Working to develop a new sport takes a lot of time. It’s not something that happens overnight, and it takes a lot of work. While it’s important to talk about the sport and educate people about it getting people to participate is another thing. One method to this is through demos. The true question is how effective are they?
I’ve spent a lot of time traveling around providing demonstration opportunities on Floorball. Each demo provides a unique opportunity to engage people on the sport and give them a chance to try it out for themselves. In practice I’ve found that this method isn’t necessarily the most effective means of growing and developing the sport. Don’t get me wrong, I think that demos have their place in the process, but to think that if I run a demo it’s going to be the catalyst to the sport exploding is wrong. In fact, unless you have a framework set up to support engagement after the demo it’s not as likely something will come of it.
While I enjoy doing this, I’ve found in the long-term they haven’t really produced. I look at it as one piece to the education process, but not the most effective.
It’s a sales technique, and with that comes the higher percentage of people who will do nothing with the product. That shouldn’t discourage someone from running a demo, speaking at a conference, or presenting on the topic, but I wouldn’t put all my eggs in that basket. I think that most people who have gone this route would tend to agree with me. I say that because I follow my competitors and see where they go and what they do, and by and large most who have gone this route are doing less of it over time. Is that a good thing? I don’t really know.
I think it’s important that the message or brand of Floorball be out there, but I think people are being more thoughtful about their approach. Setting up a booth at a conference, speaking at an event, or even planning an event doesn’t necessarily correlate to growth in Floorball.
It all comes back to the foundation. If you’re not actively building the sport on multiple levels to engage more people it will never gain hold. You can’t sit by and hope that something will happen you have to do something. I’m not against this stuff in any way and depending on the opportunity I will jump at the chance to promote the sport. That will never stop, but I am very careful about what I do. I know in the end that me flying across the country to speak about Floorball doesn’t necessarily translate into Floorball growth. So I have to be strategic about it.
I have my own Floorball programs running in my local area. I will spend more time building that up by going to events to promote it because there’s a foundation of classes, clinics, leagues, and tournaments to engage that population accordingly. The next time you do a demo really think about what you have coming up behind it to push the sport forward.