It is estimated that over 24 million people participate in fantasy football leagues every year (Washington Times) in the United States. I play in three leagues along with a healthy participation in fantasy baseball and golf. One could say that my fantasy life eats up a good portion of my real life. The key to a successful fantasy sports season is solid preparation, similar to creating a marketing plan for your business. Nice segue huh? Here’s how I would compare the two.
You can’t have a good fantasy football team without a solid running back, and you can’t have a marketing plan without a product. Your goods or services are vital to what message you want to convey to the general public, so if you don’t know what your product is, you’ve got some really big problems. Your product is what gets you the yardage and scores you a majority of your touchdowns. Without a good running back/product your team has no chance. Do you have the Adrian Peterson of products or are you more along the lines of a Clinton Portis who is functional, but not the latest and greatest?
Your quarterback dictates the action on the field, and much of what dictates your place in the market is your price. If your price is too high, no amount of marketing will make you successful. If you’re priced too low, you can’t make enough money to pay for the marketing budget. It’s easy to blame the QB for throwing an interception, much like it’s easy to blame lost sales or poor revenue on marketing, but quite often that is an issue of price. Peyton Manning is a high-priced commodity that people will pay dearly for and his results back up the price, there are very few of those kinds or players or products around though.
The flashiest and most charismatic individuals on the football field are often the wide receivers (i.e. Ochocinco and T.O.) so it’s natural that they tie in to the promotion of your product. How will the masses know about what you have to offer? Ochocinco would tweet about it, and maybe you do too. Social media, traditional advertising, door-to-door, word-of-mouth or wearing a sandwich board in the middle of the mall will all get out a message, but we want to focus that message on your core audience.
This feeds us right in to our flex position which I like to call the 80:20 rule. No, not 80 percent of the work is completed by 20 percent of the workers. We’re talking that 20 percent of the total market (in some cases much less) will be responsible for 80 percent of your business (in some cases much more), so a focused promotional effort is paramount in a marketing plan.
Since this is a tight end mandatory league, we will use that position as an opportunity to talk about placement. Where can we find your product? In stores? On the Web? In the back of your pick-up truck? A well placed product, much like a top flight tight end, can bring a team or company from ordinary to extraordinary very quickly. I think of how many titles Antonio Gates has won for fantasy owners over the years from an often overlooked position. Placement should never be an afterthought in your organization’s marketing plan.
Most fantasy leagues have their owners draft a team defense, and most companies need a process of obtaining their products or services. This is slightly different than the placement of your product in that this is how we would actually purchase and utilize what you are offering. The process of acquiring your product, whether it’s a physical package or duties that your organization will perform, is important in your marketing plan because you need to steer the consumer to that end result. Don’t forget to include that in your plan.
Football teams often treat their kickers as not actual football players and expendable components that are only noticed when things go amiss. Unfortunately this is sometimes how the people on the ground level of an organization are treated. Your marketing plan is alive on the streets every day and if you don’t have the buy-in of your people, it’s not going to work. How does your company stand behind your product? Who can we contact when things go awry? Much like the lowly-kicker, your people can be the reason your sales sail through the uprights or bonk off the crossbar and land at your feet. Rob Bironas once kicked eight field goals in a game. Do you think that mattered to a fantasy team somewhere? It mattered to me! He did it against my team! Make sure your people have input and are onboard with your mission.
To sum it all up, here is your marketing plan lineup:
RB-Product– What goods or services do you have that I need?
QB-Price– How much do we need to pay to obtain your product?
WR-Promotion– How will you let me know about your product?
FLEX- 80:20 Rule– 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of the population.
TE-Placement– Where and how can I find your product?
DEF-Process– How do I obtain and purchase your product?
K-People– How does your company stand behind your product?
Get these down and you’ll have yourself a nice little fantasy marketing season. Heck you may even make the playoffs.