Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value. A. Einstein
(Picked up this article from the Mailmangroup where CEO Andrew Collins talks about international sports who are successfully breaking into China market and the game plan for doing so)
Someone had it right very early – the digital age is now living proof of how a value led strategy can lead to greater relationships with customers, long term engagement and can literally win substantial market share. What I’m really saying is this: If you have a great product, you can merely lead with value (specific to that audience), listen and open the doors to your brand.
The Chinese market is certainly in awe to the US sporting codes, which provide a clear opportunity for dedicated communication channels capturing this market. The NBA now reaps well over a billion dollars in revenue through talking directly with the Chinese market. Now it’s not because of wide participation, or the potential to play in the majors… Or is it? Does Yao Ming provide that much stimulus? It certainly plays a role but it’s simpler than that. NBA speaks Chinese and they lead with value.
What’s more alluring today than the booming Chinese market? Not just in the home land but also those whom have migrated to developed countries such as Australia, Canada, USA and others. Chinese citizens are now an influential market and it’s growing bigger every year. With this movement brings greater migration, more linkage to China and greater cross cultural dependencies. For a Chinese born American, adapting to a culturally significant ‘local’ sport such as the NFL or MLB can break down barriers of difference, open up more dialogue and obviously create greater friendships. It’s simply a win for all parties. I haven’t even touched on the economic benefits of capturing a ‘small’ market like Chinese globally.
The AFL (Australian Football League) have now taken significant inroads in establishing itself as a ‘sport for all’ with a soon to be released Chinese dedicated AFL website. The focus is not simply to ‘sell’ the game to Chinese but to have them involved in conversations around the game and learn about each other. The AFL can pat themselves on the back for taking this direction and it will certainly be reflected in the balance sheet if at the completion of a 3-5 year dialogue that 5000+ Chinese are frequenting the ‘footy’ over a weekend – gate takings will show a strong ROI; not to mention merchandise, participation and more.
Taking a direction like this is not an easy decision. But the web certainly makes the opportunity more accessible and achievable. Content plays a significant role, which one can argue can take a consumer from a position of complete unfamiliarity with a product (or in this case a sport) to a point of ‘I want to participate’ or ‘I want to frequent a game’. The greatest challenge is getting their attention to a point of openness or what I like to call ‘OPEN FOR SALE’. To keep it simple I offer these three points of note to undertake when tackling a community of any back ground:
1. Talk in their language
2. Lead with valued content
3. Listen and adapt
It seems simple enough but most marketing challenges are expected to fetch short term results; typical of any corporate however this tact doesn’t stick well with a ‘value led’ strategy as mentioned.
Content can lead to a sale. It can lead a large pool of customers to love your brand; but you must have a long term view, like any positive relationship.
Proper courtship can take it’s time, well anything worth winning certainly does; it also requires a lot of give and take which most certainly pays off with potentially a life long partner – or in this case lots of life long partners.