October 16, 2012
Most coaches do not have the time necessary to carry out all of the marketing initiatives necessary to build a program to an elite level from a consumption standpoint. In fact, with all the expectations on non-revenue sport programs, it is safe to say that many coaches have to adjust their schedule (and reallocate time) to make marketing a priority. While there is no getting around some time investment, there are some strategies that coaches can implement to maximize their efficiency. Building on last week’s post on “Learning Lessons for Elite Status,” this week’s entry will focus on some key steps that coaches (and organizations) can take to improve their marketing efforts moving forward. As always, pick at least one step and implement it right away. Once you are in good standing with the step, move on to the others until you have mastered each level. The steps are tiered so start at the lowest level and strive to move yourself to the highest level. If you already have a step in place, then move on to the next so you are able to create a more sound marketing (and business) team for your program. Hopefully these are individuals who increase efficiency and stimulate your thinking.
Levels of Compounding Marketing
Level 1 (Connect for the Cause): The first step that any coach should take is to reach out on campus to individuals who have the potential to help your program. On any campus across the United States, there are faculty members and students who have the skill sets necessary to help build your program from a marketing standpoint. The challenge is that you must be proactive enough to reach out and find these individuals. It is important to note that there are certain fields that are a natural fit for the marketing initiatives that have been previous identified in entries on this blog. I will outline some of these groups below before moving on to the second level of compounding marketing.
Sport Management or Business (Marketing) field: When developing a marketing plan, these are potential academic areas on campus that have qualified individuals to help with your efforts. While faculty members may not be willing to directly assist in your efforts, they have the ability to connect you with solid students who are looking for practical experiences to build their resume. While the emphasis is on marketing (and fundraising) in this particular entry, you can use this strategy to build your efforts in any program area.
Communication or Journalism field: There is little doubt that the use of technology (and social network sites) should be a top priority for non-revenue programs looking to improve in their marketing initiatives. With this in mind, the Communication and Journalism fields are solid potential targets if you are looking for individuals to help you in your social network site endeavors. These individuals can often help with developing story lines to release via your different mediums.
Graphic/Website Design field: With the heavy emphasis on technology, there are some coaches who would like to take the next step in improving their online presence. If you are hoping to visually improve your sites, then these fields could be the ideal fit for reaching out.
Level 2 (Invest in Internship Program): It is certainly possible that you can find individuals who are looking to volunteer by reaching out to the groups described above. However, you should be aware that the most qualified students are often looking for a structured experience that they can place on their resume. With this in mind, it is extremely important that you consider developing an internship program that will provide potential students with this type of experience. To do this, you need to create an internship description that includes the specific job duties of the selected individual. Based on the area of emphasis (see Level 1), you should tailor your experience to the individual you hope to attract. As you move forward with this program, it would be optimal if you have individuals from the different areas serving in a few key marketing capacities. However, remember that you must market your program to individuals if you hope to attract the most qualified candidates.
Level 3 (Create a Business Board): For the purpose of this entry, this would be the top level of compounding marketing for a program. Allow me to explain why. When mastered, the first two steps put individuals in place that allow you to effectively carry out your basic marketing plan. However, in the early stages this would take some significant time investments from the coaching staff because the individuals would need to understand your program (and sport) to be able to market effectively. With that being said, there is a chance that this time investment could be decreased significantly if the program was continually ran properly. With a solid internship program in place, coaches could look to create a business board to lead marketing efforts. In an ideal world, the members of the board could consist of individuals who have served in internship roles for your program. As a result, these individuals would be capable of training incoming interns in the different marketing roles. It is important to note that this would take a large investment up front to get the business board up and running. However, once in place, the Return on Investment (ROI) could be extremely valuable to a program. Below is a simple mock version of what a board could look like.
- Executive Director: Former student-athlete in business-related field
- President: Current student in Business/Sport Management field
- Vice President: Current student in Communications field
- Secretary: Current student in Journalism field
During my interactions with coaches, I have realized that there are a lot of individuals who are ready to take the next step in their marketing efforts. With the obvious time/resource constraints facing programs, it makes sense for coaches to invest in initiatives that will increase efficiency moving forward. Following this blog entry, I hope you now realize the potential that exists when you are willing to reach out to qualified individuals on campus. For the program who takes this step, there will be significant rewards down the road in terms of sustainability and compounding growth.
“Efficiency is doing better what is already being done” (Peter Drucker)