How the Swedish Golf Federation (SGF) hyper-personalized golfers’ experience with Data Talks CDP

Learn how the Swedish Golf Federation (SGF) personalized golf players’ experience using Data Talks’ Customer Data Platform...

About the Swedish Golf Federation

The Swedish Golf Federation (SGF) is an independent organization for the golf sport in Sweden, founded in 1904. Its mission is to work for prosperous golf facilities, regarding attractive operations and balanced finances, for members, guests, and employees.

  • Industry: sports
  • Organization size: large
  • Website: www.golf.se



Challenge

The Swedish Golf Federation lacked a system that could centralize and manage their member data and communication from a single source. 

Golf is one of the most popular sports in Sweden. In fact, nearly 600,000 (6%) of the country’s population have a yearly membership at one of the country’s 450 golf clubs.

As you can imagine, the Swedish Golf Federation (SGF) has a big responsibility:

  • To maintain a huge membership base
  • Oversee all Swedish golf clubs
  • Keep track of thousands of competitions and millions of daily events 

all while working to achieve their ultimate goal: to make Sweden play even more golf.

In the early 2000s, SGF supported local golf clubs with essential membership services and an in-house system to track members, competitions, and events. But as their members base grew, SGF realized they needed a solution that could streamline the communication with golf players and attract new members. Their ambition was to unite their member data, personalize and automate their communication process.

“We realized we needed to build on our existing data infrastructure and add new tools that would let us gather our member data in one place. Because of our huge membership base, we also needed a solution that could let us deliver personalized and automated communication to our members.”
Bo Bengtsson | Deputy General Secretary at Swedish Golf Federation

In addition, local golf clubs also experienced challenges of their own, such as:

  • Needing to reduce the workload of front desk workers 
  • Tailoring communication to golf members based on their golfing level
  • Sending personalized newsletters, etc. 

This meant SGF needed to develop a strategy that would also support the needs of the local golf clubs.

So, in 2018, SGF decided to renew its data infrastructure. Since managing bespoke and robust systems required a lot of work, they realized it would be challenging to accomplish on their own. As a result, SGF began searching for a solution that could:

  • Collect and centralize data from all golfer touchpoints to a single source. 
  • Act on insights about their members and understand their needs and preferences.
  • Uncover which channels members are active in and when to communicate with them. 
“Our ambition was to create a personalized and automated communication approach with our golf members, guest players, officials, and corporate sponsors. We also wanted to involve sponsors and advertisers on a federal level with insights gained from our campaigns and databases.”
Bo Bengtsson | Deputy General Secretary at Swedish Golf Federation
Because Data Talks is specialized in the sports industry, they quickly understood SGF’s unique business needs. By partnering with Data Talks, SGF would gain full access to specialists within Data Engineering, Data Science, Marketing Automation & Analytics. Thanks to this support, Data Talks would be able to receive expert support throughout the entire project. And so, SGF began its transformation journey with Data Talks.


Solution

With the support from Data Talks, SGF could implement Data Talks CDP and an omnichannel marketing automation tool to centralize and handle their data and communication on both a federal and local level. Having a huge user base, SGF needed the right tools and support to manage each step of the process. What’s more, the project also required unique business logic and strategy developed jointly by SGF and Data Talks.


Data Talks’ custom project set up

Since SGF is also responsible for managing the data of local golf clubs, the project had to be split into two parts: one for SGF and the other for the local golf clubs. Because the needs from one golf club to another could vary, SGF and Data Talks decided to start off with a pilot project including seven of the 450 golf clubs. Once the pilot project is completed, the remaining golf clubs will also be onboarded.   Once SGF signed the contract, the assigned Customer Success Manager set up the project. As a next step, a governance plan for stakeholders and staffing was set – to define clear roles and responsibilities on both party sides. To ensure the relevant stakeholders were continuously updated about the progress made, SGF and Data Talks scheduled workshops and regular check-ins. The project with SGF called for several functions: Project Manager, Data Architect, Product Owner, Backend Developers, Visualization Developer, Marketing Automation Strategist, Marketing Automation Specialists, Designer, Frontend Developer, Customer Success expert, and Support. Moreover, stakeholders from each golf club were also involved to inform about the golf clubs’ specific goals and needs. The resources were then assigned to the project according to the plan and a two-week sprint structure. One aspect that both SGF and Data Talks agreed on was the importance of planning meetings and setting clear expectations. So from the start, they established clear definitions of deliverables, deadlines, and requirements to prevent delays, conflicts, or misunderstandings.


Optimizing communication with golf members using Data Talks CDP and marketing automation

To streamline the communication between SGF and its members, Data Talks built an integration with Data Talks CDP and an omnichannel marketing automation tool. SGF could now effortlessly collect and unify its members’ data from relevant sources and touchpoints thanks to this integration. The integration also enabled SGF to handle its bookings effortlessly. And it also enabled them to create and send personalized, automated transactional emails to their members

This ensured that more than 50,000 daily transactional emails could be delivered in real-time. And these transactional emails also included personalized advertising through an integration with a third-party advertising partner. 

Thanks to Data Talks CDP and marketing automation, SGF could now personalize and automate their communication, creating a better golfer experience for their members.

Enabling golf clubs to target golfers with the right message, to the right player, in the right channel, at the right time

Thanks to Data Talks CDP and marketing automation, SGF could now deliver personalized and automated messages to its members. Now it was time to implement on a local level. As previously mentioned, since the needs could vary from one golf club to another, SGF and Data Talks decided to start off with a pilot project including seven of the 450 golf clubs.  Although the needs among golf clubs could vary, several of their goals were similar, such as:
  • Automate and streamline the communication with their members
  • Advanced segmentation of their audiences into different target groups
  • Sending hyper-personalized messages to different target audiences
  • Reducing the workload of customer support staff
“We wanted to support the local golf clubs and enable them to reach their members and new target audiences with personalized communication, leveraging technology to automate the admin work. Now with Data Talks CDP in place, golf clubs have more time to focus on their business growth and customer service.” – Bo Bengtsson | Deputy General Secretary at Swedish Golf Federation All golf clubs would receive access to the user interface of the CDP, including self-service analytics, CRM, segmentation, and newsletter functionalities. Since staff members had basic technical knowledge and limited time, Data Talks had to deliver a solution that was simple and easy to use. The CDP’s primary data source is SGF’s membership register, including information about members, competitions, bookings, cancellations, tee times, educations, and corporate events. This information was then used together with other data from the omnichannel Marketing Automation tool and behavioral data from SGF’s website.  In addition, a real-time connection with a third-party advertising partner was also put in place to deliver tailored ads to golfers in key touchpoints in the golfer journey. The personalized advertising opened the doors to additional revenue streams for the golf clubs. Besides the implementation of Data Talks CDP and custom integrations, Data Talks provided its support throughout the entire project on different levels:
  • Data-driven strategy planning workshops
  • System education tailored to multiple functions
  • Technical consulting on best practices and for developing a state of the art data structure
  • Onboarding support for SGF and the golf clubs
  • Ongoing technical support to all parties involved
 


Results

Thanks to Data Talks CDP and marketing automation, SGF can now personalize and automate all transactional emails and communication. This also removed a mountain of manual work from local golf clubs and let staff focus on delivering a better golfer experience.
“Thanks to Data Talks, SGF is now able to adapt our communication to golfers’ needs while relying on automation to deliver it.”
Bo Bengtsson | Deputy General Secretary at Swedish Golf Federation

Data Talks CDP has also helped local golf clubs deliver on their own goals, enabling them to streamline their communication with their members. Golf clubs in the pilot project can now unify their member data into a single source. This lets them gain valuable insights they can use to personalize their communication with their members. 

Golf clubs included in the pilot project also found the ability to segment target groups beneficial and easy to use. The experiences from the pilot project also inspired them to come up with and implement new ideas they hadn’t thought of before. 

By using Data Talks CDP and marketing automation, SGF has achieved the following:



  • Personalized and automated transactional emails are handled in one place without any resources required from the clubs.

  • On average, two million transactional emails are sent per month. 

  • Personalized and engaging emails tailored to golfers’ unique wants and needs, delivered in the right channels at the right time. 

  • Golf clubs that have minimal human resources now have a service they can use to easily manage their membership base, generate new members, handle communication, and understand their business performance in real-time.

  • During 2020, the total number of golf membership increased from 500,000 to 600,000 (20%) people, with further growth expected in 2021.



Golf clubs in the pilot project can now:

  • Create precise member segments based on their data
  • Create hyper-personalized welcome emails
  • Send tailored newsletters based on different target groups
  • Receive more inquiries and tee bookings
  • Measure accurate open- and click-through rates of all emails.

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