Attention is the most valuable thing customers can give you. Even more than money. This is what I heard while listening to a podcast recently and something I thought we in sports ought to be thankful for. Our fans love us. Some hate us. The challenge, however is to not to be so mundane and normal that eventually so many fans end up not having an opinion at all that we don’t matter.
Consider how many social networks you personally belong to and how busy your life may seem, even if only in terms of the things trying to draw you attention. Work, family, friends, social media, professional development, late nights, early mornings. Whoo! It can be exhausting, I know.
Now stop thinking about yourself and consider how busy your fans might be and the attention they pay you…very well the first step of the “sales escalator.” First they have to notice you, then come all the other things like spending money and eventually becoming fans, although with sports you’ve never really had to spend a whole lot of money to be considered so.
Do you know who you fans are? Who your customers are? Why they buy tickets? Why they donate? Why they buy the merch items that they do? What items sell the best at your concession stands? What kinds of other things do they do when they are not being fans? Much of that will depend on the market you are in, but there will be some crossover, sure.
Start with the why. Then the who. Then the what.
– Why do you do what you do? Answer this one personally as well as an organization. How does what you do as an individual fit in with what the organization is trying to accomplish?
– Who are your fans? Yes, demographics are important, but even more so now as we find ourselves being segmented online into tribes, psychographics are just as, if not MORE important. You can’t serve them if you don’t know who they are and at least something about what they believe.
– What are you going to do about? If you’re reading this, surely you’ve already got something going – great! Now step back and think about these other things with a constant eye toward evaluation and improvement.
Take every opportunity to gather insight into who your fans are – I think everyone ought to work customer service during at least some point in their careers, because that is really where the rubber meets the road. What better way to get to know your fans than to talk to them directly. As open as you are with your friends, so are most people you’ll find when you get them face to face at a game. Whether it’s a bad situation or someone with a genuine compliment, those are opportunities to not only make their day and create a memory for them, but to learn and gain insight for yourself.
Your fans are giving you the one thing they can never take back or get more of….attention. Once time has passed, there’s no getting that back. Money and personal cash flow has the potential to rise and fall, but the most precious thing we have is our time and attention. Remember that too when thinking about your friends and family – they deserve your attention as much as your fans deserve your teams’.