Marketing positioning of golf for VisitScotland

1. Introduction
As Scotland is known worldwide as ‘the home of golf’, this sport is played there since the 15th century and 550 golf courses are available in the country, it is obvious that this specific product is one of the most attractive to visit Scotland.
This is the reason why for this analysis I selected Golf in the Active theme in the VisitScotland Product Portfolio.

2. What is the customer value hierarchy?
Kotler and Keller develop a 5 levels product framework (Kotler and Keller 2009 p358) to be analysed in order to evaluate added customer value and plan product development.
VisitScotland website (Scott Porter Research & Marketing, 2006) contains a golfer typology with 8 golfers’ profiles and what are their expectations and motivations.
This is important to mention that it is not a “one size fits all” business and that the below analysis would have to be adapted to each of the segments. For the sake of this exercise I shall assume we want to attract the segment 3 i.e. “Golfing Tourists”.

a. Core Benefit:
When you buy a green-fee, you are purchasing 3 to 4 hours of relaxation in the nature offering the opportunity to walk or drive a buggy a few miles in good company and enjoying the scenery, this is the fundamental level.

b. Basic product:
It is also necessary to have a golf course with a clubhouse and facilities as buggies and/or trolleys, cloakrooms and a place to get refreshments, this is the minimum set of features needed to operate but not enough to meet our segment’s requirements.

c. Expected product:
As a golfing tourist you can expect to find a driving range, a restaurant in the clubhouse as well as a Pro-shop where you can hire clubs and buy all needed golf products and services as balls, tees, tuition, etc… Additional features can be added to reach the level 4 to exceed customers’ expectations.

d. Augmented product:
So more features can be implemented, main ones would be to have a hotel available with also villas for rent including spa and other facilities as in and outdoor sports as bowling, swimming pool, tennis, etc… These extra add-ons will ensure competitive edge and also define the identity (differentiation) of the product.

e. Potential product:
The future product, level 5 of the hierarchy, would be to integrate the attributes we listed and new ones. As we have the sport and accommodations ready, we would like to create a “Scotland one stop-shop (OSS)” concept to capture our customers and offer them a full Scottish experience in one location i.e. create a museum focusing on Scotland and the Scottish culture including local craftwork boutique, exhibitions, whiskey tasting events, etc…

3. New product development
Kotler and Keller (Kotler and Keller 2009 p614) and also Brassington and Pettitt (Brassington and Pettitt 1997 p358) are referring to an 8 steps new product development process to go through.

a. Idea generation
To generate the ideas of new products, there are well known techniques as Kotler and Keller list (Kotler and Keller 2009 p619). At this level many ideas are still available to the team e.g. create a Golf theme park, etc… including our potential product the Scotland OSS.

b. Idea screening
At this stage, it is important to assess the feasibility of the project and the probability of success (Kotler and Keller 2009 p620) i.e. probability of technical completion x probability of commercialisation given technical completion x probability of success given commercialisation to do the ranking and keep the best option.

c. Concept development and testing
This step will require the development of a detailed project that can be tested with a sample of our target audience. Are the golfing tourists interested in discovering the Scottish culture in the location where they golf (concept validation)?

d. Marketing Strategy development
Here we do position our product on the market and also build a long term strategy including pricing, budgets, and profit projections.

e. Business analysis
This analysis will provide a detailed profit analysis with risks, returns probability and so forth to confirm it is a profitable investment.

f. Product development
Once it is considered sound, we can build a prototype, in our case a first cultural event including features we would make permanent to ensure we effectively translated the customers’ requirements into a profitable product.

g. Market testing
We can plan to invite a number of golfing tourists to test and give us feed-back on our prototype to have more information on what to change to get closer to our target.

h. Commercialisation
Having used feed-back loops to review our prototype, we are now ready to launch our new integrated VisitScotland theme on the market.

4. Conclusion
There is no recipe for success but using these frameworks will help to identify what we want to achieve and help putting the right controls or stage gates in place to maximise the success rate.
An important point is the reviews to be planned, even if it is prescribed to do it only for the last 2 stages (Kotler and Keller 2009 p614), at the end of each step to validate the assumptions, risks, issues and constraints.

5. Reference list / Bibliography
BRASSINGTON, F. and PETTITT, S., 1997. Principles of Marketing. 3rd ed. Edinburgh: Pearson Education Limited.
KOTLER, P. and KELLER K.L., 2009. Marketing Management. 13th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, USA: Pearson Education, Inc.
SCOTT PORTER RESEARCH & MARKETING, 2006. Attitudes Towards Golf Breaks In Scotland Research Golfer Typologies [online]. Prepared for: VisitScotland available from: [Accessed 26 May 2009]


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