Using Sports to Reach Your "Fans"
Much can be learned from how companies use sports to reach their end users. It is undeniable that big business in this country actively pursues consumers in virtually all demographic groups through sports marketing. This "cradle to grave" exposure from Little League to the senior leagues targets every consumer that has, or is likely to have, purchasing power.
Corporations use sports marketing to achieve numerous, and often times simultaneous, objectives when targeting these customers. Knowing they have a relatively captive audience tuned in during "TV timeouts," fast food companies, for example, frequently reinforce their relationships with sports fans by running commercials intended to persuade couch potatoes to buy the advertised brand of burger or pizza the next time they need their fast food fix.
Appreciating the sheer volume of people in attendance at sports venues, it is not unusual for cell phone companies to distribute surveys to sports fans or have them test market new products to assist in the product development process.
Knowing that sporting events can be used as a relaxing backdrop to conduct external business development, many companies lease luxury boxes to close important deals. These same companies often rely on the cache of a luxury box to reward employees for their achievements or dedication to the company.
Regardless of which objectives or combinations of objectives are sought, the primary goal of sports marketing is to drive sales and increase shareholder value. This is frequently accomplished by supplementing great advertising with showing (potential) customers that your brand is prevalent where targeted consumers expect to see it, namely, attached to sports via sponsorship, promotion, or other marketing vehicles.
To validate that the use of sports makes sense in an organization's marketing pursuits, successful businesses revisit their corporate mission and goals, and identify internal and external strengths and weaknesses before giving sports marketing serious consideration.
Once this review is completed to management's satisfaction, attention can then be turned to conducting the requisite research to validate that the organization's customers can indeed be reached because of their connection to sports. Companies, regardless of their size or resources, that are successful in sports marketing then turn their attention to segmenting markets.