In these times that we find ourselves, with words such as “cutbacks”, “austerity”, etc., becoming so-called magical solutions and even talismans against the crisis, I have been reminded of certain basic concepts that major US companies adopt when it comes to positioning a brand, a product… Obviously we have to adapt ourselves to the current situation, eliminating unnecessary costs that, perhaps rather too cheerfully, we have been squandering, and tightening belts: cutbacks and austerity, yes, but always taking care not to damage a product to the extent that nobody wants to buy it.

Astute savings and rationalistion are welcome but a golf course that skimps too much on the basics, such as maintenance, reduces marketing costs and eliminates promotional initiatives could be facing its death-knell. Those who follow this course risk being condemned to failure during this “special period”, which is what the Cubans have described the past three decades. As far as communication and promotion are concerned – two issues that affect us directly – some businesses are moving in a direction that brings with it certain risks. Those who put all their faith in the internet, believing that golfers – especially those of a certain age – are going to find them amongst hundreds of millions of websites, are mistaken.

Clearly, businesses must have an internet presence – be connected – but believing that marketing is just a battle between products is misguided. It is a battle of perceptions. Success is based on creating and projecting an image that is different from your competitors, and advertising and communication is one way of achieving that. Of course, it is also true that advertising is not the be all and end all: it is just one tool to consolidate a business’s position in the market.

I’m not sure if it was Rockefeller, Henry Ford or another leading entrepreneur who said, “If I only had $100 left I would spend $10 on developing a product and $90 on advertising, on getting it known.”

Unfortunately, it seems as though this message is not being fully understood at the moment. “Cutbacks”, “austerity”, yes, definitely… but without turning off the tap of “intelligent investment”.