My last blog rather depressingly noted that we can’t really do much to drive our sports clubs forward. (Didn’t it??) Well - if you read it wrong - then you may have taken that from it. However - it was written to highlight the need to position your workload in the right manner. Understand where you are in the marketplace and listen to your customers. It is no fun to believe that what you are doing has limited impact - but again - that was not the point. Everything we do should be about making an impact, about improving what we do. In the short term - we need to listen more than to preach. But in the long term - our preaching will hopefully have far more of any impact - and that is where the fun comes.... (finally - some fun!)
If you work at (or plan to work at) a well established sports set up - then more than likely you have an existing audience of passionate supporters - who will follow your club pretty much through anything. Well done - you are at a mature operation - it should be easier to move things forward.
If you work at a new franchise (for the American audience), or a poorly supported team - then your efforts are likely to be less well followed.
At either end of the sporting success spectrum however - the issue remains the same. What we are basically trying to do is to influence people to change their desires, to change their need-set. There are very few automatic ‘sales’ - no one comes into the world supporting a football team, no businesses have ‘must sponsor local sports club’ in their Organizational plans.
Culture impacts on life, impacts on individuals and impacts on companies - and the best way to deliver success to your club is to impact on the culture that surounds your target folk/companies.
I have already said that you need to listen to what your targets desire right NOW - but long term success comes from changing these desires. From turning ambivalent to passionate, from changing ‘no idea’ to ‘I love it’.
A friend of mine 3/4 years ago said “I hate Facebook, I will never be a part of that. I love MySpace - and will remain with them forever”. Perhaps the words I use are not the exact statement that came from their mouths - but culture (in a big way) has forced them to now be one of Facebook’s most ardent users - and their MySpace account sits unloved on the BSkyB shelves.
Facebook is now part of our culture - but it sure as hell was put there by a phenomenally successful marketing campaign - proving that audiences can be created - and that people can and WILL change what they want (my friend going from a state of ‘no interest at all in Product F’ to one of Product F’s champions).
And that - rather odd example - sums up what we need to spend our lives doing in sports administration.
We have a plan so we know what we want to do. We understand our customers and are doing our best to give them want they want in the short term. We are now going to set about changing what they want so that happens as soon as possible.
Here the "science" gets a little less solid. There can be NO cast iron answers that I can write about (or not just yet - stay tuned for more perhaps) - I would think it would be pretty boring if there was one way of guaranteeing success. But in simple terms - our job is to change people’s desires and turn them into lifelong sponsors / supporters / champions.
Enjoy achieving that