Guest Post – Customer Service is at the Heart of Business

Today I had my very first guest post go live! You can find the guest post entitled “Customer Service is at the Heart of Business” here:  http://www.nakedblogging.com/customer-service-is-at-the-heart-of-business/

The guest post is hosted on Laura Summer’s www.nakedblogging.com. Don’t worry, it’s got nothing to do with innuendo but rather looking good online. Laura helps bloggers and business owners with their digital footprint and specializes in developing self-hosted WordPress websites. I hope you enjoy the post and let me know what you think in the comments!

Go Forth!

Sports Media Content

soccerfield

Creating great content is all the rage now for anyone involved in social media trying to connect more people with their product and brand. So what does this mean and how did we get here? Great media content is not a new concept. Let’s use TV as an example since it has been around longer than probably anyone reading this blog right now!

What TV shows do you watch and why? What makes what you watch on TV a good show? It’s probably got some great actors, great story telling, great drama, great writing. Those are the things that make up great content. Stuff that is so compelling that you continue watch over and over and over again. There is a market here that websites such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Google Play and numerous other websites have tapped into – evidence of the fact that people want great content and are willing to pay money in order to watch their favorite shows or read certain websites or play certain games.

So how does this apply to sports? – great question. Sports have all the elements of great content; elements that are just waiting to be captured and distributed to the masses, something many organizations are already doing quite well. (I believe the professional leagues have done a great job with this, especially the NFL and the NBA. Both of those leagues have their own TV channels, official websites, and great content production both by the league itself as well as other media entities.)

My suggestion to college or other sport organizations is to use what you’ve already got in front of you to create content and just get going. Even if the production value isn’t great at first, it is what’s really being conveyed that will get people to watch. Next, make a plan of what you will be doing and with what purpose. If the purpose is to develop relationships with fans, great. If the purpose is to sell tickets, great. Figure out why you want to be online and be clear about that in all of your actions and communications.

Furthermore, with a few goals in mind you’ll need some tools to actually start creating content. Most schools have some sort of communications department that has some access to equipment and software, so use those connections to find the resources and hardware to begin producing content if you find yourself on a tight budget.

Finally, just get started. Start making videos, recording interviews, and writing blog posts with the “inside scoop” about what is going on with your teams. Show your fans that your athletes are people who have talents off the field as well as on the field. You can do interviews about what music they listen to, if they play an instrument or have some other really cool talent. This kind of content creation doesn’t really take a lot to come up with, it just takes time and dedication to doing it over and over again, getting better about consistency and quality of production, as well as a clear purpose about why. Once you get started, I think you’ll begin to notice how fun this type of work can be and how rewarding it is for you and everyone else involved. Plus, if you get good at it, you can begin to monetize those digital channels which can further your argument for investment in the social realm – that however is another blog post for another time!

Our world is becoming more and more digital everyday with no signs of slowing down. Here’s to working hard and doing what’s difficult on a daily basis.

Go Forth!

PS. The Sports Video Group has a great website that I find very valuable in terms of learning how that side of the industry works. If you like, check them out here: http://sportsvideo.org/main/

Sport Marketing and Entertainment Lessons from Monster Jam

MonsterJam1.5.2012

Last weekend I attended the Monster Jam show which got me thinking about fan experience and entertainment. How well do you entertain your fans? What other elements have you integrated into your pre-game, time out calls, half-time, and post-game elements of a game experience. Do people like what you’re doing? How do you know? Have you asked (surveyed) them?

Of course, the reason why fans attend sporting events is to see athletics competition (of course!), but that’s not all there is to it…people spend more time inside your venue not watching actual game play than they do actually watching athletes perform. Of course the athletes are visible for much of that down time, but those are valuable seconds you could be using to entertain your fans.

I have heard several folks and read several blogs by NBA teams that say their entertainment goal is to want to make their game presentation so exciting, that no one in the building would even think about picking up their smart phone because it would be too distracting. You’ve got fans in your building who have paid money to experience something bigger than themselves and who want to be entertained, so that should be your goal. One way to begin, do a SWOT analysis based on the five senses. Many (if not most) retail companies incorporate these elements and I think sports venues can do the same.

Monster Jam does this extremely well. They’ve got non-stop action from the time you walk in the front gates until you get to your car after the show. Now, I’ve enjoyed monster truck shows since I was a kid and having grown up in Las Vegas, (where we got to see the World Championships almost every year!) I have a pretty good idea of what entertainment looks like. Here is how I perceived Monster Jam as incorporating all of the senses:

Sight – Monster trucks, jumps, smashed cars, the car crushing Monster T-Rex, and aside from the main show, intermission type quad and motorcycle races on the track featuring competition between local and national racers

Sound – Trucks revving at such high RPMs and at such high decibels that most people wear ear plugs or professional grade sound protection (especially small children)

Smell – Freshly groomed dirt; Monster truck exhaust fumes that are quite pungent and unforgettably unique to such large engines, in addition to concession stand food smells

Touch – Usually some sort of pick-up truck collection out on the plaza outside the main entrances for fans to sit inside, touch, smell, etc. (usually sponsored by one of the large automobile manufacturers)

Taste – Concession items with the normal fare that people expect which also includes themed micro-stands that sell “monster” size popcorn or “balloon tire” sized cotton candy (great case study on branding could be done on Monster Jam)

My challenge to sport entertainment specialists, marketers, and sales people would be to consider how the five senses are already incorporated into what you are currently doing and make improvements where applicable. When creating ads, building a website, and talking to customers, how are you portraying what it’s like to be in your stadium or arena? As sport organizations, our biggest competition is a fan’s living room. It costs less to stay at home to watch on TV, eat your own food, and drink your own drinks, so our challenge is to be so compelling that no matter how our teams perform, fans know they are getting a good value for their money. The lesson to take away from Monster Jam is to incorporate the five senses and use those connections to build relationships with fans.

My next post will be on creating good content, which ties into this post very closely, so stay tuned on that front!

Go Forth!

Happy New Year

Happy new year to you and yours! Do you have any new year traditions? Do you make resolutions? Or proclamations about the new year and how this one will be different or better? We like to think that the changing of the calendar gives us all a new opportunity to be better, get fitter, be more loving, and to be more successful; in reality every day gives us a new opportunity to do just that. The sub-header on my blog here is “do what’s difficult” for a reason. Everyday I challenge myself to overcome those small influences trying to get me to take the easy way out or to take the shortcut. From personal experience I know that it gets easier the more you do it, though there are always new unexpected challenges lurking around every turn.

What small steps or goals will you make toward those larger goals you’ve set for yourself and what support system do you have in place? Who will help keep you accountable to the new goals you expect to achieve in the next year? What daily changes in your life will you be making to achieve your resolutions for the new year 2013? Write them down and post them in a visible place where you will see them  on a daily basis and tell as many people as you can – both in persona and on social media.

Another idea here too…How long do you actually greet others with a joyful “Happy New Year” welcome? Just on January 1st? That first week? The entire month? Consider taking the entire month of January to welcome new interactions with a “Happy New Year” instead of the normal hello and take note of the reaction you get…I’m interested in seeing what happens here myself!

Good luck on figuring out your goals and setting up your support system. It’s worth it to do what’s difficult if you sincerely desire change. Go Forth!