I was recently at a college football game and it got me thinking about all of the marketing that goes on at sporting events. Sporting events generate billions of dollars of revenue annually in our country, as well as in many others. And even though most major sporting events can be followed on television and the internet, tens of thousands, sometimes even hundreds of thousands, of people pile into venues to watch just one of these events. The high number of attendees leads to a high level of marketing interest. There are many reasons that sporting events are so popular, but what can we as marketers learn from them to help make us more successful?
1. Create a memorable experience.
This is THE appeal. People want to do things that are unique and exciting that they can’t do all the time. It breaks up the daily grind. Marketing, these days, is breaking through the clutter. Whether it is commercials, the internet or live events; status quo will not win. For instance, many people attending trade shows and events are in the “daily grind” mode; therefore, do something that will engage them and help them escape…then they will not forget. Ask someone why they root for their favorite team and often they will give you a fond memory. Every game they watch reminds them of that and perpetuates the experience. If a brand becomes memorable for the right reasons and is aligned with the brand position; brand loyalty begins and the audience will not stray.
2. Sponsorship is an easy way to gain brand impressions.
EVERYTHING at sporting events is sponsored. There are sponsors on the tickets, the scoreboard, the cups, the programs and just about anything else that allows sponsorship. To easily generate some brand awareness for your company, consider sponsorship. There are many opportunities for sponsorship out there; outdoor events, trade shows, philanthropies, etc. The beauty of this is that a company will get brand impressions at the event and, typically, the audience members return home with something branded (make sure it’s something memorable).
3. Create a “logo zone”.
When going to a sporting event, there is typically a radius surrounding the event (the size of which directly correlates with the size of the event) in which a team’s logo and colors are everywhere. Front yards, car decals, street signs, tailgates, and clothes are just a few things that may be seen in the “logo zone.” This builds people’s anticipation and excitement for the event itself. It can be achieved in the trade show or event world by utilizing things like billboards, taxis, airport signage and different opportunities throughout the main event hotel. A company can own share of mind even before attendees arrive at the event!
4. Highlight success.
People like winners. I remember in college when our basketball team made a Final Four run. We went from the beginning of the season, being able to easily get great seats, to having to camp out for tickets during the NCAA tournament. All over sports venues you see banners and trophies of past success. A client/customer base will have take pride in being aligned with a successful organization, and they will want to see them succeed. Seeing a company’s accolades can also make new clients/customers more comfortable with a brand.
Sporting events and the interaction they have with their audience draw parallels with the marketing efforts of many companies. Next time you attend a sporting event think about what you like best about being there in that moment and how you can translate that to your organization.
Author: Chase Howells
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