09 December, 2015

Is your organisation valuable?

Creating consumers of your product is the goal of every business. Whether you have a physical store with products you are selling or a service that customers need, you need to provide a compelling reason or a value proposition for them to engage with you. This is no different in sport.

As I have written previously, the way in which people participate in sport is changing. The vast majority of the population is no longer satisfied with paying money just to be a member of your club. They are looking for value for money from that transaction. They have a lot of choices in the marketplace to spend their leisure time and money and to have to pay money just to enter through the door is not enough.

We have seen a lot of indicators out there of this with many clubs participation numbers falling, the struggle to recruit volunteers and some failing financially. This happens in the business world too, businesses fail.

What each organisation has failed to do is understand their market, the people they are trying to engage with and create a great product that sells.

So what does sport need to do to create consumers of its products?

I have worked with a number of sports recently to shift the conversation from one that is focused inwards (looking at itself and trying to become more internally organised) to being outward facing (taking action to understand its potential customers and being prepared to engage with them).

Through this process, we have walked through four steps to become more outwardly facing. A warning, to get through all of these as an organisation it takes time and a lot of hard work – but then your organisation is worth it isn’t it?

1. Understand the market: The Australian Sports Commission has completed a lot of research around sport participation. As a sporting organisation you need to understand what it is that the population is wanting and how this applies to your local area. Go out and read the research, ask people questions. Find out why people love your organisation, why did people not renew their memberships last year?

2. Define your brand: Many organisations can’t actually define collectively what it is that they offer. They come up with generic statements like ‘oh we are a family club that wants our participants to be healthy’. OK, so you are competing against every other club in the area! I want to know what makes you different? How are you going to stand out from the crowd so that people will take notice of your message among the storm of social and brand media. Has your organisation got a clear vision that allows you to create your brand?

3. Deliver a quality product: If you, as a consumer don’t get a quality product (that being value for money and does the job it claims to) from a store you are either going to complain to the store or complain to your friends. The same in sport. You want to have a product that everyone raves about – ‘My club has the best junior sports program because they understand my child and have great coaches’. You want testimonials like that! You want them coming back into your club, happy to spend their money and time with you. Are your products (memberships, programs etc) clear about what your potential customers get for their money – when it is written out is it valuable?

4. Create hype: Create some hype about your brand and product, make sure everyone knows what it is you do and how you do it.. Apple do this very well – the new iPhone comes out and a wave of consumers must have the latest one. How do you create hype around your junior development program or your female engagement program? By creating a sense of excitement about the product, (especially easy if you have great testimonials) then you are likely to see your participation numbers grow.

This all takes time, but growing a successful business is not an overnight success. I would encourage all organisations to start at point number 1 and begin to look outwardly rather than inwardly.

If you have any questions or would like some more detail then please send me an email or comment below.

© 2018 Paul Mead

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