There’s often a dichotomy between the way sports clubs treat their fans and how they prepare their players for action.
While many businesses yearn to convert their customers into fans, sports clubs too readily treat their fans like transient customers.
So why risk taking your most loyal fans for granted? If they lose interest and fail to become a diehard supporter, you have work twice hard to find new folks to replace them.
All businesses, not just sports clubs, need to replicate the preparation and effort of athletes on the pitch so they can cultivate and keep their own fans by savvy marketing – beginning with goal setting.
Elite sportsmen set targets that are so real they can almost taste and smell what success feels like.
Making it real and combining training with talent can help most competitors reach the 80-90 per cent mark they need.
What makes a massive difference are the all-important ‘marginal gains’ – those x factor ingredients that squeeze the best from an athlete and/or their team whether from coaching, tactics, training methods or, increasingly, sport science – things that can transform an ordinary athlete into an extraordinary one.
Long term preparation is key. That’s why analytics matter. Sports science is massive these day with performance analysts being a key part of any serious team.
Speedo, for example, test their swimsuits in wind tunnels at NASA to detect the tiniest element of drag that may slow an elite swimmer down by milliseconds. They weave bonded seams so zips don’t protrude and meticulously plan to turn their swimmers into winners.
Elaborate training schedules are mapped out – often planned years in advance. Listen to those disappointed athletes unable to compete at this summers’ Olympic Games. It isn’t because they can’t peak again in 2021, but because they were so on track for this July.
Indeed, each Olympic Games pushes new technological boundaries whether to help athletes or not. HDTV, drones, zipwire cameras and athlete GPS tracking were first used at the Asian Games in 2006 and soon after, at the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008. Now everyone uses them.
The entire running boom of the 1980s was fuelled not just on enthusiasm and Jane Fonda workouts but the development of protective running shoes that cushioned feet and eased the jolt of bones to enable millions of people to, as Nike famously said, ‘Just do It’ – not once but consistently.
And if you ask any football manager what they want most from their players and it is always the same thing – consistency. Players they can rely upon time after time.
Your customer experience pathways need to be consistent to the nth degree of detail a sports coach would demand of his players.
Just as no two races are the same, so you need adaptable tactics to come out on top.
The best processes are tested in times of change when their ability to adapt comes to the fore. If you are to look at the multitude of processes that have had to flex as a result of the recent pandemic you’ll find those that were ready to change and those that stood still. The likes of Domino’s pizza moving quickly to contactless order, payment and delivery, a local fitness club who are holding virtual classes with their instructors and even farm shops quickly launching contactless collection. In contrast some major takeaway chains like McDonald’s and KFC who have not been in a position to re-structure processes and have had to bow out of their market for the time being.
Going back to those running shoes – the likes of Nike, Adidas, Reebok and New Balance continue to push the technological boundaries forward but are also smart enough to foster retro markets – because we all know what nostalgia is like, right? It ain’t what it used to be.
Fans love their cool bands – from classic Reeboks to round woolly swinging 60s football shirts. Sports clubs and brands feed their heritage and the diversification of their support base. Things that are built for comfort not necessarily for speed.
With Speedo, you’re unlikely to want to invest in a £200 bonded seamed swimsuit that takes 15 minutes to squeeze into for a dip down your local lido, but may want to wear a more affordable version that carries the same logo and whiff of winners and an echo of Speedo’s Bondi Beach heritage.
Successful customer pathways are a multitude of integrated experiences that turn customers into fans and embed loyalty and close connection to the brand. They’re about the long haul of meticulous planning, preparation and the proficient execution of tactics that result in a winning performance, not once but always. And, now more than ever, the journeys that work are those who flex to stay focused on doing right by their customers.
Understanding your customers with nous is hugely important and developing clear customer marketing strategies is more important now then ever take a look at how we can help. Read more
To analyse and assess what your customers think and feel about your business contact Fresh Nous on 01905 780810 or get in touch.