Sports unique competitive advantage every modern marketer covets

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Sport is perfectly positioned to capitalise on the current convergence of technology, communication platforms and audiences. How are you going to capitalise on this perfect storm of global trends?

WHY IT’S TAKEN AWHILE FOR THE PENNY TO DROP

The development of a (Content) Marketing Strategy is a relatively new concept the Australian sports industry is just starting to embrace due to the following factors;

  • The broader business strategy already includes marketing and communications elements thus providing a degree of guidance in this space
  • Many sports don’t have sufficient time, resources or expertise to warrant the development and implementation of a standalone content marketing strategy
  • Historically, marketing and communications ROI has been notoriously difficult to quantify thus making it hard to justify the investment
  • An increasingly dynamic and fragmented marketing and communications landscape makes it challenging to plan months in advance, let alone a more strategic timeframe of several years

If your sports business strategy takes into account commercial imperatives and you’ve got the resources then it’s definitely worthwhile exploring the exciting opportunities a dedicated content marketing strategy can offer.

Before embarking on this process though it’s worth considering how we arrived at a perfect storm of global trends that have put sport in the box seat.

ARE SPORTS ADMINISTRATOR’S MARKETERS, COMMUNICATORS OR A HYBRID OF THE TWO?

The longstanding business model for the reporting and distribution of news and the advertising revenues that underpin it has undergone a seismic shift in the last decade or so.

It used to be that a producer of news (eg. print, radio or television) would attract a certain number of ‘eyeballs and ears’ from a particular demographic which were then on-sold to marketers for advertising purposes. Simple!

Then along came the internet to turn this on its head as the traditional methods of consuming news were replaced by search engines and websites that were free to access.

This revolution was then followed by a second disruptive force – social media. Not only could news be consumed for free but everyone who accessed it became a publisher in their own right.

This new wave of media distribution really went into overdrive when the final piece of game changing technology arrived in the shape of the smartphone leading to an increasingly ‘mobile’ consumption of content.

WHAT ARE THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE DISRUPTIVE FORCES WHEN DECIDING WHETHER SPORT IS IN THE MARKETING OR COMMUNICATIONS BUSINESS?

The dissemination of news (communication) has been a core responsibility of every sports administrator for as long as anyone can remember. Thanks to an insatiable demand for information on athletes, players and teams, fixtures, events, results, statistics, championship leagues, ladders and so on.

Because of this, grassroots participation sport in particular has never really marketed or advertised itself through traditional channels such as print, radio or television as it’s not only expensive but fundamentally unnecessary.

If a sports club did advertise it was to attract members at the start of each season via a billboard outside clubrooms, a flyer in a nearby shop or possibly a classified notice in a local newspaper.

One of the few interactions sport did have with mainstream media was to phone-in results to the Sunday edition of a newspaper as this was about the only cost-effective mass distribution option available at the time (how quaint).

Whether by accident or design, modern marketing and the audiences that access it are now migrating into a communications domain sport has always ‘owned’.

While traditional media players are scrambling to adapt, for the most part with limited success, sport is the original early adopter with an unbeatable competitive advantage – an emotional connection with its audience and an ability to actively engage them.

This is what every marketer craves and is something sport has always had in abundance.

Game on.

 

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