Being a Freelance Performance Analyst: Optimum Sports Analysis – 1 year on.
This is a follow up article written by David Taylor – Optimum Sports Analysis. If you haven’t already read it I would encourage you to check out the original here.
Since our last article for this website back in August 2011 a lot has changed. We soon realised that we needed to get back to working with software that we were both familiar with and could use effectively to get the results we wanted and this meant utilizing our Dartfish student license and purchasing the latest version of their TeamPro software. This software suits us as it is what we self trained in at university however it is worth noting that the majority of performance analyst jobs that are advertised tend to require someone with experience in SportsCode.
We have also added to and altered many of our services to meet a wider range of customer needs. Included within this was allowing customers access to more individual parts of our services such as filming of performances or analysis only. We found that, in many cases clubs had access to one of these but not the other or perhaps only required their performance to be filmed and not analysed.
One of the most important things we have done however is got to know our equipment a lot more intricately. This has included everything from setting up our video camera correctly to studying the different ways video footage can be transferred onto DVDs and other media. This is an area that shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of it’s importance and time consumption.
After writing our last piece for this website our next step was to begin marketing our business. We initially decided to look into advertising through local papers and sport magazines however the prices that we were quoted were far greater than our budget allowed. We decided therefore to do the best we could using both our website and other social networking websites. However, despite attracting some interest this way, the majority of it was geographically too far afield. We then decided to send emails to local sports clubs promoting both our business and our ‘Try us for £20’ offer but, again, to no avail!
Determined not to give up, we decided that, as we both worked and had contacts within the sport sector through our other forms of employment and education, we would go back to the old fashioned way of marketing – word of mouth. This fortunately turned out to be a different story. By simply chatting to clubs/managers/coaches about our business they soon became interested in what we could offer them and how we could benefit their team. On numerous occasions, a member of the opposing team that we are analysing has even approached us and enquired into our services; normally ending in asking if they can have a copy of the match DVD! To date, marketing this way is still our most effective way and shouldn’t be disregarded by anyone.
We still persist in using the internet as a form of marketing as it is economically efficient especially with regards to the amount of potential customers we can reach. One thing we are trying is uploading a video clip onto youtube of our selected highlight of the month. On one occasion this swiftly attracted around 1,000 views and made it onto the back page and website of a local newspaper – all free marketing. As a result of this continued effort, we are beginning to find that we are receiving more frequent customer interest through both our website and our Twitter account (@sports_analysis) and for this reason are looking into ways of making our online presence more understandable and accessible so that, not only do people stumble across our website more frequently, but that they also understand what we offer and how we can benefit them.
A couple of videos we have found particularly useful in this respect are:
- Ali Clabburn (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=z9Edfkbxo2A) talking about the challenges of setting up an online social business from a notice board in university halls, to a nationwide business.
- Matt Dobbin (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JH1GBX4ohMw&feature=relmfu) a Behavioural Economics expert giving an enthusiastic, revealing and entertaining overview of the subject.
Both of these videos have been pointed in our direction by our graphic designer come marketing consultant theothermattroberts.com who, as we speak, is working on an update to our online presence to solve some issues and implement some changes we want to make based on the findings from the videos and our combined and continued research.
To date, as a business, we have only undertaken analysis on football but across a large variety of standards and developmental levels. We have also interestingly had several enquiries from hockey teams. With the seasons changing, we are now beginning to focus our attention on summer sports, specifically cricket and tennis, where the potential benefit from the use of analysis is vast. We are looking heavily into how we will have to adapt how we work for these different sports as even just simple things such as altering camera position can provide huge challenges.
We have also decided to continue with our Try us for £20 offer as not only does it attract a wider range of customers but it also provides us with a broader range of experience and shares the usefulness of analysis in sport to a larger audience; even if it doesn’t always turn into a longer term booking. On top of this we added a dossier option to our list of services early this year and this is something that we wish to start putting more emphasis on promoting due to its potentially more lucrative properties.
An Honest Conclusion
The last 10 months have been a great adventure that I would recommend to anyone and we are both thoroughly looking forward to the next 10 months. For financial reasons alone however, it is difficult personally for me to see
working in this industry as a freelance ever becoming my full time job. Put quite simply, as a business we would not have survived if it was not for our alternative forms of employment. Our target market, generally speaking, does not generate a huge income themselves and the clubs and individuals that do have expendable incomes, tend to have their own in-house analyst/analysis team.
For the future therefore I can look upon freelancing as an analyst as both a hugely enjoyable hobby and a very welcome addition to my main income and, alternatively, perhaps as a platform for gaining future employment in this very competitive and rapidly expanding industry.
Optimum Sports Analysis