Golf strengthening customer relations

Golf strengthening customer relations
Image: In the Volvo World Golf Challenge, Volvo’s customers have the chance to play golf with professionals on the European Tour. Here we see world stars Colin Montgomerie and Corey Pavin sharing their best tips with the finalists in Volvo’s customer tournament.

For a normal golfer, the dream of playing with a professional would be just that – a dream. For Volvo’s customers, on the other hand, it can be a reality. “Our customers are one of the main reasons why we sponsor golf and so they should also be offered something unique,” says Per Ericsson, president of Volvo Event Management Golf.
He calls himself somewhat humorously a
sports fanatic and was in fact a Swedish volleyball champion. He “naturally” plays golf and has a handicap of 15, even though he has only found time to play a few rounds during the past few years. However, his background in media and events is even more important. As the recently appointed president of Volvo Event Management Golf, it is Per Ericsson’s task to ensure that Volvo’s investment in golf grows still further.

“There’s an obvious business benefit and we are going to be even better at taking advantage of it.” When Per Ericsson was appointed as president just
over two years ago, he took over a well-filled history book. Volvo’s involvement in golf dates back all the way to 1989, making the company the oldest sponsor of the European Tour.

“Our long involvement has given us outstanding position in the world of golf, together with an excellent reputation and the greatest possible credibility.”

So the large resources do not need to be invested in golf, now that the golf organisation is planning to take things to the next level. Interest instead needs to focus internally within the Volvo Group.

“After many years of working with ‘What can Volvo do for golf?’ as the starting point, it is now time to ask ourselves what golf can do for Volvo.”

Some 20 per cent of Volvo’s customers and an equally large percentage of employees play golf and, at the same
time, golf is continuing to expand in large parts of the world. In spite of this, it leads a relatively obscure life in the Group.

“Not playing golf should not be an obstacle to using our involvement in golf as a tool for strengthening our relationship with customers. So we are currently in the process of developing various tools employees who are primarily involved in sales and marketing can use, regardless of their prior knowledge.
Per Ericsson, vd Volvo Event Management Golf   Per Ericsson, President, Volvo Event Management Golf
“We are investing in golf to strengthen the ties with both existing and potential customers and, at the same time, we are making the Volvo brand visible. From our point of view, a golf tournament is a sales and marketing event, at which the most important thing is not the number of golfers who are taking part but how many trucks and excavators we can sell.”

Like many other things, it is a question of offering the market something unique.

“We are adopting an entirely new approach to our most important competition, the Volvo World Golf Challenge (previously the Volvo Masters Amateur), in which our customers are given the chance to play golf with the professionals on the European Tour.”

The final is preceded by a large number of qualifying tournaments which are organised during the year by Volvo in different parts of the world. The different companies are responsible for each tournament and the dealers frequently invite their most important customers to take part. The people who reach the final have the chance to play with a professional on one of the days during the professionals’ opening tournament
on the tour, the Volvo Golf Champions.

“We give our customers the opportunity to stand on the 18th green, in front of packed stands and millions of TV viewers, and take part in the decisive stage when the last putt is played. This is something unique that no other company is able to offer its customers. I would like to make the dream of being given this opportunity a reality for all our customers all over the world and this can be achieved via our employees.”