What can a game of pickleball teach marketers?

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Our guest author Aditya Jaishankar lists all the marketing lessons a new sport offers to marketers, entrepreneurs, product innovators and habit builders.

It was before the pandemic when I first heard of a game called pickleball. What struck me as unusual was that it seemed like an odd combination of different sports. Maybe a nice mix of tennis and table tennis.

When I read a little more, I discovered that in the United States, Pickleball, a sport similar to tennis, was gaining popularity. In India, I have observed a few people playing this sport in their clubs.

What I have observed is that this sport, played with paddles and a wiffle-shaped ball on a small court, is conducive not only to get enough exercise but also to socialize. This made me curious and I started to practice this sport myself.

In India, pickleball is played more in elite clubs, but its popularity is slowly but surely spreading beyond elite clubs. What strikes me as really interesting is that even people who never cared about sports earlier in life are now reorganizing their lives to fit pickleball into their daily to-do lists.

Many people who may have never played tennis or any other outdoor game are turning to this sport. It’s like creating a new category and enticing reluctant consumers to try something new.

So what’s driving this pickleball fever?

Let’s examine the semiotics of sport and the barriers it has very skilfully removed.

In other words, let’s look at some pointers in Pickleball strategy:

The adoption of a new category or a new concept is accompanied by a whole series of obstacles and prejudices. There are ways to make a concept more palatable to the public. There are techniques that perhaps push an audience to try something for the first time. Pickleball has distinct advantages in this regard

Create a clear distinct advantage within a familiar frame of reference

Pickleball is compared to tennis. Many beginners say “it’s a simpler form of tennis. It doesn’t require as much strength and energy but still gives me enough exercise for the day”. conversation between women before entering the pickleball court, “it’s like a mini training in itself”.

An easier way to play an exciting court game while having it a little easier than expected from a grunt session.

The size of the court is smaller than a tennis court, the racket is like an elongated table tennis bat that can swing easily. The serve is a simple underarm serve that removes the hurdle of having to master an additional skill to become competitive enough.

Intelligently integrate addictive elements

The short distance between players makes it almost conducive to socializing while playing doubles just for fun. It’s almost like having a conversation and exercising too. The best of both worlds, chatting and playing can indeed be addictive, just like walking long distances with a friend who constantly chats by your side can become a habit.

When you reduce the effort required in an outdoor sport, it automatically becomes easier to practice it for a long time. Pickleball rallies generally tend to last longer, even if you’re a beginner, because it’s easier for you to cover ground and return a few shots with ease.

Some people are even drawn to the sound: the mysterious “pop-pop-pop”, which creates a sort of background noise for the sport, I guess.

My personal experience was that it felt like playing an outdoor video game that guarantees a high every time I play.

A small victory or victory is essential to stay motivated

Every game of pickleball has its share of small victories. Even a novice is capable of hitting an incredible shot or two that gets the better of their more experienced and athletic opponent. This gives the illusion of having improved with each game. The ability to earn a few points and impress others around you with a clever shot or move certainly has its own pinnacle. Literally, the small daily wins make one look forward to making the sport part of one’s daily to-do list.

Immediate gratification is a great way to reinforce the habit-forming loop.

8 se 80 tak – Elements that add universality

A casual casual conversation consumer study revealed common reasons why people of all age groups are drawn to the sport.

Players of all skill levels cited similar reasons for its appeal: pickleball is friendly and fun; skill comes quickly. It fosters community and a sense of camaraderie in a way that surprises and delights them.

Finding a common denominator, such as ease, ease of skill, bringing a sense of informality and even some spontaneity can make a huge difference in adopting a new concept, in this case, a new sport. Allowing a person to be true to their nature is perhaps the best way to connect with them.

Innovative fusion of various elements

Fusion has now been seen for years as a holy grail for winning over multiple audiences in sports, music, and making things even more colorful, exciting, and fast-paced. This is another example of how the thoughtful weaving of elements can create the perfect combination to delight audiences.

While pickleball’s popularity will continue to grow, it might be a good idea to pause and take a closer look at how this sport has almost perfectly blended various dimensions to increase its appeal.


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