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Tipping A Program: Stickiness Factor

We're now in part 3 of a 4 part series on Tipping a program. We've already introduced Tipping A Program, and talked about The Law of Few and now we've moved onto the Stickiness Factor, perhaps the most difficult to define aspect of Tipping a Program.

Without a doubt, I am one of the least creative individuals that I know. Original ideas with me are few and far between so this is where I really need the help of the readers of DTN to figure out how this would work. First and foremost, I think it should be acknowledged that I've never sat in a living room listening to a recruiter talk about why his school is better than someone else's school nor have I ever sat in on the ad campaign for a football season or basketball season. My question is if there is a better way to get out your message?

And although I've never been in a living room with a recruiter, and I've never taken a marketing class, I think that a big part of this is to consider who is the audience. My way of thinking tells me that we've got two potential audiences here. The first being recruits and the second being the ticket buying public. Let's tackle the recruits first.

I would imagine that recruits hear the same message from each and every recruiter that comes through the door. That every letter that they receive is like any other letter that they receive. There's probably no distinguishing factor from one school to the next. They're all just words on a piece of paper and if anything, these letters are at the very least to let a potential player know that a particular school is interested in bringing that player to their school.

We learned in The Law of Few that there are certain factors that play a greater role in a player's decision of what school they will commit to and those they won't. Thus, if all of the messages are the same and there's been a study as to what's important to athlete's then I have to wonder if schools are changing their messages to make their message different from a rival school.

The bottom line, is Texas Tech's message memorable, or more appropriately, is it "sticky"?

Before we get too much further, I don't think this is about spending more money, or increasing any sort of advertising or recruiting budget. I don't think that's what Tipping a Program is about. Rather, this is more about making fundamental changes that hopefully and eventually turn the tide.

So I would imagine that the point here is not to do what every other school does, but to do it differently. If the difference in landing a recruit is presenting the message in a way that is entirely unique AND tailored to what what is important to these recruits then this is where you start. The problem with the current method is that if a school does the same thing, again and again, without improved results, then perhaps you have to take a look at the method. Or perhaps if the results don't come about as quickly as you want, then you might have to take a look at the method. It's tipping the program for a sustained period of time that's the key, not treading water or slowly making progress to an eventual goal.

Isn't this the epitome of marketing? Looking at data, determining how people make decisions (external influences), and creating a working model that might help you determine how to better reach that recruit with relatively less effort, yet still achieve a high level of success.

So now you're saying, that's really great, but who in the hell is Texas Tech or any other university going to employ to do all of this marketing research? Well. . . how about the university itself. The nice thing about a college is that within any university you're going to have everything you need to get this done. Almost any university has the resources at its fingertips to figure out what is important to a recruit, what sticks with a recruit, and what eventually what is that one thing that determines where a recruit goes to school. Research, statistics, and marketing are all there to be taken advantage of at any school. So I have to wonder how much self-study goes on with recruits once they are on campus? Have coaches ever considered utilizing the university to figure make this all happen? Does any school tap the minds of their own recruits to learn what they could have done better in the recruiting process?

As far as getting a class or department involved, you may ask what's in it for them? How about getting to use an ad campaign that the university utilizes on your resume as motivation. Or being a part of the production, writing, marketing, etc.? Those students involved get the credit for the work they've done and they get the satisfaction of doing something to create some interest in their school.

Next up is the ticket-buying public. I cannot recall any ticket-buying campaign from Texas Tech that is memorable or one that "stuck" with me over time. A perfect example of a sticky advertising campaign, at least in my opinion, is the NBA's "Where Amazing Happens" advertising campaign. The campaign itself is simple and effective. It's memorable. It's sticky. In fact, it's so sticky that someone put together a similar video related to Texas Tech that DTN posted some time ago.

I know it's a little unrealistic to ask that any university come up with something as sticky as the NBA, but let's take the current Texas Tech ticket buying campaign. Here we have the current 30 second commercial, "Big Plays, Big Games, Big Time". It's a fine commercial and I've got no problems with it, but here's my question. Is this memorable? Is this commercial any more memorable than a previous commercial for Texas Tech football?

As an aside, why didn't Texas Tech upload this video? Did you know that Texas Tech has it's own YouTube video channel? Why wouldn't a school promote itself, especially for something that's free, like YouTube, as much as possible. Why aren't there more highlights of every sport on Texas Tech's channel?

But back to the idea of making a particular message memorable or sticky, I tend to think that almost every football program's advertising campaign is fairly static and there's probably plenty of room for improvement. It's a picture or clip of the team or a player, looking tough or making a spectacular play with a catchy slogan. Is there a different way to get out the message and make it memorable or are we stuck with the same type of message year after year?

When I first wrote this, almost a month ago, I wondered if Texas Tech would utilize the most recent success of Wes Welker and Michael Crabtree, and sure enough, I received a letter from Wes Welker asking me to contribute to the Red Raider Club. Before that, I received a phone call from Michael Crabtree, I think asking me to buy season tickets. I think the school is on the right track here. This is a move in the right direction, capitalizing on the success of current and past athletes, something that hasn't necessarily happened at the same time before.

If anything, this should really highlight how special a time it is at Texas Tech. Perhaps unprecedented. And this is what will lead us to the Law of Context, the next segment.

Again, I don't think it's necessary to spend more money or increase your advertising budget. It's about spending the money uniquely. Spend the money so that the message is memorable among those who buy tickets an those who we want to come to Texas Tech.

A Series In Tipping A Program: