GolferLab - Market Research 2.0 in the German Golf Association

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Guest article by our Managing Partner Marcel Cordes in the trade magazine SPONSORs.

Data is the gold of the 21st century. All the more surprising, then, that innovative and modern methods of data collection are only very slowly making their way into the sports business. A guest article by our Sportbusiness Club member.

The analysis of customer journeys, experience or loyalty is already learned and lived reality in other areas of marketing. Addressing customers via apps, e.g. by means of geofencing, will in the future also represent new and innovative ways of obtaining information for sports brands.

But especially in sports, the focus for market research has to be much broader - besides diverse target groups and stakeholders, the thematic variety is immense: sponsoring, brand, image, product/pricing, media, service quality, communication, just to name a few. 

FanLab by SPORTHEADS fulfills these and many other functionalities and offers rights holders and sponsors an innovative and valid way to obtain data on a regular basis.

Deutsche Golf Sport, the marketing subsidiary of the German Golf Association, has been taking this new approach to market and consumer research since 2020. By setting up its own community panel, the GolferLab, data can be generated quickly, transparently and flexibly for business partners, golf clubs and other stakeholders.

Especially the very pointed target group of organized and non-organized active golfers could only be reached and surveyed with considerable effort and long circulation times in the past.

"With the GolferLab, we realize a regular service and added value for our partners, both for planning and in performance monitoring, and are simply much faster and more flexible," comments Robert Bruck, Managing Director of Deutsche Golf Sport GmbH. "Current facts - mostly collected within just one week - instead of opinions help us, especially in times of Corona, to better understand golfers and to align our actions with the needs of golf clubs, golfers and business partners." In addition to the digital golf card as a service offering for all golfers, the DGV service portal and DGV intranet, to which all golf clubs in Germany are digitally connected, the GolferLab is another important building block in the marketing and digital strategy of the German Golf Association."

"For us, it is of great importance to be able to enter into an appreciative dialog with golfers and to query their experiences on the golf course as well as the effect of activation measures of our business partners. For example, once the golf courses had reopened, we were able to evaluate directly whether the DGV hygiene concept implemented by the golf clubs on site was working. The result of the GolferLab, that 93.5% of golfers are not afraid of contracting the Covid 19 virus on the golf course, speaks for itself. For us, the GolferLab is indispensable just a few months after its introduction and is valuable support for a wide range of departments and work areas," continues Bruck.

The development of the own community platform runs in three phases over approx. 4-6 weeks. After defining the basic representative structure, the layout and the basic functionalities, panelists are acquired via various channels. Here, Deutsche Golf Sport GmbH benefited from its already established digital infrastructure, which allows it to address golfers directly by e-mail. The interested participants then register in the panel with their specific master data using a DSGVO-compliant double opt-in procedure.

Invitations by e-mail and the connected app enable panelists to be addressed in a targeted manner. The master data already recorded is used for quota control and selection of specific target groups. The CSR idea is not neglected either - by participating in surveys, panelists earn points that can be donated to charitable organizations, for example. Initial experience this year shows a hohe Akzeptanz, gute Teilnahmebereitschaft und Rücklaufquoten sowie eine geringe Panel-Mortalität.

FanLab by SPORTHEADS is a white label solution that is specifically adapted to the needs of the customer and the target groups addressed. In addition to the panel control and administration, a powerful survey software with all modern functionalities and a helpdesk for the implementation, analysis and reporting are available.


Marcel Cordes, Managing Partner of the personnel and strategy consulting firm SPORTHEADS GmbH from Munich, Germany