Tomorrow’s Success Depends on Today’s Strategy

As we continue to work our way through the pandemic, two questions are on most of our minds: How will we recover? And what will our recovery look like?

Whether we realize it or not right now, the market we will be in once the pandemic concludes will be different from the one we operated in before. We can almost guarantee the way we have positioned our teams, our tickets, and our sponsorships is going to need a refresh.

The big question is: how do we set ourselves up now to create and capture opportunities today, and also in the future?

The Three C’s

The foundation of any successful market positioning is the concept of the three C’s: Customer, Competition, and Company.

If you work through the three C’s in that order, you’ll have a better likelihood of success because it allows you to walk your business through a coordinated effort to define the meaningful ideas that will drive people to you, and it will enable you to draw a clear distinction between what you can deliver and what the competition offers.

This will work now and going forward. So let’s go through them.

Customer

The foundation of any successful marketing organization is the principle of Market Orientation. A working definition is simple. Market Orientation means bringing the voice of your customer inside your business. You may have heard it called “Customer Focused”, “Inside Out”, or any other number of terms. The idea is the same: the core of a successful marketing effort is Market Orientation.

As we kickstart our strategy and planning for the future, the first thing we have to do is consider the customers we are trying to reach. What do they need? What do they want? How have they changed because of the pandemic? These may feel like simple questions, but the truth is it can become very easy to assume we know the answers without ever asking the questions.

At the heart of the Customer and Market Orientation is a willingness to recognize that you don’t know the answers to these questions, but you do know how to find the answers.

We also need to consider that our target customers may be different. Take an example like Major League Baseball. Coming out of the pandemic, it might make a great deal of sense to specifically hone in on families with children for a few reasons, including the need to develop the next generation of fans, the ballpark being a safe way to help people feel comfortable back in big crowds, and because of the spill over into other segments.

The key is to make sure you start with the customer and really push into knowing who your customer is, what they want and need, and try to see your business the way the customer does.

Competition

Competition is tricky because you can make the assumption that you know exactly who your competition is. Competition is coming from so many different directions. So many that you often can’t be sure of who your competition really is.

The best way to find out who or what is competing for your customer’s attention and spending is to ask your customers and prospects. Because in many cases, the competition you are dealing with isn’t a direct replacement like instead of going to a hockey game versus a football game. It is going out to dinner instead of the game or hanging out at a sports bar with many games on instead of picking you.

This is why knowing your customers is so important. If you don’t know who they are picking instead of you, you can’t design a solution to beat that competitor. By discovering what your targets are substituting, you realize that the world inside your customer’s head is much more complex than you might hope, and the competition is typically not what you thought it was. But you need to know who you are competing against so that you can position yourself as the better alternative.

Company

This is all about you. The Company should reflect the things you can do better than your competition. And it should be things that you can do now.

To be clear, this isn’t something aspirational like “Get in now, and we might win someday soon!” It is about things you can deliver as soon as fans enter your building like world-class performers, once in a lifetime experiences, and connections with family, friends, or business associates.

The nice thing is sports and live events are easier to position than most products and services because they are once in a lifetime in every circumstance. Sports are emotional, exciting, and unique. Coming out of the pandemic, our job is to make sure we don’t take these things for granted. More importantly, we have to make sure our customers don’t take them for granted either.

Nothing we do is guaranteed to bring us success, but if we do a good job of working through these three C’s now, we are likely to set ourselves up to create revenue opportunities now. But also focusing on our position today will enable us to come through the pandemic with the opportunity to be stronger than ever tomorrow.

What strategies are your teams currently considering?
Write to Dave at dave@davewakeman.com.