I can’t add a darn thing to what Mark Cuban has said about SMU basketball other than to highlight the following quotes and relate them to the college’s broader educational and financial goals:
Treat Your Customers Like Gold (Even If You Call Them Students)
“You have to know who your ongoing season ticket holders are and respect and appreciate them. You can not do enough to reward them. It is hard to personally respond to 5k or more account holders, but it is something you have to work at. The greater the renewal rate the fewer the tickets you have to sell next year. Fans know when you care. You can’t fake it. It is hard work, but it has to be done. Know your customers and treat them like gold.”
If colleges better understood this, you wouldn’t be seeing such high freshman and sophomore attrition rates at so many schools. Yes, I know, it’s not sports. But some principles are universal. And, to those who rightly claim we shouldn’t coddle our students, it’s important to note, by suggesting we should be “treating them like gold” on the academic side, I’m not contending we keep them constantly entertained or pamper them. Rather, I’m suggesting we care about them as if they were are own children. If we did, we wouldn’t allow them to skate through and graduate unprepared, we wouldn’t offer useless courses and majors, we wouldn’t allow them to bury themselves under mountains of debt and we’d be damned sure alltheir teachers were competent.
Fill the Seats
“The sports industry is changing. TV is becoming a growing revenue source while ticket sales are a declining percentage of total revenues of TV sports. IMHO, it is far more important to know the price points that will enable you to fill the arena than to know the price points that will max out your total revenue. Why ? Because winning matters. It is important to have fans in the stands. They impact your winning percentage. And personally, I believe that winning increases long term profitability.”
Filling your beds at a residential college is an imperative IMHO. I can’t understand residential colleges that price themselves out of the market and have empty dorm beds. It’s no way to maximize revenue (those capital costs are sunk) and, more importantly, it’s no way to create positive momentum and an atmosphere of success. Once we learned the price points and got a top-notch person running enrollment, it was pretty easy filling the beds at the college I served because we wanted a full house and knew that some of our competitor schools were willing to lose enrollment. It was a mistake on their part to forfeit market share and allow negative momentum to take root on their campuses.
Don’t Choose Worthless Majors
“Everyone majors in sports marketing. There is no more worthless major.Every school seems to have a major in sports management . Why do the schools and kids think that across the tens of thousands of graduates from these programs there is going to be a job than even comes close to paying off their student loans. Do the math.”
Just because a school offers a major doesn’t mean it’s smart to select it. Colleges aren’t overly concerned with your future. They offer certain niche majors that students think they want, but most of the time it’s because the students don’t know any better.
Good Sales Persons Have Job Security
“Lets say there are 120 top pro teams. This article says there are about 12k sports marketing grads each year. The competition for jobs at pro teams is so brutal that we don’t have to pay much. Yet schools keep signing up kids. If schools want to have any value to sports teams they should offer degrees in Sales. Not sports sales. Just sales. Teach kids to sell and they can get jobs anywhere anytime. Teach kids sports management and you improve their chances of getting a job at Fridays.”
I’ve made this point earlier: if you know how to sell and are good at it, you’ll never be without a job. And if you have a good head on your shoulders, you’ll always have a good job.
Security Is Not Rooted in Tenure
It Comes From Doing Your Job Better Than Other People Do Theirs
“At the Mavs we value customer satisfaction and sales. We want you to have an amazing time at a game. We want our advertiser/sponsors to get amazing value from their Mavs partnerships. We want to have enough great salespeople to reach out and communicate all of the above. Every team can not have enough great salespeople.”
I used to preach at our college that everyone is an admissions and retention counselor. If everyone works together to ensure the customer’s (student’s) experience is top shelf (in the case of college, a great education and job readiness while having fun), then it’s an unstoppable combination. Unfortunately, the rhetoric notwithstanding, many people who work at our colleges think the college is primarily there for the faculty and staff and not the students. It shows. Look at their results (pathetic graduation rates and job-placement records and shameful lack in improvement in their students’ critical thinking abilities and communication skills).
Any college that does its job extremely well should be just fine (because many of their competitors aren’t doing theirs well). Stated differently, when you place your students first, you’ll create the most job security for yourself and the best working environment. Conversely, if you don’t have students, no amount of tenure will be enough to save jobs and no amount of tradition will assure long-term viability. Colleges that are closing or laying off faculty and staff primarily have themselves to blame. But, of course, they like to see themselves as victims. That mindset is a good part of the reason they’re failing.
But getting everyone to think and act like an admissions and retention counselor is no easy task.