and being educated about how to implement the opportunities.
Know the customer base. For companies already involved with golf sponsorships, they should request that the governing body and/or individual tournaments demonstrate how they will help the company grow its Latino customer base on a national and/or local level. It is important for marketers to know who will oversee and coordinate their programs, and ensure that the sports organization has the internal staff to execute this. Many times organizations do not have the internal manpower and the brand is left relying on inexperienced partners, who may not understand the message or audience the company is trying to reach.
Get input. Ask your agencies for support and direction. It is important to know what their plans are for delivering this targeted consumer base. How do they plan on reaching more affluent and educated Latinos? What is their history and working knowledge of the sport? Are they providing relevant research? Do they know what has worked before and what has not, so mistakes are not repeated?
Marketers spend hundreds of millions of dollars to reach their general market consumers via golf. For a fraction of what is currently spent on this proven marketing platform, marketers can reach a wider audience with incremental dollars.
This is not to say reaching Latinos via golf is cheap, but rather that the sport in general cannot demand premium prices yet because they do not offer the sophisticated outreach initiatives offered in the general market. Brands are in the driver’s seat because they heavily rely on their corporate partners to fund their Latino initiatives. This creates a tremendous opportunity for brands over the next few years.