We’re less than a week away from the Ministry of Sports Marketing conference, we thought we’d interview another speaker for the event. Here, Justin Pierce, director of MBA programs at Torrens University Australia, discusses how sporting administrators and their athletes can bring their skill sets into 2017.
What can we expect from your presentation at the upcoming Ministry of Sports Marketing conference?
In short, practical, down-to-earth advice. I am an academic, yes, but one who focuses on learning rather than on esoteric nonsense. I want to remove the veil on digital marketing by exposing it for what it really is – merely an additional channel to connect with people.
What skills do sporting administrators and their athletes require in this day and age? What are they currently lacking?
One thing we often do is put up cliques around our profession and over time it has meant that people who want to change industries have a hard time convincing a recruiter that they have transferrable skills and will be able to transition quickly. There certainly contextual differences between industries, but there are more commonalities. These are soft skills: working with others, making decisions, strategic and systems thinking, and the increasing need for entrepreneurial zeal. Sporting people already have great skills in community engagement, and developing these will be key to future success.
How do they go about acquiring these skills?
A qualification is, of course, a good way to start. But there are ways to develop skills such as critical thinking. We don’t need universities for content because people can spend a weekend on YouTube and practically learn the basics of whatever they need. Universities are needed to collate the information to provide credentialing, challenge ideas and to be the custodians of knowledge generation. Other ideas include getting yourself a coach – not the traditional skills-based coach, but somebody who will challenge you to develop as a professional and as a person.
How good or bad are Aussie sporting teams in helping their marketers and players develop the skill set they need to succeed and help promote their respective sponsors? What can they be doing better?
If we’re talking about the mainstream, then I would say very good. At the grassroots level, there is still a way to go, mainly because these people do it out-of-hours and with limited skills. The professional collateral is generally visually rich but simple, employing a graphic artist and simple things like staying within a given colour palette. Branding is important, and the professionals know this. Getting better at it means (again) looking at other industries, and this is because promoting is an activity that transcends industries. We have a product and it needs to capture the attention of our consumers.
What does the sports marketer for the future look like?
Probably not a lot different to how they look now – they’ll just have different skills. But they might have a background in marketing credit cards (it’s pretty tough marketing a credit card) and think it’s Christmas getting a chance to market a sporting code or club!
If you want to learn more from Justin Pierce on how sporting administrators and their athletes can bring their skill sets into 2017, click here to secure your ticket to the Ministry of Sports Marketing conference on Tuesday 18 July in Sydney.