Category 13 - Other
River Strand Tennis Membership Direct Mail Piece
Kate Barth, KSC Advertising & Public Relations, River Strand Golf and Country Club
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Research/Situation Analysis: In 2006, Lennar opened its final phase of Manatee County’s Heritage Harbour community, River Strand Golf and Country Club. River Strand offers luxurious homes and features “custom” life-style amenities including 27-holes of championship golf and a complete tennis center offering five Har-Tru lighted tennis courts. Country club membership is included with the purchase of a home in River Strand.
Currently, River Strand is a “semi-private” country club, offering invitational golf and tennis memberships to potential homebuyers with the ability to purchase homes from $200,000 to $1,000,000 and to those who desire a country club lifestyle.
In the fall of 2007, KSC was contracted to generate attention to River Strand; specifically for invitational tennis memberships. Secondary research provided that “test driving” a business’s product or service will yield a higher probability of purchase (Bawa and Shoemaker Study, 2004). Thus a free trial tennis membership was developed.
In order to identify the target audience for this program, KSC then researched the number of surrounding communities similar in home values, that either did not offer amenities like River Strand or did offer amenities, but were perceived as “inferior” to one or another. Data from this competitive analysis allowed KSC to pull a mailing list totaling 4,570 addressees.

    1.) To implement a trial tennis membership program starting November 2007 and ending January 1, 2008.
    2.) To increase River Strand’s invitational tennis memberships by five to 10 percent within 60 days of the free membership’s expiration date.
    3.) To increase River Strand’s average monthly tennis court usage by 10 to 15 percent within 60 days of the free membership’s expiration date.

Implementation: It was decided, due to the quick turnaround of results required for this program, the quickest and most efficient way to promote River Strand and its invitational tennis memberships would be to create and distribute a direct mail piece. The timeline of events for this project were as follows:
    1.) October 2007 – Create and print a direct mail piece and secure mailing addresses for targeted audiences.
    2.) November 2007 – Deliver final printed postcards to the mail house and mail to all targeted addresses within the first week of November 2007.
A 6” x 9” postcard was designed to incorporate the look and feel of a country club while promoting a tennis lifestyle. The paper quality of the postcard was chosen as kromekote for more impressive look and feel.
A “catchy” headline was placed on the addressee side reading, “Play on our Clay … For Free!”  River Strand features Har-Tru tennis courts which have a clay surface.  Tennis players see clubs with clay courts as an important added benefit. Additional information highlighting several features that the free tennis memberships included was bulleted for a quick read on the reverse side. Disclaimers were mentioned at the bottom to ensure there was no ambiguity to what the free membership offered.
The creative design was made clean, fresh and simple. A stock photo of a female tennis player was chosen because of her stance and eye placement; the photo seemed to “convince” you to play tennis. River Strand’s logo was added on the shirt of the tennis player to brand her and further brand the country club.

Evaluation: KSC requested that River Strand track those who used the free membership and of that total, track the number of purchased invitational tennis memberships. River Strand reported the first week of March 2008 that its invitational tennis memberships increased 100 percent as a direct result of the postcard.  This was an overwhelming increase from the set objective to increase memberships by five to 10 percent. The average monthly tennis court usage (November/December 2007) increased an estimated 56 percent (January/February 2008), due to the influx of new memberships. A net profit of about $2,435 was made from the sale of memberships. These results were much higher than expected from the set objectives and, of course, well received.

Budget: There was no set budget for this project except to keep costs minimal. The printing costs for 5,000 postcards totaled: $1,562.39. Postage and mail house costs totaled $1,052.58 (each postcard cost approximately $0.18). KSC’s billable time for this project totaled 10 hours or $950. The grand total cost including printing, mailing and agency hours was $3,564.97. As mentioned in the evaluation above, invitational tennis memberships increased by 100 percent — grossing about $6,000 and resulting in a net profit of approximately $2,435.