Community Job Opportunity: Redefining Customer Engagement In Sports Participation
By Adrian Christy | October 2, 2019
Badminton England has a clear and bold vision for a new way that participation and the ‘selling of badminton’ to key audiences could be delivered in the future. It is an approach that will challenge traditional sector thinking in the area of sports development in particular.
The premise is to radically shift thinking in badminton and across the sector about how best to reach and engage with key target audiences based on the hypothesis that every purchase decision involves a value exchange transaction. Badminton England believe that decisions made by people to participate in sport are no different.
A new Director level role will be recruited to create an overarching responsibility for selling badminton across participation, competition and events, marketing and digital needs. The new hire will establish a new approach to recruiting and retaining participants, fans, advocates and partners, based on changing consumer behaviour through a marketing and sales-led approach. This would then provide the cornerstone of our approach to shaping our strategy for participation growth in the next 2021-25 funding cycle onwards.
The approach is not only exciting to Badminton England but also to Sport England who have committed to supporting the new model.
Adrian Christy, Chief Executive says, “Like any business, I believe it’s essential that we constantly look to innovate while moving increasingly towards a position of greater self-sustainability and we have made great progress in recent years.
“Our commercial programme, built around a digital eco-system of personalised, segmented, relevant communication has seen us achieve unprecedented reach and engagement in the areas of our contactable digital audience (+13%) and social media following (+27.5%) that has driven growth across the key commercial pillars – Yonex All England major event ticket sales (+27%), membership (+19%), the National Badminton Centre (+1038%) and sponsorship (+18%). Overall, income derived from Badminton England’s own activities increased by 8.4% to the year 31 March 2019.
“This growth is a consequence of us recognising the continued shift in the way consumers expect to be communicated to, and the level of service that they expect – it now forces us to think differently about how we reach and engage participants to ensure that badminton remains relevant and a natural choice for people in the future.
“My hypothesis is that consumer marketing and communications regardless of sector are built around the same premise; that every consumer choice is the result of a clear value exchange between buyer and seller – a choice driven by an emotional as well as practical set of considerations.
“I believe that the choices made by fans, partners and participants, when considering sports and leisure transactions, are based on the same factors. More than that, it is my belief that the current conventions and wisdoms of the sports development sector are outdated and that a more consumer-focussed, and value-led approach to presenting, activating and selling sport in the future is required in line with the way people consume almost every other aspects of their lives.
“The implications for sports delivery in the future are wide-reaching. Instead of following traditional routes to engaging fans or driving participation, my view is that if badminton can take a more retail focussed approach to delivery then we will be better positioned to grow with stability and strength in the future.
“That focus would concentrate around heavily investing in technology to not only drive the data, insight and understanding of our consumer segments but also to create more useful information that will help us and our partners to make more informed business decisions. Through developing a clear data and contact strategy it could see us change the way we do business to better connect and serve our customers in the long term.
“This would result in us looking at all channels to market by audience and force us to consider the most appropriate ‘supply chains’ through which experiences should be delivered in the simplest, easiest and most accessible way possible.
“It could also see us refine the way that we promote and talk about badminton. Through a clear understanding of need, a clear strategy of how best to serve up content and experiences and a clear understanding of where best to communicate them. We will be better able to align all of our resources more effectively across delivery, communications and time.
“This ultimately could mean that traditional sports development roles within badminton may look considerably different in the future with new consumer category expertise complementing the expertise in the areas of products and programmes. Those areas don’t lose relevance or importance but instead of being a destination in their own right for focus and spend they become channels to market and enablers to deliver the best and most relevant customer experiences possible for our audiences.
“With a modest investment to date into our digital capability, we have achieved encouraging commercial growth. Despite good growth across our core market this year (+12% to 432,000 participants), I believe that adopting a similar consumer-focussed approach, we can achieve significant transformation in participant growth.
Anyone interested in being part of this exciting, and transformational, journey should apply through https://opportunities.sriexecutive.com/job/chief-operating-officer-badminton-england-a008002-almp-284133/