MISREADING THE MARKET - WHERE IS THE STRATEGY?
Organisations can tend to do this, and it appears that they don’t see the damage that it is causing to their business.
The truth is that companies rarely succeed by adapting to market events. Rather, successful firms prevail by shaping the future. That can’t be done through agility alone, but takes preparation to achieve. The truth is that once you find yourself in a position where you need to adapt, it’s usually too late.
I want to tell a story of what I did over the holidays. Surprise surprise, I watched a bit of cricket. I’m telling you this because events are something that we can all relate to. We have all been to well-run events and to others that appeared to be a shambles.
I wouldn’t say that the Canterbury Kings matches were a shambles, but boy did they misread the market.
I went to four home games over the holiday period and I carefully observed the clientele – families. In fact, it was so obvious that when an announcer stated that they were giving away free cards and other products, half the crowd dispersed – they were all children. The other half seemed to be their parents, with a few other adults being childless in their early twenties.
That part Canterbury Cricket got right. But when it came to looking after the entertainment of their clientele they got it severely wrong.
Ling and Zing were two contestants on TV3s ‘The Block NZ’ in 2017. I don’t want to slam them – they promoted themselves well on the show and that led to public support and offers after the show had finished. Good on them.
But for Canterbury Cricket to think that they were the right people to have as the face of their product and their announcers is baffling to me. They spoke in clichés, they referred to each player on the field by a made up nickname, and they interviewed the few people in crowd who were single and in their early twenties.
Those interviews with the young males were about how much they were drinking, and how they got their rotund body shape. Basically, they were trying to be lads and that is not what the event required.
I looked at the people around me who shook their heads at what they were hearing. At times it was embarrassing.
During one match another announcer came on and said who was playing for each team. One problem, he named all the players in the Central Stags team and the Kings were playing the Wellington Firebirds.
It’s a cliché, but first impressions count. We have one opportunity to make a good first impression and sell our products. For Canterbury Cricket, that product is the cricket itself and the entertainment package that goes with it.
The Big Bash League in Australia is a roaring success. In its seventh edition now, tournament organisers and the marketing team of each franchise do a fantastic job in promoting their product to the correct clientele.
Just because their marketing tactics work with that competition, doesn’t mean that it should automatically transfer to be a success on the other side of the Tasman. New Zealand and Australia are very much different cultures.
Agility is a very positive thing. Apple didn’t create the first digital music player, the first smartphone, or the first tablet computer, yet it came to dominate each category. Amazon wasn’t the first to sell books on the Internet, either. These companies succeeded not because they were faster, but because they developed products that were demonstrably better than their competitors.
And the sports industry is incredibly competitive. The New Zealand public only have a certain amount of disposable income to spend on going to these events. And if they receive a sub-standard experience then they will save that money and spend it on another event – a Blackcaps match for instance, or wait a month or so and go to a Crusaders game.
But truly great companies don’t scramble to adapt to the future, because they create the future. Take a look at any great business and it becomes clear that what made it great wasn’t the ability to pivot, but a dedication to creating, delivering, and capturing new value in the marketplace.
The target market should form a huge part of a companies strategic plan. Canterbury Cricket does have a plan, I’ve seen it, but it is glaringly obvious that what is missing is who they are targeting their product at.
Have a think about events you have been to? Did they hit the right notes? Now have a think about your business? Are you targeting the right people? Are you providing a product that people want? And are you missing out on revenue because you haven’t quite got it right?
Seth Godin is an expert in this field and this quote from him sums this topic up. “Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers”.
Receiving feedback is vital for the future the success of any organisation. There was no avenue to provide it with Canterbury Cricket. If they were to ask their clientele for feedback, then I guarantee they will look to change how they do things come 2018/19.
When was the last time a customer came to you raving about the experience you had provided them with?
Strategically looking at who your customers are and what they want is paramount for the year ahead.
And developing the thriving organisation that will result from that strategic thinking is just a click away.
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