Chuck Couch, a Mizuno veteran with more than 20 years of experience at Mizuno has been promoted to the position of Corporate VP of Sales, Mizuno USA. He started his Mizuno career in customer support and later held various high-level positions like golf division regional sales manager, director of marketing, director of product management and VP of product management.
What kind of business challenges will face Chuck Couch in 2016?
One of the findings of FleishmanHillard‘s The Authenticity Gap Report was that the gap between expectations and experience has widened from 55% to 61%. The biggest gaps are in innovation, customer care and better value. This year, innovation was less important (34% vs 22%) than in 2014.
At the very same time, ‘better value‘ grew significantly from 15% to 19%. I think the smart use of technology (beyond golf technology) can make a difference to prove the value of Mizuno golf clubs, apparels and golf balls. Let’s not forget that due to the amount of information available people are more informed thus they are less likely to buy marketing gimmicks.
One of the positive dividend of ‘better value’ is the customer advocacy. This is why, marketers should know how to maximize the phenomenon of ‘Ultimate Moment of Truth‘ (the concept of Brian Solis) and re-engineer its sales and marketing activities. Those who understood this (e.g. Callaway Golf), they had invested significantly in content marketing and tested real-time video sharing apps like Periscope.tv and Blab.im.
Another interesting area for consideration is how you can provide more convenience and added value services (club fitting service is not enough anymore…it is the minimum of the minimum). Without these, it will be hard to convince golfers to buy premium golf equipment.
The impact of winning on awareness
Winning golf tournaments and championships are still important in golf equipment sales and marketing. The current Mizuno Golf brand team members like Luke Donald (World #76), Charles Howell III (World #136) are not winning enough neither are trendsetters like Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson or Jason Day. Stacy Lewis is quite promising. So I would look after for better performing PGA Tour players.
Finally, I think Chuck Couch will not have a boring job in his new position. He should not neglect of emerging markets with high interest in golf (e.g. South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, Japan, Singapore).
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