Everyone who has ever worked in sports knows the feeling. In every league, you reach the halfway point of a season where it seems like you have to dig a little deeper to make great things happen. Baseball offers the best description of that grind, where the expression “dog days of summer” succinctly explains the daily difficulty in maintaining a high level of performance amidst a marathon-like season.
For teams and players, the All Star Game in July is a symbolic break in the monotony. It’s a chance to take stock of stats and standings; it’s a moment to regroup before it’s too late. A few weeks later, the trade deadline offers teams a literal injection of fresh blood for the stretch run. For those in the business office though, the midseason pick me-up isn’t going to come from a new starting pitcher or a left handed bat off the bench. Sports marketers, like players on the field, need to consistently produce results and provide compelling reasons for fan support no matter how exhausting the season may be.
During those dog days, finding motivation to come up with fresh ideas can be tough. Naturally, it’s harder to get amped for a Tuesday game in July than it is for Opening Day. The ability to discover the motivation to continually try and improve marketing efforts can be what separates a good operation from great ones. Managers need to lead by example and find ways to energize their crew and keep morale high, while every staffer must take personal responsibility for finishing the season as strong as they started it.
Here are some quick midseason motivators to help encourage staff energy and spur efforts to continue producing at a high level.
Take a Staff Trip to Another Stadium
After a long homestand, hanging out with coworkers may be the last thing on your mind. However, taking a staff trip to a rival ballpark or stadium can provide a fun, camaraderie building experience. Even if it’s just a handful of people, this will give you a chance to let loose while also gaining more appreciation for the hard work put into running a sports team. Take notes on things the other team does well and borrow some ideas. It’s equally important to remind each other of the things you might do better than your rival. You’ll never know what you do well or where you can improve unless you have an actual basis for comparison. Most folks working in sports are incredibly competitive and a visit to another ballpark can easily spark a desire to one-up the team down the highway.
Utilize Social Networks to Help Generate Ideas
Even the most creative minds in the business hit mental roadblocks. Sometimes the ideas just don’t flow, no matter how many brainstorming sessions you have. During those times, the best answers usually come from the people you are trying to persuade- the fans. The most effective and personal way of conversing with your fans on a wide scale is through the use of social media, which makes it easy for them to suggest things they’d like to see happen. Whether it is asking their opinion on ways to improve partially-formed new promotions or taking polls on the most popular mascot skit or soliciting feedback on concession items, social media gives you the ability to immediately refocus efforts where they matter most. Also, hosting live social media events (tweetups, social media seating sections) at games is a great way to bring the most active members of the online community in direct contact with your team. It bumps up the pressure to be on point when you know you’ll have people critiquing every aspect of your operation for online consumption. The jolt of excitement these types of events bring can be a welcome change during midseason doldrums.