If you navigate cyberspace on a daily basis, you will have likely come across a web site that claims to use “Big Data” on a daily basis. You were probably left wondering what the big deal with “Big Data” is, too; after all, only the big dogs have the resources to hog all the data they could desire. It’s possible that you didn’t even know what “Big Data” is in the first place.

If you came here to learn more about Big Data, and how you might realize its potential for your country club, you’ve arrived at the right place.

In short, big data is what results from the daily interaction of customers and businesses. An example of this interaction can be illustrated in the form of a typical visit to Amazon.com — you land on the home page, click on the item that catches your eye to look up more information about it, and decide whether to place it in the cart (or one-click-order it) or look at some other item. What Amazon does with your brief interaction – the operating word being “does” – is furnish up more items for you to consider purchasing from them and sends you a short list of those items in an email, provided you’ve created an account with them. So what does this have to do with you, the country club?

Everything, in fact.

Even though your primary function isn’t selling loads of merchandise to consumers (except perhaps in the pro shop, though with extremely limited supplies and space), it is just as important to gather data from your club members and patrons, so that you can focus on giving them the best service possible. If you prepare application forms for prospective members to fill out, include fields with identifying criteria, such as age, gender, income, education, and occupation. How old are the members of your most commonly attending group? Is the group of active members well mixed in the gender area, or is one half more prominent than the other half? How much more involved is your most affluent group than the others who can barely afford? The more you know about your patrons and prospective members, the easier your business decisions become with the extra guidance that your data gives you.

“How could I truly make this sort of data work for me,” you ask? You could create a reward program of any sort to show your most frequent members some appreciation and to keep them coming to your hip and happening club. You may invite a group of members to a special event that you plan just for them (and do the same for every other group so that you may move them to bring more people like them into the fold). If you also take note of where your members are employed, you may extend yet another attractive offer to them and allow them to “Bring a Co-worker to the Club for a Day” as a free guest, so you can show even more people what life in the club is like. There’s all sorts of things you can do with the data at your fingertips. And, I haven’t even mentioned the word “database”, which, if you had a CRM system or module in place, would store all of these identifying characteristics for your eyes to peruse at a glance.

As you can imagine, big data can hold big possibilities for your operation. Many other thriving businesses have employed it for the last decade, including Amazon.com. With Iconic Mobile Retail, which has its own CRM module built right in, you don’t have to look far to start building a book full of big data.

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