January 9, 2012
It is unrealistic to think that you can succeed in today’s entertainment industry without an emphasis on creating an exciting environment for your key target markets. There is so much competition for consumer’s attention that sport organizations (and teams) must find a way to differentiate the product that they are offering. So, along with the other challenges facing NCAA Olympic sports, this is an area that coaches must consider if they are going to improve their chances at sustainability and growth in future years. While this entry will not hit all of the essential areas for creating an entertaining sport product, it will serve as a starting point for the Marketing Manual (ELSM partnership with NCAA and NWCA) that will be released for coaches this August (3rd-5th) at the NWCA Convention in Fort Lauderdale. Rather than jump into these areas, I will turn it over to a guy I refer to as the “Bill Veeck of College Wrestling” to discuss strategies to enhance the atmosphere at sport events.
Key Video Blog Marketing Points
1. Connect on campus: One of the first steps to creating an entertaining environment is knowing the primary segments you will target in your efforts. Once you know this, it is far easier to identify the entertainment options that you will offer at your events (see point #2 below). However, as discussed in the video blog, large groups on campus should be an emphasis in your marketing efforts. After all, they already have a university affiliation and they are close in proximity. Even better, their close range in age allows you to offer select entertainment options to appeal to each campus group. This allows for efficiency in marketing efforts.
2. Invest in strategic segmented entertainment: If you are going to make a sport environment enjoyable, there must be entertainment specifically designed for your primary targets. You can do this one of two ways. Option #1 is to research select opportunities to identify one or two entertainment options that have “broad-based appeal.” This might be seen as a difficult endeavor. Option #2 (as illustrated in Koll “Go Big or Go Home” video) would be to use a dart board approach were you implement a variety of different entertainment options. Regardless of your option, entertainment must be an emphasis at your competitions to maximize consumer interest.
3. Develop a specific promotional program schedule: In the video, coach Koll discussed the wide range of promotional events that they offer at their home dual meets. Whether it is clinics, scrimmages, t-shirt giveaways, music, and/or other creative options, you have to invest in a schedule that you can promote to potential target markets. This will provide a foundation for an entertaining experience at your home dual meets. Once you invest in this specific area, you will be well on your way to creating an aura surrounding your program.
4. Involve student-athlete in event promotion: Once you have some entertainment options in place, it is important that you take steps to attract large groups of individuals to your events. As discussed in the Koll interview, this can be done by involving student-athletes in the promotion process. By giving them an allocated amount of tickets, they become involved in the marketing of your program. In addition, their presence on campus can go a long way in attracting students to your events.
5. Make the media your ally: This is a simple concept really. When you create a positive, entertaining environment, there will be consumers that will want to be a part of your events. As a result, the media will have more interest in coming to cover your events in some capacity. Be sure to make this a point of emphasis in your marketing plan.
Moving forward, entertainment will continue to be a point of emphasis for sport consumers. If you want to attract these individuals, it is important to invest in creating a product that is appealing to consumers. One of the best ways to do this is by learning from individuals who have been successful in this endeavor. As a pioneer in successful Olympic sport marketing, Rob Koll is an individual who other coaches can certainly learn from. Be sure to take at least one of these points and implement it into your event marketing right away.
“If you want an empty arena, then do nothing to create value for consumers. If you want a venue full of loyal fans, then create an environment where fans want to come back to see what will happen next”