Students Roll True with Marketing Plan for Local Golf Course
Applied Business Management major Nick Briscoe ‘13 has walked miles of greens and fairways at golf clubs all across the seacoast . . . without sinking one putt. That’s because he’s been touring around on business, teaming up with fellow students Meghan Bench ‘13 and Fredi Miller ’13 to develop a multi-media marketing campaign for the Rochester Country Club. Under the guidance of Professor of Applied Business Management, Dave Tooch, the students are gaining valuable consulting skills in this Thompson School of Applied Science internship that requires their use of classroom-acquired knowledge to synthesize a large volume of information into practical advice. “They get to take on the role of consultants and give a formal presentation,” says Tooch. “Knowing that the client needs to work within a budget, the students will come up with a very focused and prioritized short list for what’s possible this year.”
Bench, Briscoe, and Miller meet weekly with Tooch and their clients, the new owners of the Rochester Country Club, to discuss the project aimed at revitalizing the club’s image. Co-owner, Tina Maiorino of Nippo Lake Golf Club, says, “I just loved working with Meghan, Nick, Fredi, and I think we all learned something from our experience together. They helped me acquire much needed knowledge in social media, and I am no longer leery about using it as a means of communication with our members and guests.” In addition to researching the packages and promotions that would help Rochester Country Club stand out from the crowd, Bench and Miller have set up a Facebook fan page and LinkedIn business page on which the club’s clients can exchange information with one another to build their community beyond the fairway. It also provides an opportunity for Maiorino and PGA golf professional, Chris Mowers, to get to know their guests better and use that information as a springboard for face-to-face conversations about what’s important.
When reflecting on the most meaningful or satisfying aspect of the internship, the students express that – in addition to solidifying their interests in marketing and sales – they’ve enjoyed working with, helping, and learning from Maiorino and Mowers. “Tina’s really interested in giving back to the community,” says Bench about Maiorino’s commitment to designating a portion of the club’s proceeds in support of various charities, generating opportunities for members and guests to participate in food drives, honoring the service of veterans with complimentary golf during the week of veteran’s day, and offering free junior summer memberships to the winner of an essay contest.
Due to Maiorino and Mowers’ personable natures, Briscoe can check one item off of his list of what will differentiate the Rochester Country Club from other venues. During his extensive research, Briscoe found that personal engagement is one of the most important aspects of drawing in and retaining customers. Beyond that, he says, it helps to make things easy for people: It’s essential to have good signage, a club house that’s simple to navigate, an attractive location, a user-friendly website with pricing that’s quick to find, valuable promotions, good food, and a positive attitude among staff. And, above all, offer a top quality golfing experience out on the course.
“Rochester Country Club is very attractive to golfers,” says Tooch. “They’ve got a superintendent with a degree in turf management and the greens and fairways are well maintained, healthy, and have a good shape.” The students are excited to be a part of getting the word out about the club’s revitalization and its value in the community as well as enhancing its revenues through a multi-media marketing campaign that includes social media and properly-timed email blasts, print advertising, radio and TV spots.
This Applied Business Management internship has provided Bench, Briscoe, and Miller with an invaluable experiential opportunity to carry forward into their prospective careers. And, having completed two years in the business management curriculum, the students have also acquired desirable training in marketing as well as practical knowledge about managing people, selling goods and services, accounting, financial management, business writing, strategic management, business law, and the use of various software applications. Bench, Briscoe, and Miller are all interested in furthering their education and have been accepted into the four-year Communications program at the College of Liberal Arts with an expected graduation date of 2015.