ROF Versus ROI: What The Financial Services Industry Can Learn From ESPN

What We Can Learn from ESPN

I have no business writing about anything sports related. I may have the honor of being the least knowledgeable person in the world about football, basketball, hockey or baseball. However, a recent Maddock Douglas study of 1,000 sports fans was completed for ESPN magazine. And when I read it, it made me do “the wave.” (However, all by myself, it wasn’t that effective…)

The goal that ESPN had was to learn more about what created fan loyalty and create ultimate standings for the NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL with respect to the return that fans get on their “investment” in these sports.

The study was about “Return on Fandom.” It is the relative return that fans get on their time, emotion and money—and in that order. Money is clearly last on the list of investable assets in sports.

Wow! This is cool. In digging a little deeper, what I noticed is that fans felt they were getting better “ROF” from teams and leagues based on things that may not be immediately intuitive. For example:

  • They placed more value on the effort and commitment that the teams made around winning than whether or not they were actually winning.
  • They cared more about having strong leaders as coaches than they did about a team’s willingness to pay a high price for good players.
  • They were more interested in whether or not players acted professionally on and off the field than they did about anything related to price (tickets, parking, concessions, etc.).
  • And they cared more about whether or not the players treated their fans with respect than they did about actually having access to those players.

The big “aha” is that fans want to like their teams, respect them and be respected more than they need games to be won or prices to be lower.

So What’s The Application To Financial Services Companies?

Well first, it may be valuable to want to create “fandom” within your customer base. Perhaps there should be more thought and innovation put around making customers feel respected versus products that will squeeze out a little more return for them, or lowering prices. Here are a few hunches that you may want to consider:

  1. If your customers like you, would they be more likely to pay more for your products and services?
  2. If your customers feel respected, would they be less likely to engage in a lawsuit when investment performance is not there?
  3. If your customers respect you, would they be more likely to tolerate a mistake and not immediately go elsewhere?
  4. If your customers like you, respect you and feel respected, would they paint their bodies in your logo color and hold up a foam finger in your honor?

That’s how I see if you’ve read to the end.

Seriously, there is something to be learned from this. Perhaps new insights gained from asking different questions of your customers would lead you down new innovation paths.

Who will be first in the ultimate standings in financial services?

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