Championship Points

Championship Points

The companies highlighted throughout this chapter have used sports as a backdrop to market their products and services; some have succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations, and others have failed. Those in the sports marketing Hall of Fame, including Miller, Coke, Apple, Gatorade, and certainly MasterCard, understand the following:

  • Great ads can make you laugh, cry, or even make you angry. However, absent a coherent marketing strategy, a single ad— regardless of its brilliance—will seldom lead to sustainable sales.

  • Successfully investing marketing dollars in the sports world often includes initial spending on advertising to associate with the team or league, and is followed by allocating even more resources to reinforce this presence to important market segments.

  • A keen working knowledge and understanding about precisely what should be communicated in the marketing message is essential.

  • Determining the best medium to communicate the marketing message is critical; it might be sporting events for MasterCard and Gatorade, but what is it for your company?

  • Market research is invaluable. How can you successfully sell a product if you don't know what consumers seek?

  • Market segmentation is required. How can you successfully sell a product if you don't know who or where the (potential) customers are?

  • Marketing and financial limitations exist and must be considered when contemplating the totality of a comprehensive marketing strategy.

  • The company's brand name will be attached to all those that help it get the word out and, consequently, must select their marketing platforms carefully.

  • The importance of protecting the integrity of their marketing message at all costs.

  • "Auditing" marketing campaigns to determine the return on investment of the marketing dollar is essential.

  • There are inherent risks associated with any and all marketing alliances, including those that include the sports world.

Once businesses and organizations successfully identify and market to their customers, attention must be turned to providing stellar customer service. All the fancy advertising, market research, and integrated marketing efforts will be severely compromised if newly gained customers are not provided with adequate customer service.

Chapter 3. Customer Service

The Point: Businesses and organizations of all sizes often overlook the importance of delivering great customer service. In today's business world, being able to truly serve those on the other side of the counter is often the major differentiator. However, poor customer service remains as prevalent an issue in big-time sports as it does in any other industry and has been exacerbated by the recent trend of the white-collarization of sports.

Certain sports leagues, especially Minor League Baseball, serve to remind us of the positive impact great customer service can have on an organization's bottom line. The minor leagues remind us that businesses are built one customer at a time and that catering to your customer's wants and needs—however large or small—is more important than ever. Minor League Baseball officials also realize that loyal customers are worth every penny it takes to keep them and that providing customer service is everyone's responsibility, regardless of where they are on the corporate ladder.