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Best Practice: USTA Eastern Section 'NetValues'

Best Practice: USTA Eastern Section 'NetValues'

The USTA Eastern Section NetValue Program created a discount and benefits program for existing USTA Eastern Members.  This program offered our USTA Members discounts and benefits from vendors and companies in the Long Island Region of the Eastern Section.

Definition and Example:
The USTA Eastern Section created a program that would offer our members greater perceived and actual value for joining and becoming a USTA member.  The NetValue Program recruited local vendors and service providers to offer USTA members a special discount or benefit for using their products or services.  USTA Eastern members received their special discount by showing their USTA Membership Cards. 

Significance:  
The Eastern Section discovered that our members were requesting additional benefits for joining the USTA in addition to the existing USTA Membership benefits.  Our market research indicated that our members were requesting benefits that could be quantified into tangible economic or concrete terms.   Our members stated that other organizations and associations offered benefits or incentives in addition to their regular membership  benefits.  The initial goal was to get tennis related vendors, tennis clubs, and tennis pros to offer additional discounts for their tennis services.  We quickly expanded the nature of the vendors in our program to include florists, dry cleaners, restaurants and other members of the community.   The name of the participating NetValue vendors was highlighted to our members in our publications, website and newsletters.

Benefits:  
The NetValue program created a win/win situation for our members, as well as participating business people and vendors in our community. Our members were able to receive discounts for tennis related and other services and products; while the supporting NetValue vendors were exposed to many new customers from our membership taking advantage of discounts and benefits offered.  The vendors were eager to join because they did not have to offer a discount unless a sale or service was provided by a USTA member showing their membership card.  The NetValue program raised the visibility of the USTA in the community by displaying the USTA and NetValue logos on display, and created new interest in our programs, products and the game of tennis.   Once vendors realized the additional new business from USTA members, they became potential targets for sponsorships and support of our programs.

New programs and services are being targeted to take advantage of the large membership base that the USTA Eastern Section can offer to potential vendors.  We have already secured agreements with two national car rental companies and are looking to expand our new vendors to include a large range of services and products.

Procedure:  
The USTA Eastern Section used the Long Island Region as a target market for the NetValue Program.   A part time staff person was hired and designated to create sales and marketing materials that described the NetValue Program when visiting new or potential vendors.  Initial vendors were selected from tennis related vendors such as tennis clubs, tennis pro shops, and tennis pros.  Discounted tennis court time was offered only for open court time rental so as not to impact regular tennis business and memberships.  The NetValue’s staff person would make sales calls in the community to describe the program to potential vendors, and sign them up as part of our program. 

NetValue vendors were listed on the USTA Eastern Long Island Region Website, as well as in the Long Island Regional Newsletter, Long Island Tennis Dinner Journal, and through target mailings.  These published listings of NetValue vendors serve as a guide to our members to visit and patronize these vendors and receive a special NetValue discount or benefit.   The NetValue staff person maintained contact with the existing vendors to gain feedback, and offer suggestions to improve the program, and learn what discounts or benefits were most popular with our membership.  This feedback serves as a guide for soliciting new vendors to the NetValue program, as well as serving a road map for what additional vendors or service would be suitable targets for our program.

It is anticipated that we will create small gifts and incentives to thank vendors for participating in the NetValue program, as well as awards to the Best Vendor that will be made at our USTA Eastern Awards Luncheon at our Eastern Annual Meeting.   We plan on starting a NetValue Tennis League to promote tennis among the participating vendors.

People Involved:
The key personnel in the program are the Sectional Marketing Staff, Regional Staff, Regional Board, Sectional Marketing Committee where the program was developed, the part time NetValue staff person and Sectional Management Committee for approving the plan and funding the program.  It is very important to monitor the coordinate the activities of the part time NetValue staff person with the Regional and Sectional staff.

Timing:
The program took three to four months to develop in the planning stage, two months of discussions at the Sectional Board level to fund, and then three months of work to create the sales materials and begin making sales calls and signing up vendors.   It took another three to six months to get matters up to full speed in targeting members to vendors, and then required constant maintenance.

Cost:  
The cost for sales materials, store signs and membership applications was minimal (under $ 2000). The Cost for vendor recognition on the website and publications was very minimal and cost effective.  The major cost for the program was a part time staff person.

Contacts:
Denise Jordan:  USTA Eastern Section Executive Director -- (914) 698-0414 X17
Lara Schneider: USTA Eastern Marketing Manager -- (914) 698-0414 X16
Noah Goldman:  USTA Eastern Marketing Chairman -- (914) 584 8391

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