News article

4 compelling reasons why Shane Warne was a marketing expert

You react to the death of a well-known person in different ways.

If they’re elderly – “they had a good innings” is probably appropriate parlance, given the subject of this article – then it’s a shame, but you can remember a life well-lived and few regrets.

For others, taken too soon, you can feel a genuine loss at their untimely passing.

Then there’s a small number of people where their death is genuinely shocking, and their premature departure leaves a massive void.

The passing of Shane Warne earlier this month at the age of just 52 is very much in the last category – and not just for cricket fans.

From a cricket perspective, we mourn the passing of a true cricketing genius. He both revolutionised spin bowling, changed the way it is perceived, and how success is measured. In most cricket clubs now, you’ll find someone trying to bowl leg spin, whereas up to the 1980s it was a dying art and leg-spinners were as rare as hen’s teeth. That’s down to Shane Warne.

Beyond that, he was a compelling advocate for the game, a brilliant captain, and an inspiring coach.

And when you take a close look at his career you start to realise that, as well as being a cricketing genius, he was also a marketing expert.

Analysis reveals that Warne possessed a series of marketing skills that are transferable from the cricket pitch and commentary box to your own business.

1. He always kept it simple

Leg spin – the art Warne revolutionised, gave a new lease of life to, and popularised – is a complicated art.

In the same way, cricket itself can be complicated to both non-fans and many who have watched and played the game for years.

When he was playing, Warne’s skill was to keep the game very simple. His bowling always boiled down to a battle between bat and ball.

Yes, he was happy to indulge in mind games – every time England toured Australia he was always said to be working on a new “mystery ball” – but for the most part this was bluff.

He happily let his opponents complicate matters in their own minds.

You only have to have listened to some of his commentary and other media work to realise he had an enormous cricket knowledge combined with the rare skill of making his explanations simple to understand.

Like leg spin, financial services can be a complicated subject, impenetrable to many not in the industry. Often the key to client understanding is being able to explain it in simple terms.

Avoiding using industry jargon is a common starting point, but it can go beyond that to using straightforward terminology, relating details to a client’s own experience, and ensuring communication is accessible and informative.

2. He knew his audience

As a showman and natural communicator, Warne was a master of tailoring his messages to suit the audience.

His communication with opposing batters was designed to scramble their minds. Once he planted the seed of doubt, he nurtured it like the most assiduous gardener.

Umpires were also the target of Warne’s communication skills. He’d flatter them, but they’d also be subject to as many mind games as batters.

After his retirement he became a naturally engaging commentator and analyst. Even there he was able to adjust his communication to suit a particular viewing public. On Australian TV he played up to his parochial home image, whereas for Sky Sports in the UK he was balanced, fair, and never less than insightful.

As a captain and coach, players who played for him uniformly agree that he was empathetic and often inspirational.

When you’re marketing your business, one of the key starting points is to understand who your audience is and how you can use different communication channels to contact them and maintain a dialogue.

Different segments of your existing and potential clients will respond in different ways. Rather than a single uniform message, don’t be afraid to mix things up with a clearly different focus for different audiences.

3. He framed his messages in an engaging way

As well as knowing the right message for the right audience, Warne was able to get those messages across in an engaging way.

On the pitch he was a larger-than-life character, especially when he was bowling. The overblown theatrics were part and parcel of his game – from the elaborate appeals to the almost physical disbelief when an umpire turned down an appeal.

Even small mannerisms and movements were designed to have an impact. No one was better at stopping at the start of his run-up to move a fielder a few inches – deliberately designed to give the batsman something else to think (and worry) about.

Off the pitch, stories are legion of him going out of his way to sign autographs, pose for selfies, and happily chat to anyone about the game.

Making your client communications engaging should be a clear and ongoing aim. Try to develop a comms strategy that results in your clients actually looking forward to hearing from you because they know what you’re offering them is informative and readable.

4. He added value in whatever he did

When Shane Warne was bowling, he was difficult to ignore. It was always said that the best time to get a drink at a Test match was when he came on to bowl, because the bars would be empty!

The strength of the Australian batting line-up during his Test career meant that his batting was often an afterthought – chipping in useful runs against a demoralised attack. But his skill with the bat was underrated, and he often scored valuable runs when he had to – no more so than in the famed 2005 Ashes series.

He was also an exemplary slip fielder. The story was that he didn’t fancy running around in the outfield all day, so he practised hard and turned himself into an indispensable presence in the slip cordon.

The right strategy will help to ensure that clients come to value the contact they have with you. Regular emails with informative articles can keep them abreast of financial issues and some the steps they should be taking to secure their financial future. Information on your website can have the same effect.

By adding value with your marketing content, you can help take your adviser-client relationships to another level.

Need help with your marketing and brand?

We can’t teach you how to bowl a leg break, but we can help you market your adviser business – from providing regular content for client blogs to engagement strategies for new clients.

As experts in finance and marketing, we’re here to help you navigate the challenges, avoid mistakes, and get the most out of your marketing budget.

To learn more, email or call 0115 8965 300.

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