December 5, 2011
Most weeks you have to think long and hard about what you want to put into your weekly blog entry. Other times you are inspired to write based on something that has happened around you. Today is the latter because I observed something that I believe can be a mini “game changer” for programs in their marketing efforts moving forward. I say mini here not because of the lack of impact that it can have. Instead, I say mini because this strategy is simply one part of the different initiatives that you need to carry out to be successful in your marketing. In other words, a highly creative promotion will not emerge as a game changer if you do not have a solid foundation in place to sustain your efforts. I believe that several programs are approaching the point where they will achieve both initiatives. However, today I will only focus on one program that deserves an “Intentional Innovation” shout out.
Creation of an iPad2 Promotion
Before I discuss Central Michigan Wrestling’s most recent promotion, allow me to say that they have created a solid marketing foundation with their constant updates via social network sites. As a result, they now have over 4,500 likes and this is likely to increase due to the fact that they are now consistently investing in solid video releases (e.g., see Ben Bennett All Star Classic promotional video). With this being the case, it seems like a natural progression for them to develop innovative promotions to take the next step in their marketing efforts. This is exactly what they have done in their most recent iPad2 promotion for their match via Minnesota.
There is no question that electronics have become an extremely popular target for sponsorship agreements in large part (note: money does trump this – in case you were wondering) because of their potential to add to the fan experience through giveaways. While sponsorship agreements of this nature may be a non-factor for Olympic sports at this point, this does not mean that giveaways of this nature cannot occur. In fact, many programs have all of the tools necessary to put together a package that will be enticing to potential consumers. Once you have done this, it is up to the particular program to market the promotion so they are able to maximize their exposure. This is exactly what they did with their two graphics (e.g., online signage) that they strategically released via Facebook.
It’s All About Activation
The truth is that most effective marketers can come up with creative giveaways that will be enticing to their consumers. The real challenge lies in the ability to activate the giveaway so that you are able to maximize the potential marketing benefits available to your program. In this instance, Central Michigan Wrestling could have simply done a giveaway and promoted it via a variety of online outlets. However, this would not have activated the ability to increase followers (and interest among fans) via Facebook. To do this, their program made the decision to make an exclusive announcement of the winner on their Facebook page. So, when college students (and other key target markets) attended their match, they were encouraged to visit and “like” their Facebook page because of their opportunity to win an iPad2. This is not something they could have achieved without the insight to make the announcement on their page. They have set the standard of this being an excellent strategy for programs to implement moving forward.
Taking the Next Step
For Olympic sports to reach their full potential, programs (and their staff) must take a proactive approach to building interest in their product. As many of you know, this is directly influenced by the quality of investments that you make in marketing efforts. So, kudos to Central Michigan for taking the time and mental energy necessary to come up with ideas that will help grow the sport of wrestling!