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What Are the Best Tips for Sports Marketing?

By Carrieanne Larmore
Updated May 16, 2024
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The best tips for sports marketing include creating strategic partnerships, listening to fans, using the athlete's social networks and incorporating mobile marketing. Marketers should be flexible with their sports marketing plans, constantly monitoring feedback from campaigns and making necessary changes. Sports marketing campaigns should take advantage of all types of available technologies and resources, such as social websites and mobile marketing, in order to better connect to fans.

Creating strategic partnerships in sports marketing can help marketers appeal to a target demographic that it otherwise might have difficulties reaching. For instance, developing a game for tablets and smartphones can help reach younger demographics in a fun and engaging way. Not all types of partnerships, however, require such a significant investment, such as those with restaurants and websites. In order to create a competitive advantage, the sports marketer should research which businesses his target market frequents and find a way to create a partnership that is mutually advantageous for both companies.

Listening to fans is the best way to determine if a sports marketing campaign is on the right track or if adjustments need to be made. While surveys and focus groups were useful in the past, social media websites today allow sports marketers to open constant lines of communication in real-time. Marketers can gain insight into their needs, wants and expectations. They will be able to know immediately if fans did not react as intended to the most recent marketing campaign and make quick adjustments without having to wait until it ends.

Utilizing the athlete's fan base can create an advantage for any sports marketing effort. When signing on an athlete to promote a product, it's a good idea to research to see how devoted and active his social media fan base is on his personal webpages. If his fan base is energized and active, the fans will be more likely to be responsive to the product the athlete is promoting. The sports marketer also should be sure to include a statement in the contract requiring him to promote the product through his social media networks.

Incorporating mobile marketing into a sports marketing plan can help marketers reach their younger, tech-savvy demographic. This type of marketing can be used for such things as giving fans what they want when they want it, such as scores and play statistics, through SMS messaging. Mobile apps can also be created to add a higher level of interaction with fans by including engaging content, personalized commercials and special contests. When used successfully, mobile marketing provides marketers with the ability to continuously connect with fans on a personal level.

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Discussion Comments
By truman12 — On May 19, 2012
I listen to a lot of sports talk radio and I am always kind of disappointed by the ads that I hear. The demographic they try to grab is the male 30-60 crowd. A lot of the ads reflect that. But they make that stage of life seem so sad and simple.

The positive ads are all for burgers, beer or pretty girls. The negative ads are for balding, fatness, impotence, low testosterone, divorce. Listen for long enough and you become terrified of becoming a 45 year old man. I am 28 now and the radio has given me a bleak vision of my future. Maybe it's time to change the station.

By Ivan83 — On May 18, 2012
There are sports marketing agencies that work with sports teams and advertisers to come up with campaigns that run during sports, or that are targeted to sports fans. But most internal marketing operations of large companies will try to have someone on staff who has knowledge of sports marketing.

The sports industry is huge and it is everywhere. Most companies, even companies that have nothing to do with sports will have to find a way to tap into this population segment. So a dog food company might consult with a sports marketing expert to find a way to appeal to baseball fans. That part of the market can't be denied or ignored.

By tigers88 — On May 18, 2012

One important lesson that I learned through a long career in sports marketing is that they way you market to different sports is both very similar and very different. Hockey fans and football fans are not that different, but they are not that alike either.

You have to learn what works across the whole sports world and what has to be tailored to the individual sport or team. For instance, I did some work with the St Louis Cardinals. They are one of the oldest most fabled franchises in baseball and a lot of their marketing reflects that. Not every team, or every sport could take that angle.

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