The Charles Schwab Challenge is one of the longest-running PGA TOUR invitational tournaments. The highly-anticipated event brings together top golfers from around the world to compete at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The historic course and club has hosted the event every Memorial Day Weekend since 1946, making the Charles Schwab Challenge one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR year after year.
Rising to the challenge
Coming off a global pandemic, 2022 was a year of transition for the Charles Schwab Challenge. People were still embracing intimate gatherings and with the tournament being played without fans one year and with limited attendance the next, the tradition of attending the Charles Schwab Challenge wasn’t top of mind for many fans. Additionally, 2022 ushered in a new pricing model for the tournament and increased revenue goals that required a shifted approach to marketing from awareness-based to conversion-focused.
An integrated campaign that drives conversion
Before partnering with Schaefer, the tournament utilized more traditional mediums to promote the event to a general North Texas audience. But as we prepared for the 2022 tournament, Schaefer recommended a more granular approach to targeting individual ticket buyers by splitting the audience to focus on two primary markets — avid golfers and social attendees. The goal was to create a more integrated campaign that not only got people excited about the tournament, but spoke directly to each audience’s particular area of interest wherever and whenever their needs arise. By leveraging a more individualized approach to messaging and targeting across tactics such as paid search, retargeting, geofencing, and paid social, we were able to capitalize on the buying period leading up to the event and increase opportunities for conversion.
Creative that can adapt to audience needs
If we had to achieve one thing to make this campaign successful, it was adaptability. A robust media strategy meant the creative needed to scale across a wide variety of mediums, from high-level awareness spaces like streaming TV to high-intent micro moments in the customer journey. That meant keeping design elements functional. So we opted for an abstract reference to course topography. The organic shapes allowed us to create compelling composites that featured the most important textures of the experience — environment, competition, and up-close views of the PGA TOUR’s best players.
Since we were targeting two audience sets, it was important that the messaging be specific yet modular. The line, Texas’ Best, extended across both target audiences while communicating the notoriety and pride North Texans have for the Colonial tournament. It also worked well with new player announcements.
The tournament field greatly impacts ticket sales. Top-ranked players and fan favorites draw big crowds, but player commitments can finalize weeks and sometimes days before the tournament. To improve performance, we build every concept to accommodate on-demand optimizations and leveraged that flexibility to announce new player commitments, some finalizing in the eleventh hour of the campaign. In the final weeks leading up to the event, we saw a big uptick in action, selling 80% of tickets in the last 30 days.
Moving the tournament from more traditional mediums to a digital-first, multi-audience campaign allowed us to reach people at every touch point – connecting the dots across channels to guide consumers from I-want-to-go to I-want-to-buy. Overall, our campaign strategy outperformed industry paid media standards in Sports and Recreation to produce nearly 14K in daily ticket sales and $1.2M in revenue.
A few top channel results include:
- Paid Search: 16% CTR, 31% CVR and $3.72 cost-per-conversion
Industry Average: 8.8% CTR, 5.9% CVR and $31.50 cost-per-conversion
- Email: 39% open rate out of 575K+ emails delivered to a qualified audience
Industry Average: 20.5% open rate
- Display: 0.11% CTR on location-relevant geofencing campaign
Industry Average: 0.08% CTR