Tapping into the marketing mindset.
Since you’re here on my website reading about me, I might assume you are either looking at me for a role in your company, or you’re wanting to gain some insights from me on marketing or project management. The loaded title should not only tell you I plan on answering that question, but that I plan to flip it around in a post about marketing. With the cheap heat out of the way, why am I important to you?
The answer to the title is a story about roller derby. I have been announcing games for a local league since 2011, and my approach to marketing is the same one I have toward derby. When I first started, it was all about having fun. I wanted to parlay my time in community theater into another outlet, and finding out that this league needed a second announcer had me jumping for joy.
The lead announcer at the time had started with the league the previous year, and he was “the voice for the league.” I expected my role to be pretty simple. Learn the rules, learn the skaters’ names and act as a hype man for the games.
I was wrong. If you’ve never experienced derby, it can be fast paced and a lot to take in. There are several things to focus on in order to really enjoy the game, and that’s where announcers come in. During the game, we set up the skaters on the track, follow and call the action and tell the crowd what important events are occurring (penalties, big blocks, results of strategy, etc.) We recap the action and call out points. We keep track of the time and the score, and we use it all to engage the audience.
We also play a role in hyping up the crowd before the game, talking up the teams and the games, delivering advertiser and charity partnership messages throughout the game and promoting future games. In short, marketing.
As I gained experience, my outlook on derby changed. It was still fun, but I began to treat it as a serious job. I realized quickly that beyond the crazy skater names and the theme nights, all of these skaters are athletes. I sold their ability and prowess on the track, praised the coaches for executing strategies, and communicated each moment’s importance to the fans. For the fans, I provided the game play-by-play, the scores, and encouraged them to have fun and engage as part of the game. Even in games with runaway scores, I learned to focus on the moment and encourage fan excitement for what was happening on the track during each jam (point-scoring opportunity), because the fans want to cheer their teams and enjoy a fun sports experience.
Over the years, my co-announcer moved away, and I became the lead announcer. And every time I step on the track, I can feel the excitement build as I prepare myself for the evening. I do this job for the league, the skaters and the audience. And that is how I approach marketing and project management.
Do the legwork. Know what you’re selling and to whom. Develop the right message and use your tools to get it out there. And trust in everyone around you to bring their own passion and skills to the table. And put the needs and desires of your customers at the forefront.