Op-Ed: Sports marketing represents golden opportunities for businesses
Thinking about sponsorship proposals after Hurricane María could be considered a crazy idea. However, we are all in the same boat, so we have to figure out how this could be an opportunity to achieve what we feel is valuable for our island.
One of the most important factors in a company’s involvement with sports is the value it will add to your operation.
To determine that, answer these questions: Do you think your employees need a balanced life? Do you believe that our youth need empowerment to become productive people for the community? Do you feel that sports are a form of entertainment that can create priceless moments? And finally, do you know that sports are not just about exercise? If your answer is YES to any of them, then you believe in sports as a social changer and its value is precisely that passion.
Before you design a sponsorship plan, you need to consider your company’s assets — resources, equipment, facilities, services and connections — that you can invest before you undertake the venture. These considerations can help you identify sources of income that will produce parallel results in your investment, and match your business target.
Do you know your customers and employees? Their demographic and psychographic characteristics? Do you know their interests, lifestyles, age ranges, genders, occupations, where they live, etc.? With this information, you can define your guidelines to streamline and maximize your efforts.
Identifying your context will generate a real commitment with your target, because you know it well…ultimately it will be a key to research and to choose a forward-looking path. This is not supposed to be a one-time deal, but rather a complete endeavor viewed as a different kind of marketing tool.
So no matter what you decide, your effort needs to be consistent and part of a long-term plan, if you want to achieve constant results. Sports are more beneficial in the long-term, as much as public relations programs or branding campaigns — they take time to impact a community.
After you decide your values, context and target, there are three points of income in which your company may have a return on investment.
- Evaluate possibilities and think about how far you can go expanding or diversifying products related and not so related to your business, creating parallel activities, such as a special project with a philanthropic cause.
- Establish alliances with other companies with the same core values to join sports federations, associations or leagues to sponsor important events. There are a lot of activities for this group that, with a little push, can be a success in the media and with the public, and result in economic revenue.
- Capitalize in sports projects through which you can receive benefits, such as creating new facilities or generating new products. For example, the fitness market is growing by designing materials, training courses, and managing teams.
We have to understand at this point that not everything is just about giving or donating. Every sponsorship opportunity is a business with mutual benefits. That’s not a bad thing. On the contrary, we need to make this work for everybody and each one has to have something to offer the other and vice versa.
Presently, sports have expanded their field of influence beyond pure competition. It goes beyond having a presence through a logo in events; a sponsorship can optimize its effectiveness using various marketing methods to take advantage of every possibility and make it BIG. Creativity is the mother of innovation, which will add value to your brand.
In sports business, there are three main areas that, if not considered, could make success impossible: communications, resources and management. As a sports sponsor, you can help in any of these areas as a consultant, based on your professional expertise.
You may consider some easy samples of sources of income:
- Dedicate a percentage of your earnings to a fund earmarked to supporting sporting events;
- Create a product or event in alliance with a sports association;
- Develop a campaign with athletes to provoke reactions and support from the community;
- Be creative on how you can relate your services or product with sports and create a product (race tracker, Endomondo, Skitude, etc.);
- Sponsor a league, or sports facility that can result in benefits for your employees.
- Partner with a sports agent that can offer you benefits such as free game tickets, locations, meet & greet, etc.;
- There are great architecture designers that can create excellent sports facilities, be a partner and create other businesses;
- Produce a video and connect with an internet fundraising campaign and you can duplicate the results; and,
- Support good nutrition for your company — for example, create healthy shakes or snacks for your employees as a fundraising campaign.
Measure your investment to analyze the real social and economic impact. I am sure it will go beyond gaining some acknowledge or recognition.
Being a sports sponsor implies that your venture is a good fit for your company and can help you design your social policy. Don’t rush it! Research the environment and you’re your strategy carefully with a sports business facilitator or public relations professional.
Remember, you are not just creating your social responsibility plan, you are impacting an individual, a team, a community. That will be your first step to evaluate all the possibilities.
Sports represent a cutting edge marketing possibility, and your business can thrive from that.