November 21, 2011
On my trip to Arizona yesterday, I found myself brainstorming the different ways that wrestling programs can effectively improve their marketing efforts. Many times some of your best ideas come from the interactions that take place around you. When you see a creative promotion from a business or other sport entity (e.g., Hardy’s free biscuits for fans when UNC basketball team scores over 100), you simply think of ways that you can make it work in an Olympic sport environment. As you become locked in on improving your marketing efforts, you will be absolutely amazed at the creative things that you observe around you that can serve as catalyst thoughts for enhancing consumer interest in your program.
Marketing Observation #1: To start my “Adventures at the All Star Classic” series, I would like to discuss a marketing concept that I observed in my journey to the Tempe area. Towards the end of my trip, I was presented with the challenge of getting a shuttle arranged to pick me up at the Phoenix area. As a coach (or fan), you are probably thinking that this really should not be considered a challenge at all. Well, let me tell you, you could not be further from the truth. I was reminded that a 10-15 minute guarantee means little to nothing for many companies that are doing business. And as I called twice during an hour time frame, I would reassured that the shuttle would be there in a matter of minutes. Of course they were off by about a half an hour. Which brings me to the point of this marketing observation. So many companies now-a-days “over promise and under deliver” because they think it is what the customer wants. While it serves a short-term purpose (making the customer pleased temporarily), it does far more damage when the company is not able to deliver the promise that they made. As the CEO of your program, make sure that you operate with the opposite mentality. If you constantly “under promise and over deliver” with your stakeholders, you will build strong loyalty with the individuals surrounding your program.
Marketing Observation #2: As I arrived at the hotel from a nice dinner at Oregano’s last night, I had the pleasure of running into University of Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy in the lobby. For those of you have met Kerry, you know that he is an outstanding leader for college wrestling and for his program. Similar to Bobby Purcell (Executive Director of Wolfpack Club – see entry on fundraising), coach McCoy has a unique ability to connect with the people around him. There is a philosophy that leadership expert John Maxwell regularly discusses in his books where he emphasizes the importance of “slowing down in a crowd.” Rather than rushing to your next task, he explains that taking the time to interact with people is something that will grow your leadership influence in your field and organization. From a marketing perspective, it will allow you to achieve two primary objectives that should be of interest to all coaches: (1) attract new fans, and (2) build loyalty with existing fans. There is no question that coach McCoy takes the time to do this on a regular basis. As a result, he has a loyal UNC fan who is silently a supporter of the UMD wrestling program.
Please stay tuned for the “Adventures at the All Star Classic (Part II)” entry…