The most basic principle of launching a new product or service and the greatest success stories come when an entrepreneur recognizes a void in the marketplace and serves that need and those customers.
Learning a Lesson From ESPN
Does anybody recall the early days of ESPN, the Sports cable giant. There wasn’t much to shout about in terms of major sports programming – Australian Rules Football and a plethora of rarely televised events. The staple of the network that fueled its growth from the early days was its own sports news program – Sportscenter.
Why was Sportcenter so successful that it was able to build the foundation for a multi-billion dollar sports icon. Well think about what has been happening to the sports segment of your local news programming.
In most markets, the sports highlights and recap segment of the news has dwindled, as have the resources allocated to employ journalists, producers, etc. According to a 2006 study by the Penn State Center for Sports Journalism in a survey of the top 50 markets, the average local sports segment is 3 minutes.
The logic is that weather and news affect everyone, but sports only appeals to sports fans. Yet that doesn’t mean there aren’t legions of sports fans longing for a more extensive sports news program with highlights and analysis presented by enthusiastic and entertaining broadcasters, and that’s what ESPN’s Sportscenter provided.
- If you’re at a private school, any differentiator is a selling feature that can help attract students. At your open houses, your potential students and their families might not consider arts education a priority. Articulate that you’re still committed to excellence in the arts – but more importantly – tell them why it’s important!
- Create marketing materials with similar themes.
- If you’re not competing for enrollment, your administrator still wants recognition for your school. Summarize your accomplishments and create relationships with local media.
- Track down your former students and ask them to articulate what being a part of your arts or music education has meant to them personally and professionally as they’ve moved throughout their careers. Nothing is more effective in sales than the testimonial of a happy customer.
- Ask those same former students to come back and perform or speak to your students and parents. Seeing these successful professionals with provide a clear demonstration that your program impacts lives.
It’s a cliche, but in every challenge there is opportunity. And if you’re a great arts or music educator (and I know you are!), let ‘em know it!
You may not know the name Sam Spence, but I’d bet you know his music. Spence has written over 700 songs for NFL Films, and if you’ve ever seen highlight reels of NFL football games from 1966-2001, you’ve heard his music.
When I was a boy, there was a weekly syndicated show called NFL Game of the Week. NFL Films would pick the best game of the previous week of football (hence the name), and compile a 30 minute compilation narrated by the legendary voice of the early days of NFL Films, John Facenda. If you watch Chris Berman on ESPN, he often channels the voice of Facenda as a tribute when he begins his own recap of the week’s games.
The synergy of that music combined with the film and narration took the sport to another level. It was iconic. This was more than a sport. It was gridiron theater, and the music still sends chills down my spine. In this video clip, Spence talks about his music and conducts a group of students: