Will Our Star Ever Rise?
November 20, 2009
I received my new “Drive” Football Bowl Series (FBS) marketing campaign literature about a week ago. My information is that Texas State University (TXST) sent this material to the approximately four hundred Bobcat Club members who are already TXST supporters. While it is refreshing to see that someone finally took the time to prepare professional-looking materials, I have to ask myself once again, “What is the return on my investment?” Admittedly, I tend to have a business-minded approach to analyzing things, so maybe a better way to ask the question is, “What will TXST do with my money?”
In reviewing the materials, I found a list of benchmarks that TXST must attain to make the move to FBS. One would assume this is a business plan for achieving success. However, what I was not able to find was a timeline for achieving each benchmark, nor did I find who is accountable for achieving the benchmarks. Does this sound familiar? My biggest concern; however, with the new Drive campaign is that it is disconnected from any other TXST marketing efforts. I have always felt that the shape of the great State of Texas surrounding a Bobcat more clearly depicts TXST. Personal feelings aside and even though I did not personally care for “The Rising Star of Texas” slogan, it is the official TXST slogan. It is therefore imperative that all other TXST marketing efforts directly connect to the official slogan and TXST has a comprehensive marketing effort. Brand continuity is pretty much the most basic tenet of marketing.
It all boils down to two, yes two, amazingly simple core goals: (1) more dollars donated, and (2) athletic stadiums filled to capacity. Where is the plan to accomplish these two goals? Maybe letting someone outside of San Marcos know that Texas State exists would be a good start. The current focus on advertising only in the San Marcos area severely limits TXST’s ability to influence people outside of San Marcos to accomplish the two core goals. How many people in Austin and San Antonio send their children to TXST? I’m willing to bet more students come from these two cities than all of San Marcos, so why not focus advertising efforts where the majority of the students come from? The university is not San Marcos State University, it is Texas State University and it is time TXST adopts a statewide marketing effort. TXST cannot keep wishing the fans will suddenly fill the stadium or sponsors will magically donate vast sums of cash. The big question is, “WHY aren’t the fans and sponsors participating?” Clearly, this is the elephant in the room that no one at TXST wants to discuss. This naturally leads to the next big question. “At what point are TXST’s administrators accountable for not achieving the goals?
Forgive my naivety, but isn’t the first principle of advertising is getting the word out? There has been no press release, or if there was one, nobody I have spoken to knows about it. There has been no word in the major metropolitan newspapers, no discussion on sports talk radio, and on and on. While a website is a great way of making information available, do you really think that most people over 40 years old (think “people with disposable income”) can’t wait to rush home and sit at their computers all evening and read websites? Isn’t it more likely that they read the newspaper or watch the news on television? TXST’s message needs to be in traditional media outlets right beside other school’s information. Why do other schools understand this concept, but TXST does not? The Athletics marketing staff should watch “Rudy” and “Invincible” and the administrative staff should also watch “We are Marshall.” These movies depict what it means to aggressively pursue a goal. TXST cannot possibly hope to find new sources of revenue or participation by contacting the same sources time after time. Let’s face it, an overused well eventually dries up.
The new “Drive” campaign appears with a shield or a coat of arms, I’m not sure which. Where is the brand continuity? Where is the connection to the “Rising Star of Texas” slogan? What message is “Drive” supposed to convey? How does “Drive” equate to a move to FBS? I decided to do an experiment with some friends and in less than ten minutes, we came up with a few potential slogans that fit in with the current “Rising Star of Texas” slogan:
Future Bobcat Stars
Future Bobcats Soar
Future Brighter Stars
Future’s Brightest Stars
The primary reason people donate is they have a strong belief that their money is going to support a worthwhile effort. Clearly, trust plays a major role here. Giving TXST every conceivable benefit of the doubt, we don’t have a snowball’s chance in a very warm climate of achieving the FBS goal unless TXST gets the word out. I believe TXST will only accomplish success with talented, caring, accountable staff that focus on results and aggressively pursue the goals.
Will Our Star Ever Rise?
Finally, I would like to acknowledge Mr. Steve Thompson of Dallas, Texas for writing his Texas State University – San Marcos Athletic Manifesto and his related petition drive. You can review Steve’s manifesto at the following website: