Founded in 1894, the USGA conducts many of golf’s premier professional and amateur championships, including the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open. The U.S. Women’s Open is known as the ultimate test of golf for the best female players in the world. It’s the one golfers want to win the most.
Knight Eady entered into a partnership with the USGA as the marketing and creative agency for the U.S. Women’s Open in advance of the 73rd U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Knight Eady was tasked with to providing media planning and buying and creative services to promote and market the 2018 Open.
As the 2019 U.S. Women’s Open approached, the Knight Eady team needed to help the USGA extract the right storylines for this championship that would resonate with both endemic golf fans and casual event-goers. Located in Charleston, South Carolina, the 2019 Open boasted one of the top tourist destinations in the U.S. - Charleston is not lacking in activities and entertainment and provided stiff competition for attention of potential ticket buyers.
Knight Eady had to develop a deep understanding of the market, identify and segment the personas of potential ticket buyers, develop a message they could relate to, and place the message in the right place at the right time in a way that would drive fans to purchase and attend.
In order to be successful, Knight Eady needed to help the USGA develop a strong “Go To Market” plan rooted in a strong understanding of the demographics and psychographics of the area and the right audience segmentation. From the USGA’s insights, it was known that most ticket buyers for a U.S. Women’s Open come from within a 150-mile radius of the host site. While the majority of the ticket buyers fall within the 55+ male demographic, the revenue goals would not be met without attracting a variety of both golf enthusiasts and casual event-goers.
Knight Eady began by conducting secondary research on the Charleston DMA to understand the types of potential ticket buyers in the area and learn where they spend their time, what their interests are and how they consume their media. These insights would direct not only the flighting and placement of the campaign but also how to structure and target a variety of strategic messages in order to best capture the attention of each type of buyer persona.
Working with the USGA, Knight Eady defined the strategy amongst two buyer persona types: the enthusiast and the casual fan.
The Golf Enthusiast
The core golf enthusiast embodied the buyer the USGA knew the most about. He or she is a frequent U.S. Open or U.S. Women’s Open attendee, loves and plays the game of golf regularly and is an avid fan of the game. This buyer would resonate with player imagery, golf-specific messaging and emphasizing the magnitude of the championship experience.
Casual Event Fan
The casual event fan represented the stretch audience. This buyer type is engaged in the community and likes going to events and being seen at events. He or she cares less about the inside-the-ropes golf action and more about the overall experience from food and beverage options, family-friendly experiences and post-worthy settings.
Ultimately the campaign landed on the idea that fans must “Be Here” to experience the event live and in-person. Using the active voice, the messaging presented a more inviting and inclusive tone, which helped the championship feel more accessible to all types of fans. Artwork featured a variety of perspectives a fan may have when experiencing the championship – from being up close along the rope lines, getting an autograph from a favorite player, bringing your child to their first championship, enjoying happy hour with friends and more.
Throughout the campaign, imagery and messaging was specifically tailored to the seasons with peaks for the summer launch, holiday messaging and the spring time leading up to the championship. Each media buy and placement of the artwork was intentional in order to efficiently and effectively utilize the media budget and reach the audience at the right time and drive them through to purchase.