In search of the affluent 'LSM 14+' market, Unlimited subsidiary Golf Unlimited (GU) recently commissioned research at two premier golf clubs in Gauteng; the Ernie Els Club Pretoria and Serengeti near OR Tambo International Airport.
The GU media platform consists of digital screens located on golf carts at mostly 5-star golf courses across the country. This places them in direct view of an upper echelon market within a highly sought after, premium environment. In light of this, Golf Unlimited MD Pieter Groenewald says, "Where else would your brand get about 14 minutes of dwell time with such a condensed, high-end demographic audience without anyone else 'shouting' at them?"
Each digital GU screen is refreshed on every hole with a new advertisement and, during that time, features vital, accurate information necessary to play the best golf shot including distance and pin placement etc. This is accompanied by an advertisement in the lower left hand corner of the screen, with the ability to change during the course of the hole and is refreshed with a new advertisement at the next hole.
Both golf courses are representative of the company's footprint and the profile of player that frequent the clubs where it is represented.
Groenewald explains, "This year we looked at the business roles of our target market, whereas the previous round focused on lifestyle factors." This allowed the team to drill down into a more specific profile of the audience that is exposed to its clients' advertising, which revealed that despite that only 0.3% of South Africans earn more than R40 000 a month i.e. 3 out of every 1 000 people, 60% of the GU audience earns more than that.
In terms of gross income 29% of respondents indicated that they earn more than a R1million per year, which is significant. Even more significant, however, is the 28% who declined to reveal their income, which usually indicates earnings at the top end of the scale.
"If one were to combine both figures this means that 57% of our audience earns more than R1million with a broader figure of 60% earning more than R800 000. In addition, our research showed that 70% of our audience is in senior management or an owner or director of a company, while 89% either influence decisions or are major decision makers within their business," he says.
The research also asked a flying frequency question to establish whether the target audience are high flyers. These results confirmed that 19% fly at least once a week, 49% fly more than two to three times a month and 85% fly once a month. "This is important because traditionally when you want to reach these high flyers, clients utilise airport advertising, where brands instantly become part of a highly cluttered environment," explains Groenewald.
In terms of access to technology, 63% of the audience also reported that they owned a tablet. "Now unless you go to Apple head office you probably won't find a propensity of tablet users higher than this anywhere else!"
The quality of the audience in an uncluttered premium environment aside, the question is, 'will a client's advertising work within this environment?' To prove this, golfers were exposed to ads that had never been flighted on a media platform before and they were only exposed to that ad on one hole.
Following this, 50% of the players who came off the course could recall the ads without being prompted and, when prompted, 77% could, which proves the efficacy of this form of advertising.
When golfers were asked what they would like to see on the GU screens, they said they view it as a medium that informs and persuades particularly.
"From this we can extrapolate that our media type is not really about a call to action but is key in terms of information and persuasion. So if, for example, BMW launches a new range of vehicles the GU platform is an excellent way of communicating the specs of the car in a highly visible manner."
Groenewald adds that the reason it is persuasive, is that it is consumed within a relaxed, social environment, which means it is conducive to creating talkability around a brand that can lead to endorsement by fellow players.
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