Srixon has launched two new families of irons aimed at the ‘improver’ market. Meanwhile the Cleveland brand will now focus on short-game category for wedges and putters. Ben Davis UK brand and marketing manager for Srixon/Cleveland Golf explained the company’s marketing strategy to Glyn Pritchard.
Srixon branded clubs came onto the golf scene at the end of 2014 with the Z Series aimed at the better player. It was a relatively low-key launch through just 140 retail outlets in the UK but has proved to be very successful says Davis. “We’ve had phenomenal demand and we have had to reforecast our stock requirements to Japan three times. Our market share for irons sold through on-course outlets was just under 3.5 percent in May according to Golfdatatech, which is pretty good start in just a few months.”
This success is not only due to the product, but also to the company’s approach to the market, Davis believes. “The policy with the Z Series is custom fit only using our custom fit cart with order fulfilment through the Srixon fitting department. That means the retailers carry only minimal stock which reduces their overheads considerably. We offered the carts to selected on-course retailers and we ensured that they were the right retailers with the skills and enthusiasm to support the brand. The clubs carry good margins and our pricing is transparent, which provided excellent motivation for our retailers to promote the clubs.”
Now Srixon is ready to launch its next series of clubs for the bigger ‘improver’ market sector. “With the new clubs we’re going to broaden our distribution, but as we scale up we’re going to do it in the right way, keeping to a similar selected retailer profile. We will keep our 140 core retailers who will sell the existing Z Series plus the new Z355 and Z155 series. To this we will add a second tier of retailers that just take the Z355 and Z155 game improvement series. Once again they can custom fit the clubs but they will also be available as stock items to sell off the shelf.”
Asked to describe the ideal retailer, Davis says, “Basically we want to keep to the same profile as our existing vendors, but have more of them. Retailers should be enthusiastic and if not taking Srixon as a single line they should want to major on it. In return we offer the same discount structure for everyone, with excellent margins, so there is a level playing field for all our retail partners. We don’t play favourites.”
Davis promises a two year lifecycle on products. “We will have a two year replacement cycle and will synch replacement of the player range with the improver ranges, so there will be a new range from Srixon every year in one of the customer profile categories.”
As a reward for the loyalty and support of Srixon’s core 140 retailers, they will receive the initial shipments of the new Z355 and Z155 until the end of 2015. “We wanted to do something for them to say thank-you for coming on board with us and making the Z Series such a success. They will be getting the new heads and shafts for their fitting carts in the coming days.”
The end of the year also sees the refocus of Cleveland as a short-game club specialist brand. “Going forward Cleveland will be our specialist brand for wedges and putters, where the brand has real strength”, Davis confirms.
Last year Srixon also introduced its XXIO range of premium clubs aimed at affluent players with slow swing speeds. The success XXIO is having in the States means the company will adopt a different strategy here for 2016. “It’s been really successful in the States, but there 60 percent of sales have been to women. So for next year we are going to refocus the marketing towards ladies golf. We are putting together some plans now that are pretty exciting.” Davis also confirms that a new XXIO replacement range will be unveiled at The Golf Trade Show in Harrogate next month.
With Inbee Park, the world number-one woman golfer using XXIO clubs it’s an astute move. Davis is also pleased with the benefit the Srixon brand is seeing from player endorsement. “Shane Lowry wining the WGC Bridgestone Invitational last month was a great boost for us. Bringing a new club brand to the market is a challenge, but I think we have gone about it in a considered way, winning the respect of our retail partners and gaining consumer confidence. It’s all going great at the moment.”
Srixon launches game improvement range
Srixon new game improvement Z355 series clubs and Z155 irons, incorporate the company’s ‘Action Mass’ technology. Equipped with a heavier head and Miyazaki Jinsoku ultra-high balance point carbon shaft, the clubs are designed to deliver enhanced swing stability and maximum distance for average golfers with mid-to-high swing speed.
he Z355 driver featuring Action Mass technology, combines a heavier head (211g) with a Miyazaki Jinsoku ultra-high balance, lightweight shaft to provide greater head mass while keeping the overall weight of the club normal. This is said to improve swing stability and both higher ball speed and higher head speed. Other design features include the largest head MOI in the Srixon Z series for a more stable impact direction and a cup face that helps prevent flight distance loss on off-centre shots. The Z355 driver has an SRP of £279.
In addition to Action Mass technology, all Z355 fairway woods and hybrid clubs feature the largest MOI design and crown size in the series, making it easy for the golfer to get more loft and greater flight distances. The three-wood employs a cup face for greater flight distances and an inner bar (40 g) inside the club head to achieve a lower, shallower centre of gravity, to deliver a low-spin, high trajectory. The inner bar is also positioned to float above the sole so that, unlike a fixed weight, it will not interfere with face flexing so there is no sacrifice of flight distance. Z355 fairway woods SRP: £179. Z355 hybrids SRP: £159.
In the Z355 irons, the distance between the leading edge and the sole apex is individually tailored for each club number to achieve improved follow-through and less snagging. This feature is said to eliminate flight distance loss on iron shots. The Z155 irons features a wide sole design for easier loft. Z355 and Z155 clubs can be freely mixed and matched to meet individual players’ objectives. The men’s Z355 and Z155 series irons (five to PW) have an SRP of £549 (graphite shafts) and £499 (steel shaft). The SRP for a single club is £91.50 (graphite shaft) and £83.50 (steel shaft).
The ladies Z155 series irons only available with a graphite shaft option and have an SRP of £459 (six to PW) and £91.50 for a single club.