Unleashing customer-led growth requires sports organisations to start a revolution. A revolution in how they think and work.

The sports industry is facing a significant challenge. Consumer expectations are changing fast, and these changes could make community sport increasingly irrelevant. Yet the potential for growing participants and fans is huge. But to achieve it, sports organisations must commit to becoming customer-led.

8 hallmarks of customer-led growth

The short video above walks you through the 8 hallmarks of a customer-led organisation. But if you don’t mind a spoiler, here’s what is says:


At the heart of customer-led growth is a shared belief that the end customer is the centre of the universe. Of course the sport/event/facility/stakeholders are also important. But the core purpose of the organisation is to deliver valuable experiences to its end customer.


Sports organisations listens to and engages with its target audiences. This creates a shared understanding of customer’s needs, influences and behaviours.


The organisation has a clear, actionable and common plan. The plan lays out who the target audience is and how they are will deliver great customer experiences to them.


Staff are hired, developed and rewarded based on their contribution to the customer experience. This isn’t just for front line staff either. The leadership also need to be in tune with the voice of the customer and how they can respond to it.


Processes, products and experiences are designed from the end customer’s perspective. This isn’t about cleaning the windows before looking outside. This is about opening the doors and inviting customers in to collaborate with you.


The focus of day-to-day decision making is on delivering the desired customer experiences. In many respects this is the principle that separates the best from the rest. A laser-like focus is hard to achieve when competing voices shout loudly. This is why it’s so important to have a strong conviction and a shared plan.


No organisation can deliver consistently great customer experiences by itself. It needs a network of organisations that it can support to create great experiences on its behalf. In years gone by, many sports organisations could achieve control delivery with strong governance. But now the sports industry is a vibrant mixed economy. Collaboration and coopetition are the ways to add value and achieve shared success.

Results – what gets measured gets done

To complete the loop, customer-led organisations are regularly measuring and monitoring the customer experience. Listening and responding to customers creates raving ‘fans’. These highly engaged customers tell their friends about the experience and keep coming back. This in turn creates a significant RoI for the organisation.

customer-led growth

Customer-led growth in sport by RobertsSports

In summary…

Striving for customer-led growth can create loyal customers that do your marketing for you. The foundations of this approach are having a strong conviction, deep customer understanding and a clear plan for delivering valuable customer experiences. Organisations then need to consider the people and partners they must support and work with to deliver these experiences. Finally, organisations then need to design, manage and measure how they do things with the customer – rather than the business – in mind.