3 Key Ideas From My Chat with Doug Mann from the Victoria Racing Club

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A couple of days ago I had a chance to chat with my friend, Doug Mann, for my podcast, “The Business of Fun”.

We set out on a conversation that ended up in a much different place than I imagined when we first started talking about doing an episode.

A better place because Doug shared a whole bunch of ideas that everyone in business, not just sports or entertainment, should be paying attention to.

I want to share 3 of my favorites:

  1. World-class needs to be the ambition.
  2. Complete buy-in is what is necessary to achieve real change and innovation.
  3. Customer-first is the best marketing strategy.

Let me go a little deeper here.

World-class should be your ambition:

Sports business is guilty of talking about “best in class” and “industry standard”.

The challenge today is that sports business and entertainment isn’t competing in a world where sports is the only option. And, even if you and me think sports or games are the best option, it doesn’t matter what we think because we aren’t our market.

Due to this, we all need to recognize that we are competing in a world where we are competing against the best experiences in our city and the best content from any time in history on our phones and streaming devices.

There is a commercial that I see when I walk past the TV from time to time that says, “good enough isn’t good enough” or “just okay isn’t okay”.

That’s the truth.

We need to start acting like that too.

You need complete buy-in to achieve real innovation and change: 

Everyone pays lipservice to change and innovation and being willing to make tough decisions.

It is often bull.

I can’t tell you how many meetings I sit in where the idea of needing to change comes up, the course of action is laid out, and nothing happens.

Doug points out how his team and leadership create the security and the focus in the organization needed to create change, sustain change, and to recognize that not every new idea is going to work and that’s okay.

From a project management standpoint and an innovation standpoint, this episode and the examples given is a ringing endorsement for how to manage change and innovation in an organization.

Plus, why you have to!

Customer focused and customer-first are the best forms of marketing: 

Throughout the episode, Doug talks about the ways that the Flemington Racetrack works to improve the customer experience, add value to coming out to a race, and create a customer-first environment.

The thing that sticks with me is the idea that people would be members of the club for 50 or more years.

In my workshop in Melbourne, I’m going to talk about Lifetime Fan Value and at the heart of it is just this idea of putting the guest at the heart of everything you do and recognizing that a relationship with these folks isn’t about one season or one year, the intent from the first contact has to be on making sure that they are a “Fan For Life” and that every step of the way you recognize that, reward it, and create every incentive possible to keep people coming back for more.

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