Arnold Palmer’s 10 Best Marketing Tips

If considered-purchase brands could take a few tips from golfing great Arnold Palmer, I’m convinced they could slash marketing budgets, cut sales cycles to mere days and get buyers to say YES in record time.

I recently met the legendary golfer at the Harbor Shores Champions for Change charity event and I was struck by how truly nice he is. That day I watched as thousands fell under his fabled spell and, being a marketer not a golfer, I looked for what marketing secrets we could learn from one of golf’s most beloved champions.

10 Marketing Tips for Considered Purchase Brands: 5 personal observations and 5 observations inspired by Palmer’s famous sports agent Mark McCormack. Apply even one and you’ll see sales improve.

  1. Be likeable.

    The supremely human quality of being likeable is perhaps the one thing that requires so little investment, but is often the most difficult attribute to achieve for the complex, multi-faceted marketing of considered-purchase brands. Yet in today’s unedited world of consumer-generated content and ubiquitous thumbs-up/down LIKE buttons, simply being Likeable could be your brand’s greatest asset.

  2. Branding is an endurance sport. Be consistent.

    With a career spanning over 60 years, Arnold Palmer is the epitome of consistency. Nicknamed The King early on, he is always a passionate player. His fans know what to expect from him. For brands with long sales cycles, consistency is an essential virtue.

  3. Engage everyone: Everyone is your New Recruit.

    Long before social media, Arnold Palmer had his own version of Facebook – a fan base so strong they were called Arnie’s Army. If you want your own army of brand fans, use social media to reach new recruits, strengthen engagement, build movements and generate passionate communities around your brand.

  4. A Brand’s character versus its celebrity.

    Celebrity without character is just curiosity – and curiosity fades. Your brand’s character is paramount. As Arnold’s fame grew, he didn’t change. Even today he is close to his fans, isn’t afraid to take risks and still wears his emotions on his sleeve. His celebrity never betrays his character. Does your brand’s actions stand true to its character?

  5. Bolster your brand’s charisma.

    Arnold Palmer has charisma – tons of it. Many believe Palmer’s magnetism and personal charm is what helped established golf as a television event in the 1950s and 1960s – on through today. What is your brand’s charisma? Does your brand have the emotional power to influence without the use of logic? Remember, a brand’s charisma is still the best way to get buyers to Yes faster.

  6. Good Looks Matter.

    First on Mark McCormack’s list of 5 attributes that made Arnold Palmer so marketable was Arnold’s good looks. For brands, good looks are evident in the designs of our products, packaging, marketing, storefronts, livery – everywhere we touch our customers. And while visual appeal is easy to sacrifice amid budget, it would be a serious mistake. Good design is profound in its ability to influence.

  7. Tell a Great Story.

    While Palmer came from only “modest” beginnings, his story still has enough underdog pathos to connect people emotionally and set the storyline for Palmer’s historic rise. The longer your sales cycle, the more your brand needs a great story and great storytelling skills. A well-told story will not only be shared, but it will educate, entertain, engage and even inspire your customers.

  8. Play to win. But play nice.

    With today’s expectations of transparency, it’s how your brand wins that really matters. So play like Arnie. Play with passion. Take risks. Be exciting. Let your brand wear its emotions on its sleeves. Care. Double-dare care. But let everyone know that when you win, all your customers win with you.

  9. Steal the show.

    Arnold’s legend was confirmed early on when he had a string of exciting finishes in the early, televised tournaments. Can your brand do that? Regardless of the size of the screen it’s on, from television to theater to laptop to mobile phone to iPad – does your brand steal the show? Or does your audience run out when the popcorn does?

  10. Stay accessible.

    One of Arnold Palmer’s most admired traits is his easy and generous accessibility. When I met Arnold, it was in the café of the hotel we were staying at. He could have had room service – but he didn’t.

Later that day, I saw that whenever he walked into a room, people broke into a slow, nearly reverential applause. Do people applaud your brand? Imagine what greatness you’ll achieve when they do.