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Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007 at 3:17 pm

Would You Buy a Pink Putter?

By Holly Buchanan
August 1st, 2007

Disclaimer: I am not a fan of pink. I’m especially not a fan of slapping pink on a product and saying it’s “made for women.”

Ok, now that we’ve got that on the table, let’s take a look at a new pink putter from Sweet Spot Golf. In this case, the pink color is used as a tie-in with The National Breast Cancer Foundation.

Here’s how Sweet Spot explains it:

Sweet Spot Golf is a proud sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation. When you purchase this putter or any of our clubs in pink, we all give together to make a difference in fighting breast cancer.

We all give together? Explain to me how that works. Does a portion of the proceeds of the putter go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation? What does being a “sponsor” mean? Does Sweet Spot Golf donate money? How much? Why does Sweet Spot Golf care about breast cancer? Are they hoping women will appreciate their “sponsorship” of a breast cancer cause and thus buy their products?

I don’t know. I couldn’t find any answers. Just the repetition of the line “Make a difference in fighting breast cancer.” I’m still not entirely sure how buying this pink putter does that.

But I believe strongly in the cause, so if Sweet Spot Golf really wants to sell these putters online, here are few suggestions to help them do a better job:

  1. Clearly spell-out what “sponsorship” means and how purchasing this putter is going to specifically make a difference in the fight against cancer. Is this a cause Sweet Spot Golf truly believes in? Or are they just doing it to promote their image and sales? Spell out the connection between the brand and the cause. Do this on the landing page AND on the product page.
  2. Make it clear as to how you get to the product page. Right now, on the landing page, you see the product image, but nothing on the page is clickable. There was some text on the page, and when I took the time to read it — which many people won’t — it said “click on the shopping cart.” Why would I click on the shopping cart? I don’t want to add it to a shopping cart, I want to read more information about the product? And where is Shopping Cart? (Hint, it’s on the bottom right navigation, NOT in the active window!)
  3. The visitor’s taken to a list of products, but if you want more information, hopefully you know enough to click on the image or the product number. A link here that says “more information” would be really helpful.
  4. On the product page, give me more information about the putter. There’s some copy explaining the benefits of the putter, but how else is it unique? One point they should be pushing is the shaft length. Many putters don’t come in women’s sizes. I’m constantly having to have my shafts cut down. The fact that this comes in shorter women’s sizes is a real plus. Promote this!

Bottom line: if you’re trying to tie-in a cause, make sure you clearly explain your relationship with the cause and how purchasing your products benefits said cause. Women — and men — want specifics. And if women — and men — are your audience, don’t make them think and struggle to try to figure out how to navigate your site and take the actions they want to take.*

P.S. — Sweet Spot Golf, I wish you had these “breast cancer” putters in a color other than pink. Is there a way to buy a more normal-looking putter and still have my purchase somehow benefit breast cancer? I play a lot of golf with the guys and, I’m sorry, but I just don’t want to look like a “girly-girl” with my cute little pink putter. I believe in your cause, but I’m just not a pink kind of gal, and I don’t think I’m the only woman who feels that way.

[*Editor's note: After substantial digging, we did find a bit more information about their relationship with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, but they still didn't answer Holly's questions. As it turns out, you must know to click "pink" on the right-hand navigation, which then takes you to this unnecessary page, at which point you must click to "learn more".]

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Comments (9)

  1. Not just the website, but the entire product design lacks proper execution. There is very little about this product to show a connection to the cause or further awareness. The inclusion of some pink pin stripes is essentially meaningless. Seems too easy but, perhaps a playful but prominent ribbon on the grip or shaft? Then the putter is actually co-branded with the cause which would give it meaning versus making it look like a toy. The design also all but eliminates men as purchasers yet men can get breast cancer and suffer the losses too. Why not let men also contribute charity in a culturally affordable way?

  2. It seems to me that this promotion is a little strange because there is no direct link between golf clubs and breast cancer. This whole thing feels like it’s merely a promotion to try to get attention for their product.

    And I agree that pink golf clubs seem a little much. Golf balls, or covers, or shirts… maybe. Pink golf clubs, on the other hand, are too out there.

    I doubt many women will buy them. Serious golfers will buy a club based on its quality, and pleasure golfers won’t want something that screams “I’m a girl” to everyone around them.

  3. Seems to me this is lazy Chinese menu marketing. I’d also bet the marketing team is mostly men.

    “Hey, we need to ‘market to women.’ Hmmmm….Lessee, from ‘Column A, What matters to them’ – breast cancer seems to be a biggie. And, then from ‘Column B, customization’ that’d be easy, we’ll just make it pink!”

    And, I’d think that most women golfers wouldn’t want a “girly girl looking putter.” (But, then I hate the color pink anyway.)

  4. Agreed! Way too many companies think that making a product pink will make it irresistible to women. It’s a lazy way out.

  5. As a suggestion, a women or a man for that matter, could just buy any putter and then go make a donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, that way you know exactly what you are supporting and where your money is going and why.

  6. Susan G Komen, a pro golfer, died of breast cancer. Her sister promised her she would find a cure for breast cancer. Golfers around the nation hold Rally for the Cure to raise awareness of breast cancer.

  7. The fact that ther eis no clear link established between the promotion and the charity is very dodgy. Without spelling out the good that the promotion is doing, this Pink Putter begins to smell of ethically shoddy marketing.

  8. I just read a blog post about Sweet Spot Golf, visited their site after, and had the same confusion when navigating their site. While their intentions are definitely good, their presentation needs a major work over. Even a simple redesign with a WordPress CMS and theme could help make navigation a million times easier, and information presentation much clearer.

  9. That is pretty cool. I do think pink is overused, but honestly it is still better than anything else. So who knows…

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Holly Buchanan is a marketing to women consultant specializing in marketing to women online. You can read her blog at http://marketingtowomenonline.typepad.com She is the co-author, along with Michele Miller of The Soccer Mom Myth - Today's Female Consumer - Who She Really Is, Why She Really Buys.

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