As Goulian (2013) makes clear, the purple people are womenâ€”and they are a potential growth target for the numerous golf courses around the country. Women make up half the worldâ€™s population and half the worldâ€™s workforce. Through Education and Training, Marketing and Communications, Programming and Events, and Alliance Relationships, Goulian (2013) shows that the purple people (aka women) can be made into the â€œnew constituency of the gold industryâ€ (p. 2). The article argues that women as a target audience for golf offer a chance for the game to grow. Goulianâ€™s main argument is that women are looking to have fun on the links, not to compete: they want something laid back that they can do with their female friendsâ€”and golf clubs need to embrace that desire and use it in their marketing plans.
The article points out that industries have to reconsider women as targets because women have been redefining themselves since the 1960s. They are now a viable consumer group and have money of their own to spend: â€œless than one in five married-couple families are supported by the husband aloneâ€ (Goulian, 2013, p. 7). That means for a golf club to target only men would be to make a sizeable mistake as women also have the means to support themselves and fund hobbies like golfing. What Goulian emphasizes is that too many companies fail to appeal to women because they never bother to find out what women need, what they want, what their interests are and how they can appeal to them.
Furthermore, in the golf industry women have an interest to play the game but the industry is not meeting their needs. This is problematic because â€œwhen women find an activity that they enjoy and one that allows them to escape and relax, they become committed to this activityâ€ (Goulian, 2013, p. 14). The article provides keen insights into how companies and the golf industry in particular can approach the female market and understand how women think and what they want in sporting activity.
Who Are the Purple People?
The Purple People are described as women who present significant upside for golf clubs, because they represent half the population and have a vested interest in doing fun activities with their friends. Golf currently cuts out this half of the population by marketing itself primarily as a manâ€™s game and by focusing on competition. Companies like Nike, however, have recognized the importance of appealing to the female market and as a result the company has grown its apparel line to appeal to women who are interested in fitness. It has grown its market share by creating products that are just for women. Goulian (2013) notes that golf clubs and the golf industry should be taking a page out of Nikeâ€™s playbook when it comes to courting women and marketing to them in the industry. The Purple People have for too long been ignored by the industry and now the industry is suffering from being pigeon holed. It needs to recreate its image so that what it has to offer makes sense to the Purple People and gives them an outlet with their friends that is leisurely, active, non-competitive and fun.
The Purple People are financial independent, interested in group activities, looking to do something that allows them to relax, and desirous of having a go-to hobby or recreational activity that they can do with friends. Non-competitive golf clubs offer the perfect solution: it gets women active, together in a group, and members of a club. It allows them to spend money on something they enjoy while giving them space to play the game as they want to play it.
How to Overcome Barriers
There are many different ways to overcome barriers. First, one must think of barriers as opportunities. The main opportunities to overcome barriers in the golfing industry when it comes to attracting women are in addressing issues related to 1) time, 2) friendship, 3) learning, 4) belonging, and 5) shopping. Most women do not have time for the traditional golf game which is time consuming. One way to overcome this barrier is to provide women with customized and creative time-saving formats for playing just a few rounds of golf rather than the traditional 9 or 18 holes.
Another barrier is the lack of friendshipâ€”i.e., women who play the sport. A golf club could overcome this barrier by finding ways to help women find multiple playing partners. This could include having open clubhouse nights for women to come and meet one another, sign-up sheets, online forums where women golfers can chat and make arrangements to hit the links and so on.
Third is the problem of learning. Many women feel intimidated by the golf club because there are so many knowledgeable male golfers. Clubs should view this as an opportunity to create a more inviting golf club culture that is appealing to women, where they can feel safe to ask questions and get to the know the game confidently.
Fourth, there is the problem of belonging. Women do not always feel welcome in golf clubs as it is seen as primarily a masculine environment. Women should be made to feel like they belong and the way to overcome this barrier is to personally invite them to come, return or bring their friends. They should be made to feel like the clubhouse is as much theirs as it is any manâ€™s.
Finally, shopping is a barrier. Many women feel there is a lack of golf merchandise for them specifically. Golf club owners should survey their customers to find out what they desire in merchandise. Then they should stock their shelves with these items so that women have a suitable selection to choose from.
What This Means to My Career
This information will help in promoting and marketing my facility (Stonegate Golf Club) in Florida to the Purple People. By understanding that women have different social and recreational needs from men, my facility could be better organized to meet their specific requirements and the Club could therefore tap into that untapped potential and grow its business. As Goulian (2013) points out, many women are interested in playing golf but feel that it is a manâ€™s world that they are not welcome to be part of. That myth has to be dispelled and my Club could dispel it by taking serious steps to appeal to women.
First, it could change up the culture of the place by providing more merchandise that is specific to womenâ€™s needs. Then, it could help to organize womenâ€™s groups by having a womenâ€™s night in the clubhouse where women can meet and chat and organize outings on the links. Third, it can promote lessons for women and also market a womenâ€™s round of golf that is sensitive to their time constraintsâ€”a round, for instance, that allows them to get in fewer holes and call it a day. By marketing the club as a female-friendly organization, it could appeal to women in the marketplace, grow its market share, and become a place where women feel comfortable, welcome, confident, and accepted.
Goulian, L. (2013). The Purple People, Connecting with Her. Retrieved from
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