Sports & Business. Not that stupid after all?

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

Tactics Board from sports apllied to the world of business

A category of this blog bears the label “sports”. The articles within this section always link sports with business.
The posts aim to simplify more complicated business stuff by giving examples from the world of sports. In addition it strives to learn lessons from sports and apply them in a business kind of sphere.

Up until now, the sports category has 6 posts. The reason for that is that I always wondered whether this specific endeavour made any sense at all. Or as my last post finished :

Can businesses learn something from sport? Or is sport just sport?

I believe we can transfer insights from one societal aspect to another. Below are two cases from other people that back up this point. The question remains ‘why’ however.

Sport is not just sport. Content Marketing Strategy is like football.

Below is a free translation of a sports analogy used by: @steven_insites in a Dutch Marketing Magazine so to explain content marketing.

It’s like Football.

Developing a content conversion strategy is similar to putting together a football team. And it’s all about scoring in football. But in order to score the team must get the ball to the striker. Some teams use long passes to get there, others carefully advance through short passes. But in the end the ball needs to cross the line.

The marketer is the coach, the team composer. It’s up to him to decide how to get the ball crossing the line. But anyway, don’t expect to win without a proper strategy.

Sport is not just sport. The Jeremy Lin example.

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Learnings from Jeremy Lin

Another case demonstrating that learnings from sports can be transferred to business is the story of Jeremy Lin. This case deals with basketball, underdog positions and the power of social media.

During last week Jeremy Lin became a sensation. The New York Knicks guard became a sensation first on new media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook but soon enough captured the attention of traditional media as well.

The Knicks guard is in tremendous shape and does crazy stuff on the court. Even that crazy it led to the neologism “linsational” or “linsanity”. This remarkable story detailed in the N.Y. Times shows us the power of bottom-up marketing for underdog players.

In this particular case people were surprised because they didn’t know Jeremy before. There are not that many Harvard players, not that many Asian-Americans. He’s an underdog. But he works hard and it pays off today.

So where’s the lesson for business?
SMEs and underdog players can turn their position into an advantage by offering great products (Jeremy plays incredible) and let that spread from within the fan network (Twitter, Facebook) towards the public sphere (traditional media, such as N.Y. Times). And yes, this includes working really really hard.

Why can we learn something from a completely different sphere?

I believe it’s proven we can learn a thing from an entirely different phenomenon. But why?
Is it because all are just aspects of the same society?

Sustainable Business Strategies for SMEs in a "dying industry"?

Business strategies for a dying industry

Business strategies for a dying industry

Print: a dying industry?

I often encounter the phrase “Print is dead”. Of course, print is not dead. First of all, it’s not a living organism – so technically unable to die because it never actually lived. Second, I still meet printed collateral on a daily basis. Third: history demonstrates that some people always tend to state that new emerging media “kill” existing ones. Concerning this third issue, allow me to have a small digression by referring to the panic for the medium radio with the rise of commercial television.

Commercial television would kill “the radio”. In fact, radio still exists. What happened is a re-allocation of the time spent for a specific medium. People tend to watch more tv and listen to the radio less. But radio is still alive and kicking. People just use it in a different way. The radio went from a “primetime” medium to a “drive time” medium – which means that people mainly use radio while driving a car. So: did video kill the radio star? No, it did not. It just resulted in a new way of allocating resources for specific media.

How to understand the phrase “print is dead”?

So one needs to pay attention what exactly is meant and how the above phrase should be understood. First of all, we have explained in the above paragraphs that media do not die. However, having a look at the phrase “print is dead”, there seems to occur another problem. What is the “printing industry”?

The printing industry is a rather general description of business activities related to printing. The argument that print is dead doesn’t hold much water past books, newspapers and magazine – which aren’t even dead also by the way. The printing industry has multiple subsections, so one cannot simplify that easily.

To start with: every single item made and sold in this world comes with packaging, even if ordered over the internet. So package printing won’t die. However, in times of economic downfall people consume less, which results in less shipments of goods (with printed packages). This also counts for commercial printing – which most of the time people denote when saying the phrase “print is dead”.

Is commercial printing dead?

Commercial printing is about the creation of leaflets, brochures, catalogues, etc. Yes, it still exists and it’s often quite important to have those “sales support documents” next to a powerful website. What is a fact is that more and more corporations are re-allocating their budgets from print to other media (internet, mobile, tv, …). But it is not dead. Nevertheless, the decrease in volume of printed marketing collateral has been an undeniable trend for years now.

Companies that have been in the industry for years are increasingly looking to survive. What business strategies have proven to be effective in surviving this turmoil?

Sustainable business strategies for commercial printers?

Business strategies and innovation are closely linked together

Business strategies and innovation are closely linked together

We don’t want to put an in-depth (theoretical) analysis here about business strategies for growth and innovation. But apparently they are closely linked to one another. The image on the left should do the trick for now. We believe it’s more fruitful to draw a real-life business case.

Sustainable business strategies for SMEs in commercial printing?

The graphics / printing industry has been going down for years now. The economic slowdown and the credit crunch only empower the trend. Loads of SME printers went bankrupt or at least had to shrink down the number of employees.

As a reaction, the industry’s major players reached out to a well-known strategy for growth: “M&A” (mergers and acquisitions). A financially strong company within the sector buys out less powerful players and consequently integrates them into the new structure. The sustainability and growth of the business is hence secured (it might be a short-term…).

As a result of the concentration process, the number of printers within the industry decreased. SMEs reacted by expanding into multi-media production services or by integrating into larger corporations. However more creative initiatives have seen the light as well. And those initiatives don’t even mean the loss of SME commercial printers. The initiative “Pinca” of the Pica Media Partners Group is one of those creative initiatives to counter-fight the negative spiral of the industry.

The Pica Media Partners case

Pica Media Partners is an independent network that contains more than 30 graphic communication corporations within it. The network covers the entire area of The Netherlands. By gathering the strengths of each entity in a network, the group has additional forces for marketing, sales and purchase. By uniting forces, the SME companies within the network can benefit from the state-of-the-art tools as if they were a big player.

In today’s printing industry it’s important to make the transition from a “printer” who sells products into a “media service provider” who sells services. An important element to successfully realize this transition is technology. Specific technologies support printers’ transformation into a service provider.

The network equally saw the importance of technology and jointly invested in an “online collaboration platform”. We are very keen to see how this technology will further prove how business model innovation can act as a strategy for growth. And I have to say: it looks quite promising. The deployment of the technology resulted in an innovative business model within the graphic production industry. In fact, BMI or business model innovation could well be the theme for my next blog post since I started to feel a particular interest in related subjects.


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