Marketing Network provide key tips on how to engage
players and members
than ever before people in sport and leisure are being asked to do more
with less. It isn’t easy. Many organisations are tackling this challenge
with cost-cutting initiatives without really making any changes to the
way they operate. What’s the net gain? Not much in the way of unique
added value for your customers.
There is an increasing focus on the role that physical activity can play
in contributing to an improvement in the nation’s health. Even
relatively small increases in physical activity are associated with some
protection against chronic diseases and an improved quality of life.
These benefits can deliver cost savings for health and social care
services. However, the benefits of physical activity extend further to
improved productivity in the workplace, reduced congestion and pollution
through active travel, the healthy development of children and young
people and more active and happy lives for later life.
So, we are seeing an increasing number of organisations and community
groups and trusts that are developing and delivering great initiatives
helping people to become more active.
Often these initiatives are flexible, do not necessarily require
commitment day in, day out, are accessible for everyone regardless of
levels of fitness and skills and appeal to different groups and people
of different ages regardless whether they are looking for fun and/or
recreation. The good providers also include the wider community when
developing and delivering their activity programmes.
The trick is to spot practical opportunities everywhere inside and
outside your organisation and explore them.
are 16 notes, ideas and suggestions.
Many, many years ago, the British Admiralty turned down the
invention of the wireless telegraphy because the noble Sea Lords were
quite content with their system of using men on hilltops to signal to
each other using semaphore flags.
Many people and organisations working on the
coal-face in community sport and physical activity have been very
successful in spotting and exploiting opportunities whereas others,
often from within top-heavy, centralised organisations have found it
very difficult to be innovative.
You need to combine the method and motivation. Method without
motivation ends up on shelf and motivation without method is
You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same
hole deeper. “We have always done it this way” approach will not help
you develop compelling propositions.
Ideas without information are pretty worthless. Information
without ideas can still be useful. The best of all is abundant
information, supplemented by ideas. The mistake which so many people
make is to assume that collecting more information will do away with the
need for ideas.
Often people are trained to solve problems as they arise. The
notion of throwing up ideas for no good reason is alien to many and
those ideas are rarely used as few organisations know ‘how to handle new
ideas.’ This is why the notion of the Opportunity Search is such a
great one as it provides a framework that excites and focuses the
creativity of the executives.
Many people are too busy solving the everyday short-term problems
that they ignore the important medium and long-term opportunities and
therefore they rarely get ahead.
Problem-solving without opportunity-seeking leads to stagnation
If you only come up with solutions when the problem is ‘blocking
the road’ you will always be panicking and fire-fighting.
If the penalty for coming up with an idea that didn’t work is
bigger than the reward for coming up with a great idea – then no one
will be putting forward any ideas.
Badly run organisations tend to assume that all their troubles
are external (the economy, the government, regulations, etc) and that
there is nothing wrong with their thinking. Successful ones feel they
are successful because of the competence of their thinking, culture and
skills and they regard external problems as difficulties to overcome.
Complacent organisations do not learn nor study. Why bother
yourself with that new stuff if you already know everything?
Complacency is not usually the characteristic of someone who is
genuinely interested in a subject.
Too many people find uncertainty uncomfortable and take the
“Don’t waste time dabbling in what might be but get on with what is”.
Since opportunity search involves uncertainty at least at two stages –
the uncertainty of even finding an area of opportunity and the
uncertainty that it will prove invaluable – such minds are reluctant to
get involved in an opportunity search.
A steady flow of creative ideas, implemented well is the
lifeblood of any sport and physical activity provider and the
inspiration that motivates users, members, volunteers, sponsors and
engages the community.
At the core of every successful sport provider is a creative
process producing great ideas, well executed. A willingness to
experiment, fail fast, learn fast, fail often and then moving forward.
Sports providers which demonstrate
sporting vibrancy and innovation are sustainable because they
continually re-imagine their programmes and refresh their thinking and
their relationships with the world around them. They open new doors
before the old ones slam shut.