A Tradition Unlike Any Other | Marketing Lessons From The Masters
It’s that time of the year again.
Early April . . . Flowers are blooming. The weather is beginning to feel like summer and the scent of pimento cheese is filling every kitchen in the South . . . wait what?
You might have thought I was referring to the change in seasons, but what I’m really referring to is the start of the legendary Master’s tournament.
It’s hard to believe that this week is already back, but I can’t be more excited. The first full week of April has it all. Stunning views. Impressive feats of athleticism. Of course, who could forget about the beautiful chimes of the Master’s signature tune?
Beyond all this, I’ve found some valuable insights that I wanted to call out for my own business. Curious to hear more? Let’s dive in, shall we?
First, let’s talk about the scenery.
If you’ve ever been to Augusta National, you already know what I’m talking about.
When I went to the Master’s with a few of my friends in college, we all purchased the signature $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches. Almost immediately, one of them dropped theirs right on the ground. Bummer right?! Absolutely not. We were in college and were 99% sure that the grass on this course was cleaner than the floors in our house. He finished that sandwich.
When I say the grass is perfectly kept, I mean it. The signature azaleas also seem to bloom at the perfect time each year, almost like magic. Every pine needle under every tree seems intentionally placed. Why? Because the beauty that captivates patrons year after year keeps people wanting to come back.
Can’t come back? No problem! They’ve done an amazing job making The Master’s accessible to everyone. Whether it be on TV, on your computer at masters.com, or via their own app you can always find the video feed! The scenery keeps people circulating stories of their memories of watching the tournament in years past. It has become something that families want to share with future generations.
Does your business have a signature look and feel that keeps customers wanting to come back again and again?
Now, let’s talk about the level of talent in Augusta this week.
The best of the best in golf are the guys who can adapt to the ever-changing course conditions. Any competitor looking to bring home the Green Jacket this year will have to overcome volatile weather conditions, exceptionally fast greens, and the toughest competition in the world. Those who adapt the quickest will have the most success this weekend.
In business, we have to adapt quickly as well.
Those who adapt to changes in the market are more likely to outlast their competition. The very first principle that Nike founder Phil Knight has hanging on his wall says “Our business is change”.
If change scares you, I challenge you to try and overcome it by making it a part of your weekly routine. Ask yourself, "What conditions have changed that we need to adapt to in order to thrive?"
I guarantee that you won’t see a Master’s champion crowned without taking risks.
I don’t mean big, stupid risks. I mean calculated, well-thought-out risks. The best golfers in the world take risks to win big, when it counts. Your business should do the same!
While it’s important to have a strong foundation and consistent messaging, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Try something new! It’s ok to test something that hasn’t been tested before. This is the only way to know what will and won’t work for YOUR business.
One of our founders, Chandler, says it best. You should feel comfortable taking risks as long as it doesn’t bankrupt the business or bankrupt the brand. If it doesn't cross one of these boundaries then go for it. Don’t hold back!
Finally, let’s talk about customer experience.
I hope everyone reading this someday gets to visit Augusta National. Not only is it beautiful, but it's also well thought out in order to give fans the perfect experience. Below are some of the things that they have done to create such an amazing experience for fans:
No cell phones. This allows for memories to be made in the moment
Few corporate logos. This keeps the natural beauty of the course front and center.
Fair prices on concessions.
Clean bathrooms with attendants and queue lines.
No running allows for everyone to have a fair shot at seeing their favorite golfer.
No cameras. The only exception being practice tournament dates.
In 2023, Augusta National is still selling sandwiches for $1.50 and beers in souvenir take-home cups for $5. They could quadruple their prices, and people would still spend just as much. They are committed to protecting that experience and that image by putting their money where their purpose is.
We’re not saying that you should offer people steep discounts or not adjust for inflation. We're challenging you to see what you can do to make for an unforgettable customer experience.
As you can probably tell by now, I’m a little into this golf tournament.
I’ve made memories at Augusta National with family and friends. I asked my best friend to be the best man of my wedding while we smoked a cigar on that course. It means a lot to me, but it has also taught me a lot about what we can do right to create a loyal customer forever.
So, whether you’re a golf fan or not, keep these insights in mind as you navigate the ever-changing world of business and marketing. And try to find some time this weekend to kick back on the couch and enjoy the best experience golf has to offer!