December 20, 2012
The truth is that every program who is interested in building their brand should have a detailed marketing plan. While the basic outlining of marketing concepts is important, it can often fall short if not done within a structure that combines a program’s vision, key target markets, and delivery strategies in a synergistic manner. When this is done properly, programs are provided with the opportunity to reach full potential from a marketing standpoint. However, this takes a unique investment as coaches need to have the self-discipline to sit down and outline the key areas that are conducive to effective brand building. While it can be a somewhat daunting task, it is certainly something that coaches can do if they are fully invested in marketing their program. This entry is dedicated to helping coaches to understand the elements that are necessary to create an effective marketing plan.
Part I – Establish a Brand Vision: Every program must have a vision if they are going to succeed in marketing. Much of this has been outlined in the section 2 of the recently developed Marketing Manual. In addition to having a promotable mantra that is appealing to your key stakeholders (administrators, student-athletes, staffs, fans), this involves outlining the central values that your program will embrace. Once you know these values, it makes it far easier to know what you should be marketing because you will know your program’s desired identity.
Part II – Set Specific Branding Goals: It is often common for programs to set off on different marketing initiatives without actually knowing what they would like to achieve. While initial action is better than doing nothing, it is important to point out that coaches would never really want their athletes training each day without knowing the goals they would like to realize in their season/career. Why? Because it allows an athlete to have a purpose that guides them to make the right kind of decisions. This is the same with marketing. Know what you would like to achieve so you can tailor your efforts on a regular basis to maximize efficiency. These goals will also keep you motivated as the season gets hectic.
Part III – Identify Key Target Markets: Simply put, you will never reach full potential in marketing if you do not know who you are trying to get to support your program. When you take the time to outline these target groups, it allows you to increase the chances that you will develop ideas that will be appealing to them. This is a critical element in marketing. The day you learn to create ideas for others is a day that you take a step towards becoming a true marketer. Equally important, it will mark a time where you start to see progress in the support surrounding your program.
Part IV – Produce Unique Promotional Strategies: Once you understand your vision, goals, and target markets, you have the foundation necessary to start developing content and promotional strategies that will be appealing to followers. It is important that you develop a section in your marketing plan to outline the key promotions that your program will invest in during the season. This should include themed promotions to increase interest in both the actual program and your specific events.
Part V – Set-Up Your Social Media Plan: There is little doubt that social media now plays a huge role in effective marketing for programs. To be successful in this area, your staff should develop the strategies that you will implement to maximize the exposure of your program via social media. In addition to determining key content, this should include how to make sure that you are extending the reach of your messaging.