Chess Needs Basic Marketing 101
Over the years, there have been countless massive blunders in chess management, marketing, promotion, and PR, etc. These Titanic size mistakes are making chess less appealing, marketable, and they chase away or turn off potential donors, sponsors, and
most importantly, fans.
If the world of chess wants to be a formidable player in the mainstream, the leadership needs to raise the level of professionalism, and put in people with real experience, and not “friends and families” who are completely clueless and utterly incompetent.
With the right marketing strategy, I believe that chess can be a billion-dollar sport, thanks to the enormous scholastic chess growth. But at this moment, because it is so poorly run and marketed, that in the recent prestigious European Blitz Championship, the winner got a colossal check for the amount of 2,000 euros, while the 2nd place finisher got 1,000 euros, and 800 euros for 3rd place.
Just to give you an example of how insulting these prizes are, in the last SPF Girls Invitational (18 and under) in St. Louis, my foundation and I awarded $2,500 for the winner, $1,500 for 2nd place, and $1,000 for 3rd place, in addition to over $200,000 in scholarship and prizes, with an organizing budget of well over $250,000, which included free housing accommodation and meals to ALL qualifiers. 100% of the budget came from donations and sponsorship, and the entry fees were ZERO!
I have done this for 14 years. Since 2003, my foundation and I, through our sponsors, donors, and partners, have awarded more than $5,000,000 in scholarship and prizes to young people. In addition to this, I raise between $1.5 - $2 million dollars each year for my chess program and events. And no one asked me how I did it.
Chess needs real Market Research and Focus Groups. The leadership needs to understand the detail playing and purchasing demographics. How can we know who or what to market to if we do not know the answers? This is why numerous chess organizations keep shooting themselves in the foot. They are driving the chess-mobile blind!
For example, when I threw out a quick question on Social Media (Twitter and Facebook) about the logo for the upcoming 2018 World Chess Championship in London, the majority (maybe close to 85-90%) of the chess players, coaches, and parents, gave it a big thumb down.
As the famous saying goes: “How can we expect different results if we keep on doing the same failing things over and over again?” Is this what our chess community deserves?