Grow Your Sports Club


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Sports clubs, at all levels need to be better run and more welcoming if they are to survive and indeed grow. This presentation is from Sports Marketing Network's workshop on how to make your sports clubs vibrant, visible and viable. 2,000 clubs across Britain have particpated in one these workshops

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Grow Your Sports Club

  1. 1. Grow Your Sports Club How to make your sports club vibrant, visible and viable
  2. 2. Svend Elkjaer o Dane, handball, MBA, o publishing, events, o passionate, creative, bad manager, o even worse politician, o Bedford, event/marketing consultancy business... o now Norseman returned to Yorkshire o always in the experience business
  3. 3. Skål…the welcoming Retriever
  4. 4. Where is all this coming from… o Grow Your Club workshops for n Rugby Football Union, Football Association, Sports Council Wales, England Squash, Scottish Association of Local Sports Councils, Rugby Football League, Amateur Boxing Association, SkillsActive, Sport England, ISRM, England Athletics, England Netball, Welsh Rugby Union, British Speedway, UniBond League, Universities, 12 County Sports Partnerships and 45+ local authorities and more than 1,800 sports clubs Lots of good club visits, brilliant experiences and great people…and some less so!
  5. 5. Yourself + The challenges faced by sports clubs?
  6. 6. Today o Sport and clubs in context o From club to enterprise o Improving the customer experience o Developing exciting events o Becoming a HubClub o How to become a visible club o Working with sponsors and partners o Managing a vibrant club
  7. 7. “Unwelcoming clubs”… a word from the Secretary of State o “Let’s be honest, a lot of our clubs have got a very unwelcoming environment. They must develop a more supportive environment, making people feel more comfortable.” Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (England Netball magazine)
  8. 8. Welcoming clubs…more members and more money o Focus on your customers i.e. parents, players, supporters, sponsors, Council etc. and their needs and then work to attract and retain them to support your club o Your membership and revenue will then grow and long-term you will have a winning club, both on and off the pitch
  9. 9. Grow vibrancy, visibility and viability of sports clubs o A successful club is vibrant through the activities and events the club and centre creates visible through its communication with members, supporters, sponsors viable - with funding under pressure clubs must diversify their revenue streams
  10. 10. My Club Child Protection Social Facility Sport Equity Funding Community
  11. 11. Community Sports Enterprise SPORT Elite, participation, social, kids, etc. BUSINESS SKILLS FACILITIES CULTURE VISION, Utilisation Revenue/Costs STRATEGY & Design Financial Mgt LEADERSHIP Funding Marketing People/Volunteers Technology CUSTOMER & COMMUNITY Innovation Sustainable engagement Satisfaction, loyalty, relevance “more than just a sports club”
  12. 12. The benefits of becoming a Community Sports Enterprise o You become better equipped to deliver sport o You become vibrant and visible o It will be easier to attract and retain good, skilled volunteers o You become more relevant as a Hub for your Community o Your migrate from fund-raising to income generation o You will have freedom and independence to make your own decisions and define priorities o Become more sustainable with reduced dependence on the availability and priorities of external funding streams o You’ll have more time to devote to the enterprise instead of grant applications and bureaucratic reports
  13. 13. Are you all rowing in the same direction..and at the same speed?
  14. 14. What is a/your club for?
  15. 15. Six words you rarely see in sports plans Fun Trust Passion Customer Innovation Technology
  16. 16. If Stelios ran golf…EasyGolf
  17. 17. If Stelios ran golf…EasyGolf o 5 holes maximum o You had to play in jeans and orange T- shirt o There’d be a coffee shop at each green o No reserved car parking spaces o When I arrive someone says hello and welcome o Kids and women would get preferential treatment o Laughing would be obligatory
  18. 18. Club ‘marketing’ so far… o “We’ve got somebody who does our marketing, we haven’t seen him for a while” o “We printed some flyers last year, I think they are in that box over there” o “Do we really want all these new people here, in my club?” o “I just want to play sport” o “The Government/Council/governing body should give us some more money”
  19. 19. What is ‘marketing’ ’listening to people’s lives’ ‘everything you do’ We are ALL marketers
  20. 20. The WHOLE experience o Think of the whole experience of joining your club: (Moment Mapping) n Decision to attend n Seek information n Booking n Transport n Experience at your club n Do you make them love you n Follow up n Ask/listen
  21. 21. Dirty / Clean? – Cheap / Quality?
  22. 22. The hard core is not enough… o If you retain 90% of your members/supporters per year, you’ll have lost more than one third in year 4. You will have lost almost 60% if you retain 80% every year o David Lloyd retains 72% per year o What’s your retention rate?
  23. 23. Customer service A Welcoming Club: o More than just a sports club o Would you have your birthday party at your club? o Note: change of pub landlord can mean 50% increase in turnover o Learn from Disney, Starbucks and Tesco o Greet and welcome newcomers
  24. 24. The three 2s 2 seconds 2 minutes 2 hours
  25. 25. The sports club …a hub for the community …develop a Community Engagement Plan
  26. 26. Non-Sports Partners Schools Primary Care University/ Trusts College Community Housing groups Association Your Club Police Council Local Local businesses media
  27. 27. A view from an English National League Rugby Union Club “I have to admit that trying to get the management team to agree that we need more community involvement is difficult. There are entrenched views and it is taking time to get long- standing members to realise there is no future for "just a rugby club“ Malcolm Tempest, ex-Commercial Manager (volunteer) Hull Ionians
  28. 28. How can a/your club develop mutually beneficial relationships with community partners?
  29. 29. SMN’s 4Com model o Community Marketing– Packaging the passion n Community n Communication n WelCOMing n Computer
  30. 30. Community o Become a focal point within your community and go to the places, from schools to Women’s Institutes, wherever your target audiences are
  31. 31. Communication People are being bombarded with literally hundreds of messages every day Flyers in libraries or inside sports centres, have very little effect Develop strong and relevant communication programmes Speak their language
  32. 32. Communication?
  33. 33. WelCOMing o Sports must ensure that they are places where newcomers feel welcome and recommend to friends and family. Remember, we are competing with Sky, Starbucks and even B&Q
  34. 34. Computer We must embrace new technology and use whenever we can to communicate with our target audiences. Use new media to Inform and Engage
  35. 35. Know Your Club and your Community You’ll probably be amazed what skills and contacts are available to you
  36. 36. Develop a vibrant club for the WHOLE community Develop an exciting events programme: Three objectives for events: Generate money Attract new people Develop a welcoming club 4 key areas: Sport Social Community Corporate
  37. 37. Developing events Segment Social Events Sporting Events Athletes Awards Dinner ‘Fun’ Tournament VIPs Lunch/Dinner ‘Vets’ Tournament Businesses Lunches/Network Community/ meetings Corporate Games Minis/Junior Halloween/Birtday Festivals Party Parents Mother’s/Father’s ‘Try It’ Days Day ‘The community’ Festival/ Fun Run Summer Ball Tag Tournament
  38. 38. Imagine if you did just ONE of these…(or two or three) o Beer Festival (involve o Monthly network CAMRA) meetings for local o Summer Ball (Black businesspeople tie/live music) o Award Ceremony o Corporate Days (Player of the Year) o Mini/Junior Festival o Racing Night o Halloween Kids Party o Doggy Walk o Quiz Night o Stars in Your Eyes o Ladies Lunch o Schools initiative o Auction of Promises o Migrant population o Food and Wine (Polish Lunch or Festival Curried goat) o Casino Fun Night
  39. 39. All night handball…the coolest show in town (or the village) The handball club in Haarby Denmark (pop. 5000) organises twice a year an all night handball festival aimed at 16-20 year olds (both boys and girls) It starts at 8pm Friday and finishes at 8am Saturday 250 people play and they all share breakfast in the morning
  40. 40. 12,339 dogs (and their ‘owners’) participate in the Great North Dog Walk
  41. 41. Lymm RFC earn £25k from their panto (oh yes they do)
  42. 42. Become a HubClub “I almost live down here,” twelve year old ball boy at Wharfedale RUFC
  43. 43. o What events o Sporting o Social o Community o Corporate could your club organise?
  44. 44. Getting to know you… …this is NOT about instant love
  45. 45. Close the loop o There’s no point getting people through the front door if the back door is wide open: n Lack of follow up n No place for feedback n No evaluation From out-reach to in-reach
  46. 46. Getting to know you… First visit Second visit First week Prospect Put info in Phone call gives database contact info Send email/text Ongoing Every 6 weeks First month Newsletter Newcomer Follow up Birthday card support Prior/post Christmas call card
  47. 47. What do people think? o How big a percentage of your local community know your club exists? o How many know where you are? o How many have been? o What reception would they get and would they want to come back if they came to a game, class, function or just to have a look?
  48. 48. Your club’s image Rate from 1 to 10 1. Club life is vibrant _____ 2. Facilities are good _____ 3. Innovative _____ 4. Welcoming/Positive atmosphere _____ 5. Good sporting experiences _____ 6. Ambitions are well communicated _____ 7. Open _____ 8. Flexible and willing to change _____ 9. Good managers _____ 10. Good coaches/instructors _____ Total _____
  49. 49. Where’s your customer focus? 1. We are completely focused on our customers, and we are aware of their different needs and we work hard to satisfy those needs. We constantly listen to our customers and make improvements whenever we can and when we can't we explain why. 2. We are getting increasingly customer focused although the whole club may not be as customer-focused as we would like. We know how we want to improve and we are working hard to get there 3. We need to focus less on internal and political issues and more on the customer 4. We rarely talk about customers - do we really know who they are? 5. We are a sports club - why are we talking about customers?
  50. 50. Growing your centre/club by providing great experiences and creating ‘raving fans’ A great sports Advocate club spends money/time here Client Customer Prospect Suspect Traditional advertising
  51. 51. Developing a Visible Club Remember, you are now a vibrant community club with a strong customer focus!
  52. 52. Train in a roundabout! o Combined training session with other local clubs o Local charity link ups o Invitations to local celebrities / MPs / MEPs / sporting personalities o Schools visits – photocalls o Demonstration in town centre o Match against the media! o Being available and ‘out and about’ o A4 pdf poster to everybody on database for pubs, offices etc.
  53. 53. The new media habits Life of a 12-24 Life of a 25-54 o Will never read a o Read offline newspapers newspaper but attracted and magazines to some magazines o Like mobile for voice but o Will never own a land- do not see their world on line phone mobile phones o Will not watch television o Are beginning to delve on someone else's further into new media schedule much longer o Trust experts on factual o Trust unknown peers information more than experts o Care GREATLY about o Social media is crucial sources of news and information online o Email is for their parents o Heavy into email
  54. 54. Your club’s notice board?
  55. 55. The Notice Board is Dead! o Girl, aged 8, gets treatment for RSI due to her excessive texting o Friends of Ripon Cathedral, York Brewery Club o King’s Lynn Speedway – 3,000 mobile numbers 4,000 email addresses = three times the average gate
  56. 56. The ‘old’ media world is dying o Brighton Argus from 125,000 circulation in 1986 to 36,000 in 2008 o Yorkshire Post: Circulation 47,000 Sheffield: 1058 = 0.5% of households Boroughbridge: 123 = 10.3% of households o 40 m photos uploaded on Facebook every month o Stephen Fry and Shaq O’Neil each have 250,000+ followers on Twitter
  57. 57. The New Media World o Paid (posters, flyers, ads) o Owned (Website, texts) o Earned (Social media, PR)
  58. 58. Who are connected? o Number of fans on Facebook Primark 671,477 Marmite 236,803 Peter Andre 97,839 Netball 1,233 40% of Facebook users are 35+
  59. 59. YOU Power no longer with editors but with YOU New media are just channels. YOU provide the content
  60. 60. How do you communicate? Website Chat room Email Podcast FaceBook Rating sites MySpace Forum Bebo YouTube Text PR (off/online) ‘Phone RSS feeds Twitter Flyers/letters Blog Posters Word-of-mouth Ads
  61. 61. Data Capture/Database o Anybody who comes to your club MUST be asked for contact details (raffle for restaurant vouchers etc.) o Set up contact management database ACT 9 costs approx. £ 175. Managed by local IT student o Edited programme notes are emailed to database o Mobile numbers are texted from computer o Campaign: Text your mobile number and win!
  62. 62. Korfball 1m + views Underwater hockey 500,000 + views
  63. 63. The Online Clubhouse where friends, members, fans, never-beens, community, etc. can chat, learn, get involved… exactly like in normal clubhouse but… whenever and wherever they want and in much bigger numbers
  64. 64. Getting the media interested o What gets into the media? o What do they really think of your sport / your club? o What do you have to sell? o How can you challenge their perceptions?
  65. 65. Sponsorship in the 21st Century How sports clubs can attract sponsorship through their community engagement
  66. 66. Where are you going… what’s your story? “Clubs without strategic direction will find it very difficult to find sponsors” Simon Robb, Chairman Waterloo RUFC
  67. 67. Understanding your sponsors o Four different types: n Calculators and Commercials n Cynics and Short-Termers n Carers and Communals n Innocents and Indifferents Your Choice: Chameleon or love-us-as-we-are?
  68. 68. Non-Sports Partners Schools Primary Care University/ Trusts College Community Housing groups Association Your Club Police Council Local Local businesses media
  69. 69. Asset analysis o It is not only about first team o Paid up members o Associates and “friends” of the club o The Players o The parents of the youth and junior sections o Business contacts o Your wider stakeholders: § Town Councils § Neighbours § Politicians § Local and regional press § Sporting press § Local schools and colleges of HE
  70. 70. Grow your value to sponsors and community partners Strength of relationships X Number of relationships = VALUE
  71. 71. Why should anybody want to sponsor your club? What is your story?
  72. 72. People and Cultures… the NEW volunteer
  73. 73. Skilled FireBellies o We do need passionate people who are willing to drive their club forward: We call them FireBellies. However, what is crucial is that they have the right skills and attitudes. o FireBellies without the right skills and a ‘closed mind’ can do more damage than good. It is not good enough to love your club and sport
  74. 74. Sports club volunteering so far o Mates and former players (“he was a good pole vaulter and he’s retired, so he can do the accounts”) o Too much pressure on and work for too few people o Focus on who is available within the club and NOT on what skills and attributes are required o Fiefdoms, egos and no thank yous
  75. 75. Would you like to volunteer with this lot?
  76. 76. New skills = training and new people o What does your club stand for? o Would you, hand on heart, recommend it? o Volunteers are good at social and sports/coaching skills, less so at: delegating, motivation, handling conflicts, IT, marketing, building teams, communication, strategic thinking, in short: Leadership and Management
  77. 77. Would you join your own club as a volunteer? o Do we think and act strategically? o Do we set achievable targets? o Are we organized? o Do we get our priorities right? o Do we motivate volunteers, members and others to play an active role in the management of the club? o How well do we communicate with the people around us, both within and outside the club?
  78. 78. The NEW volunteer… the Community Sport Leader o Has got specific skills etc. that the club requires o Will volunteer to give something back and develop their skills. There has to be something in it for them o Requires other volunteers to be as professional as they are o Will probably volunteer for a few years o Sources: Sponsors, colleges/universities, public sector, specialists o Get younger people involved – sustainability o ‘Search for the Stars’ programme.
  79. 79. The NEW volunteer… how to manage him/her o Two hours a month o One limited project o Belonging o Fun and excitement o Speak his/her mind o Needs managing like any other group or team
  80. 80. Are you all rowing in the same direction?
  81. 81. The only person that likes change is a baby with a wet nappy o Change n Can hurt n Can bring conflicts n Is always hard work n Will take time n Is inevitable If you don’t like change, you will really hate irrelevance
  82. 82. So what you are going to change? Tomorrow Fortnight 3 months
  83. 83. Workshops for sports clubs run by the Sports Marketing Network (1) o Grow your club How to develop a vibrant, visible and viable club o Growing your club income From fundraising to income generation Identifying projects which can help grow your income Making money from your clubhouse How to run your bar better o How to make your club more visible How to raise the profile of your club Working with the media – both online and printed o Developing community sponsorship and partnership How your community sports club can attract sponsorship and community partnership and work with and retain your existing sponsors and partners
  84. 84. Workshops for sports clubs run by the Sports Marketing Network (2) o Marketing your club How to develop a marketing strategy for your club How to become a hub for the community How to create a welcoming club and grow your membership Getting to know your members o Recruiting and managing your volunteers How to recruit, recognise, retain and reward vibrant volunteers who can really help grow your club o New media and sport How sports clubs can improve their communication by using mobile, social and digital media
  85. 85. Grow Your Sports Club Manual o The comprehensive manual on how to make your sports club vibrant, visible and viable 167 pages - real examples, real action, real benefits ...advice you can use today. 15 Action Plans - 89 case studies…now you can learn from the best Here's the Manual which gives guidance, ideas and tips on how you can make your sport club vibrant, visible and viable…whatever your sport, or size of your club How to attract new members and retain the existing ones, become a hub of the community, grow sponsorship revenue, increase your gates, improve the social life of the club, increase media coverage, attract funding from public and private sources, benefit from new technology, introduce new revenue streams…this Manual tells you how + 40 minute DVD with real live stories
  86. 86. Our credentials o Sports Marketing Network is a member of the Bradford Consortium which is o Centre of Excellence for Leadership and Management o Development Centre for Community Sport Enterprise with SkillsActive’s National Skills Academy The consortium also includes Bradford College , University of Bradford Management School and Bradford Community Sport Network and others. o SMN is also a validated supplier under Business Link
  87. 87. “Man who doesn’t smile, should not be involved with sport” Chinese proverb (from Boroughbridge)
  88. 88. Do get in touch… Svend Elkjaer Sports Marketing Network 5 Station Terrace Boroughbridge YO51 9BU Tel: 01423 326 660 Email: