High-end clubs are “afraid” of digital and social marketing because opening up information about their club to a much wider audience flies in the face of the exclusive nature of private clubs, according to Zack Bates, CEO at Private Club Marketing.
Marketing is still a “nascent” discipline in the affluent private club industry, which explains why many clubs are “afraid” of the “massive beast” of digital marketing.
“I believe many clubs and their boards are afraid of adopting new media too quickly. That’s because it means accessibility of information that you previously reserved for a select few people. It was very valuable for club to have those inside stories but now it is now available for everyone that wants to look at it.
“Social media means the democratisation of information. Do you really want to do that if you’re at the top of the private club ranks? That’s a question that fundamentally a lot of clubs may not have answered for themselves.”
The luxury market, beyond private country clubs, for products such as high end watches, the issue of adopting digital and social media is even more challenging, and warns marketers in these categories against using digital marketing for the sake of it.
“I wouldn’t immediately say ‘go digital, go social’. I’d be very careful to think through why you’re doing it and what purpose it serves before you go and do it,” he says.