Golf League Tees Up Telemarketing for Membership Drive

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The World Golf League Inc., an organization that holds golf tournaments open to all players, is set to launch a telemarketing membership drive this week by offering a discount benefits card to prospects.

The effort will target 4 million golfers who play more than 20 times a year and who bought direct marketing golf products in the past six months. American Leisure Marketing & Technology will carry out the campaign.

Telemarketing is the best method to reach the World Golf League's target market because it is more cost-efficient and generates better response rates than mail, said Bryan Fisher, CEO of 2 Consult Inc., Altamonte Springs, FL, which is managing the campaign on behalf of Global Sports Marketing, Orlando, FL.

List data on the golf market has improved in recent years, making a targeted telemarketing campaign to the segment possible, he said.

"There are 26 million golfers in the United States," Fisher said. "Telemarketing is the best way to get to those markets."

In the campaign, the World Golf League will offer the WGL Premier Membership Card for $9.95 monthly. The card will be good for discounts at more than 2,500 golf courses worldwide and entail travel and golf retail discount benefits as well.

Also, the campaign will upsell a $105 "competition" membership. Those who accept the upsell may compete in a one-day qualifying golf tournament for a chance to advance to a national competition.

When he heard about the league, Fisher said, he thought that some of the travel discount programs with which he was working might be adapted to the golf market. The WGL card program has been in development for two years, he said.

The campaign is to start Sept. 15, Fisher said. But the launch may be delayed to ensure that fulfillment capabilities are firmly in place and customers receive their orders on time, he said.

The World Golf League has tested the offer on a base of 400,000 golfers in the past 18 months. While not disclosing results, the league said that based on the tests it projects that the campaign will acquire 8,000 new members monthly, with about 50 percent accepting both the initial offer and the upsell.

The campaign is expected to generate $11 million in gross revenue, according to the league. A $6 million bottom-line profit, which includes the effect of a 20 percent monthly cancellation rate, is projected.

Fisher said he knows that the campaign is starting amidst the negative publicity of the launch of the national no-call list, which takes effect Oct. 1. However, he said that preparations have been made for new federal regulations on telemarketing -- including new limits on predictive dialers and abandonment rates -- and that the effect is expected to be limited.

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