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Monday, 20 December 2010

GIVE ‘EM WHAT THEY WANT

“What do you want for Christmas??” - I am pretty certain the hugely significant majority have been asked that question.  Depending on your answer, and depending on your performance through the year (and specifically during the present buying stage) - you ended up with hopefully getting what you wanted under the tree.
It’s a pretty well tried and trusted route to happiness for 100% of the population (see formula below) 
Request for desired present + purchase = happiness (if only fleeting till the next unwrapping cycle).
So why do sports clubs seem more set on - 




Don’t ask little Johnny what he wants + wrap up something that will work for the parents = sad little Johnny on Dec 25
Clubs far too often do not understand / do not know / do not want to give people what they want.  Think about it...  Far too often - decisions are made on what ‘might’ mean that targets are hit, ‘might’ result in budgets looking good on paper, will result in chairmen getting what they want (not to discount fully their input of course!)
But - certainly when larger income streams are not as significant as a % of the whole (e.g.TV / major sponsorships) - without the buy in of your customers (little Johnny in the equation above for those slow on the uptake) - no matter what you offer them - you are doomed to failure.
Life on this planet is pretty simple really.
Humans have basic needs that they will automatically look to satisfy - no matter the circumstances...  Eat, sleep, drink (water that is - not branded products that will make your life sparkle!!).
Then following a combination of their upbringing, their lifestyle, their peer’s decisions and all other culture around them - they build other ‘desires’ as they meander through life.  Advertisers / Marketeers / Sports clubs and the like will look to get in on the act of course - but at the end of the day you are only interested in ‘what you want’.
And despite what some may want to believe - that is life.  If you don’t want something - you ain’t gonna take it / look for it / search out for it / spend money on attending it.
It can be kind of painful for some sports or some clubs - as many places you will go (despite best efforts) - the battle you fight is going to be a largely losing one.  Setting up a sailing club on the top of the Alps might leave you short on subscription subs (to use examples at the extreme of the ‘please point it out’ scale).  Australia does Aussie Rules / America does American Football / the rest of the world does Football - and that (for the moment) is that when it comes to the success (or failure) of Soccer.
Of course - people can change what they want.  And of course (especially when sports administrators get it right) - we can have a big say on how they change what they want.  What we do as sports administrators will (in the long-ish term) change what people want (and then greater successes await), and in the short term will position our clubs correctly to get the absolute maximum out of what we are doing.  (There is SO much we can do right that will make life easier in both the short and long term - but this blog is about making the point that it makes.)
But the #1 thing you need to remember is that your easiest win (certainly in sports where there is an existing cultural market place) - give people what they want.
Understand your key customers / listen to what they have to say / and set up your business to deliver as near as dammit to these wishes.  It will be christmas for everyone.
In later blogs we will look at many key issues that may limit how successful you can be - 
  • Put your customers desire into the context of your business (you cannot give everyone what they want all the time)
  • Be reasonable - both externally and internally..  Of course - you cannot give everyone what they want exactly - but hopefully you understand what I am getting at
  • Improve your understanding of your customers needs
  • Plan how to change those desires.  Attract new customers (who did not know that they wanted your product - but they might now) - but again - you will need to find something that they want (a good day out / a great hot dog on arrival / hospitality to die for etc)
But for now - make your customers happy!!!

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