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Does a new putter company need to have an Anser?


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#1 Duke

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:04 AM

This has been a question that my partner and I have been ducking, dodging, making up our own answers to, and otherwise completely avoiding. However, from all of the forum trolling I've done over the past three years of product development I've come to the conclusion that the Anser is the "answer", at least initially. We have a design that would definitely fall within the Anser paradigm, but have avoided pursuing it due to one of the immutable laws of branding: Be First.
This doesn't seem to apply to the putter industry. Any and all thoughts on this subject are welcome. The responses we received from our prior post completely shaped our first market ready design, so we are incredibly appreciative of all the feedback we receive at MGS. You guys and gals rock.
Tim

#2 Walkerjames

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:38 AM

I think that the Anser is a great place for a putter company to start it seams to be one of the most popular putter models. I think it hard to take a putter company seriously when they start with some off the wall putter that may work great but looks weird.
Just my thoughts.
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#3 RookieBlue7

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 12:49 AM

The Anser headshape is the gold standard. No company that's been successful has done it without the most widely used headshape there is, whether having small deviations to the design or not. The Anser shape is to golf what ketchup and mustard is to a hotdog. You're not going to find many people that done like some of that flavor. Sure, people own mallets and such, but it all begins at the Anser for nearly every golfer.

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#4 Matt Saternus

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:17 AM

I imagine it's possible to be successful without an Anser, but I think it's tougher. I think doing an Anser opens a lot of doors to you (because lots of people like it) while giving you an opportunity to show that you can do the little things that separate top shelf from middle of the pack.

My advice, if I were giving some, would be to do an Anser if you can do it really well: one or two subtle unique touches and really high end.

Oh, and no sight line. :D

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#5 GolfSpy Dave

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:19 AM

I imagine it's possible to be successful without an Anser, but I think it's tougher. I think doing an Anser opens a lot of doors to you (because lots of people like it) while giving you an opportunity to show that you can do the little things that separate top shelf from middle of the pack.

My advice, if I were giving some, would be to do an Anser if you can do it really well: one or two subtle unique touches and really high end.

Oh, and no sight line. :D

Totally agree with Matt. The Anser head makes you the money that funds the other head shapes until they become the money makers. Think Newport---->Futura
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#6 Tyk

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:14 AM

It sure seems like every company has one or more variations of the Anser style. While it seems people expect it and obviously want it, it's also a completely packed category and I'd think it would be pretty difficult to really differentiate yourself with that design.

For me personally it carries no weight as I haven't gamed an Anser style in 10 years and am probably unlikely to again. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate a well crafted Anser, but it doesn't really matter how pretty it is, I'm still not going to buy it.

Now a nice compact center shafted mallet, that gets my attention and is an underserved market. I think you should focus on those! :P

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#7 RoverRick

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 05:18 AM

This has been a question that my partner and I have been ducking, dodging, making up our own answers to, and otherwise completely avoiding. However, from all of the forum trolling I've done over the past three years of product development I've come to the conclusion that the Anser is the "answer", at least initially. We have a design that would definitely fall within the Anser paradigm, but have avoided pursuing it due to one of the immutable laws of branding: Be First.
This doesn't seem to apply to the putter industry. Any and all thoughts on this subject are welcome. The responses we received from our prior post completely shaped our first market ready design, so we are incredibly appreciative of all the feedback we receive at MGS. You guys and gals rock.
Tim


Does a chip company have to have a potato chip, a tortilla chip and cheese flavored chip? Only if you want to sell them. The thing about putters is that it does not necessarily have to be a different design as far as function is concerned. Certainly, if an Anser fits your swing you need to stick with it. Even if the putter goes sour on you, sometimes you need one in solid white. Or different machining. The fact that it is just like a Ping, Scotty or Betti have nothing to do with it. A different material or color or scrolling is enough to make it sell.

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#8 Badgergolfer

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 07:51 AM

I dont think you can be successful as a company without a version of the Anser. Its still the most popular and most successful putter design ever and a company would be missing out on the big chunk of the market by not offering one.
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#9 GolfSpy T

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 03:25 PM

Nothing is absolute. So no...you don't necessarily need to offer an Anser, but it largely depends on who you want to be as a company when you grow up.

If your goal is to sell a lot of putters, then yeah you probably need an Anser, and maybe an 8802, and perhaps even a #9. The reason everybody offers them, is because that's what everyone buys. Companies have been successful with other shapes (2-ball, futura, etc.), but unless you're a true niche company (which usually means 1 or 2 models only), your bread is buttered with the classics.

I can promise you that when I'm in Orlando next week I'll see at least 1/2 dozen (probably more) putter companies trying to make it without an Anser. Most won't be back next year. A couple (Redemption Golf springs to mind) with have some success (enough to come back for the next show). Very few, however, will have any real impact.

I'm not the putter ho that a lot of these guys are, but really the only name that springs to mind as a company who has made it (and certainly not a Cameron/Bettinardi/Odyssey/Rife-once-upon-a-time level) is Axis1.

So short answer...if you want the be the next Axis1, then no...you don't need an Anser. If you want to be anybody else, you probably do.
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#10 Duke

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Posted 15 January 2013 - 04:45 PM

All salient advise. Once again, much appreciated.

#11 nutz4putters

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Posted 19 January 2013 - 04:25 AM

What a great question.

I don't know the 'correct answer' but in all honestly - it's a design that sells! Why wouldn't you want an anser style in your stable?

Is it the be-all end-all design? Nope. But it's a solid starting point.

#12 Duke

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:29 PM

THIS!!!

It shouldn't take three years to realize and accept RB's first & second sentence. I'm not being a smart ass by posting this though if you/your partner are golfers and have been around the game any length of time, regardless of hdcp, this should have been in your heads the first time that you two sat down at that table to discuss this venture and put it on paper.

The fact that it wasn't and that it's taken you three years to come to the conclusion that Rookie came to probably walkin out to his car or after he put the little one to bed would give me pause as to your business & strategic accum.

As I said, you picked the best to follow(Trout & Ries), and I would recommend every one of their books, both together and as solo authors/strategists, and though I'm not going to get into it here, however you've missed a few of their key beliefs and strategic thoughts from other books, that help one work around the fact that they're not first or truly different.

Whether it's golf or business, some of it can be taught, however to get to scratch or to be that 2% of start-up businesses that reach $1,000,000 in sales or get aquired so that you & your partner can float off into a multi-million dollar retirement, well, those are the skills that pros, books and grad school can't teach ya.

You either got 'em or ya don't

Only you & your partner can answer that question.

My Best,
Richard


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Thank you very much, Richard. I do appreciate your insight.
Just to clarify, the majority of the product development time was spent on a design for which we eventually submitted a utility patent application. However, during the design process we ultimately came to the conclusion that the manufacturing end for said design would prove too costly, and after discussions with T decided to shelf the idea, at least for a while.
We have since trialed with many designs (most of which were blades, just not Ansers) as well as a modular fitting system that we've all but finished prototyping. Our progress and subsequent timeline is impacted by our responsiblities at our current professions, my partner's being our largest obstacle as he is the machinist and we can only machine on off hours, provided the necessary machines are open.
You are probably correct that we have spent far too much time spinning our wheels on the concept of being first, rather than accepting the market realities and concentrating on a different strategy of positioning.
Once again, thanks for taking the time to reply.
Tim

#13 fozcycle

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Posted 21 January 2013 - 06:38 PM

How about a MGS giveaway?

We could review and promote.
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#14 Duke

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Posted 22 January 2013 - 01:26 AM

Tim, that's great that ya already spoke with T. He'll pull no punches and he knows the industry as well as anybody.

Regarding the spinning of wheels, that's sorta like the "fudge factor," in that you know that it's gonna happen, that's life, ya just try to keep it to a minimum & learn from the misfires and hope that they're not too costly, either time or money wise.

Again, the Very Best to you & your partner! :)

I love to see the "little guy(s)" run with the big dogs!

My Best,
Richard


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T is a great guy. I enjoy his company and his insight.
Just out of curiosity, Richard, what type of business consulting do you specialize in? I'm in operations myself, and understand that beyond vendor procurement, supply chain management, and inventory control there are gaps in my experience that once filled will certainly benefit our endeavor.
Tim

#15 Duke

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Posted 28 January 2013 - 02:07 AM

Tim, I don't know if you've hadda chance to read Ries's & Trout's other work, however there are four that I would highly recommend, and if you've read them, read them again.

They are:

1) Focus, by Al Ries..First published in 1996 & the second edition was out in 2005..Go with the second edition.

2)Differentiate or Die, by Jack Trout & Steve Rivkin..published in 2001 with a second edition released in 2008. Excellent, excellent book. Al Reis had split from Trout in 1994 and started his own firm with his daughter, Laura, which is Ries and Ries.

3) Marketing Warfare, By Al Ries & Jack Trout..Published in 1987..Great book with actionable Strategic and tactical advice..Excellent book for a small company in a crowded marketplace dominated by a few Big Boys(HaHa, sound familiar?)

4)Positioning, The Battle for Your Mind, Ries/Trout..Published in 1981..Is the classic that started it all & there is the second, more "modern" edition released in 1996 titled, "The New Positioning", with Trout & Rivkin as the authors of the follow-up..I would read both, though if you're crunched for time, go with the second release.


I hope that this is of some assistance.


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I just started rereading Positioning again after our back-and-forth, and will search out the others after I'm finished. If your offer was sincere don't be surprised if I don't contact you personally.
Thanks again for taking the time out to provide thoughtful responses.
Tim




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