I was asked by a reporter yesterday how we break through the clutter?
How do you get people to pay attention to a women’s golf event during the heat of football season in an unapologetically football-obsessed town? It was a great question and my my initial answer was admittedly kind of lame, but it gave rise to to some introspection. I think I said something like, “We’re doing a lot of guerrilla marketing, a lot of really small ball stuff, like talking to important groups and handing tickets to people.”
It’s something you think of in the moment, because, well, you’re in the moment and with 9 days to go, it’s all about the moment. But, aside from this journey being a cool marketing case study (in what to do and what not to do) really, there have been so many people help us build this along along the way. So I sent him this as my follow up this morning. It kind of turned into a thank you note of sorts. Even if this never makes his story or the story never makes the news, I think it’s important for it to be told. Thanks for reading!
…You also asked about how do we drum up support and promote the event, especially on a small budget – how do we break through the clutter. You make a good point: it’s the middle of football season in a football town! We’ve had great support from so many entities:
Our Official Media partners like the JBJ, Action News and Brent Martineau, the PV Recorder have all been generous with their ad support and their editorial coverage. Tony Sotelo from Action News has spent hours producing our TV spots. Even media that isn’t “directly” involved has been so helpful – Jacksonville Magazine gave us some great ink this month, WJXT had us on River City Live, Mia O’Brien from WTLV came out to media day and participated in the PXG club fitting. WTLV ran our ads as PSA’s when they had avails. Frank Frangie and Lauren Brookes have given us plenty of love. Garry Smits at the TU has been generous with his very spread out time and his limited news hole. Florida News Line gave us front page coverage.
St Johns County TDC has been hugely supportive from the minute we walked in the door. We received one of their biggest grants in the last few years, maybe their biggest, because they recognize what this energy can do to bring eyeballs to our market and because they believe in the mission. The Commissioners have all had our backs. Commissioner Blocker has given me an open door. Commissioner Dean spoke on our kick off Media Panel.
The St Johns County VCB and Jacksonville International Airport are co-sponsoring our VIP Concert so we can have a great thank you party for all who’ve been helpful. We have advertising all over the airport welcoming players and promoting free tickets. Jaya Dillard has navigated us through the complex waters of all the local organizations that make this town tick – and introduced us to some great people along the way.
Fashion designer and world-beater Katherine Way Designs is running the pop-up retail space for us so we can help our sponsors promote their products. This is a way bigger undertaking than I thought and her first answer is always, YES!” She even let me share the stage with Dottie Pepper during a Women’s Empowerment Panel. Me! And Dottie Pepper! Tom Johnson at Manifest Distilling not only got us in front of owner David Cohen who jumped at the chance to jump in, but they literally brought their distributor, RNDC and Jason Weston to the table which led us to a great partnership with two other brands Dobel Tequila and St Francis Winery.
Even other golf courses and course operators have lent their support by sending promotional materials to their members about volunteering, the free admission and the junior clinic. There are too many to name – we probably have posters and stacks of tickets in 100 golf courses and related businesses from Palm Coast to Amelia Island. JAGA, NFJG, First Tee and LPGA Girls have helped us promote to their members. LPGA has helped us reach their developmental players.
The World Golf Village partners are a huge help; the Renaissance Resort Hotel is offering the players a crazy good rate so they can afford to stay there. Murray Brothers Caddy Shack is basically donating their restaurant for the INK! Charity Pro Am dinner. Troon Golf, who owns the golf courses, is bending over backwards to make this work for our players – we’re taking their facilities for the better part of two weeks. The World Golf Hall of Fame is giving us office space that might just be the nicest Tournament Headquarters on the planet. We literally have keys to the building – I used to work there an didn’t have keys to the building!
We’ve got 100+ volunteers giving us their time and talent to make sure the players and sponsors all feel welcome and loved. And we’ve got some great restaurants helping us take care of them like Grumpy’s, Trasca, MIO Organic, Chick Fil A, Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts.
Even the area men’s sports have kicked in:
- Jags Foundation made a financial contribution as a hole sponsor
- TPC Sawgrass donated a foursome on the Stadium (!) for the INK! Charity Pro Am auction
- PLAYERS donated a nice ticket package for the INK! Charity Pro Am auction
- We had really good conversations with the fellow “minor league clubs,” the Jumbo Shrimp and the Icemen. Our timing was just off with their seasons – like having their players come out to the Junior Clinic or have our players come to a game. But the Shrimp aren’t in season (ha!) and the Icemen are on the road (and it’s not like minor league ball clubs are dripping with donation cash). They’ve both offered items for the INK Pro Am auction.
All of these organizations – and so many more I’m apologetically forgetting – Landstar, Haskell, Canon – recognize the value of the event, the importance of shining a light on women’s sports and women’s initiatives and what we’re doing for Investing in Kids, and all of this helps beyond measure – and words! We’re grateful to even the folks that for whatever valid business reasons couldn’t help for just opening the door and listening. Needless to say our door is open for 2022 if you can join the party!
No doubt I ruffled some feathers along the way and for that I’m kind of sorry, but as the always-inspiring Katherine Way said to me, “You‘re creating change. Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make the omelette.”
So the short answer is we’re building a community around the PXG Women’s Match Play Championship, a Generation W Collab, and there are lots of folks we really appreciate helping us build it.