Tag Archives: sports marketing

The Masters and Augusta National Golf Club – A Marketing Lesson Unlike Any Other

I played Augusta this week. Well sort of. I did not play golf, but if walking around admiring the magnificent beauty of the single most defining atmosphere of any sport can be considered playing, then that’s what I did. That’s right. I said it. Let the debates begin. I absolutely believe no venue defines its sport more than Augusta National does for golf. Fenway Park. Daytona. The Brickyard. Actually, old St. Andrews of Scotland is pretty darn defining. But I still place it behind Augusta National.

From a marketing perspective, there are actually some strong lessons we can learn from Augusta National (and a few of the other sacred venues in sports). Here are three of them that jump out to me:

1. Exclusivity matters. Imagine if your company delivered an experience so strong that customers would be thrilled to pay a premium for it. There’s an aura of privacy to Augusta National that builds on its lore. Marketers use membership and loyalty clubs to create this very reaction.

2. Don’t erode your identity for profits. Often we see companies salivate on their own success so much that they attempt to capitalize every way possible. Many of us call this a “sell-out”. Augusta National has two sponsors for the most important golf tournament of the year. Why? They have always felt commercialization of the tournament would lessen the golfer and spectator experience. An easy call to make 50 years ago, but in today’s multi-million dollar sponsorships it’s tempting. Augusta National maintains its elite status by standing to its low commercial content rules today (56 minutes of every hour broadcast on TV is commercial free).

3. Aesthetics matter – a lot! What do you think of when you think of Augusta? Here’s my list: golf; azaleas; pines; Masters; green jackets; greatness; tradition; a theme song (I can hear it now); perfectly groomed fairways and greens; caddies wearing white jump suits; the 13th hole (Amen Corner). That’s quite the profile. Was there any question where I was talking about? Their consistencies behind the elements that give them their identity are the reason why Augusta National has such rich imagery.

I’m sure the list could be longer. If you have any extras let me know. I’m off to leverage the inspiration of Augusta into a better golf swing.