What do sports marketers do that a struggling business does not? They try hard to be different, every day of the year.
Sports marketers, especially minor league baseball clubs, are seemingly always on the precipice of the next big thing. Whether it’s receiving favorable local news coverage or going viral, minor league franchises set the tone when it comes to entertaining both its devoted followers and curious newcomers.
So why don’t most small businesses market with the same fearlessness?
Budget, staffing, and investment concerns are always part of any marketing plan, but sports marketers often have a leg up on imagination. Sure, anyone can do a Star Wars night or give away bobbleheads, but renaming your team for a night or creating a new way to eat food? That takes some serious creativity, something where every organization can watch and take note.
So What Do Sports Marketers Do?
Here Are 3 Sports Marketing Principles That Small Businesses Should Adopt
It’s Not About the Game
Many sports marketers repeatedly say that their objective isn’t to make the game fun, that’s the players’ jobs. A sports marketing team’s job is to make the experience fun. When we ask what do sports marketers do that’s different from businesses we’re not asking you to build a stadium and hire seasoned athletes.
We’re asking you to think like an entertainer.
Search your mind for the final scores of the last Single-A or AHL hockey games you attended. Can you think of any? Now search those same events for the dizzy bat race, the souvenir promotions, the fireworks, the zany food and drink combos and the mascots. Now you’ve got some memories, right?
The same practice works for your small business. Say you’re trying to sell a product and it’s not flying off the shelves as much as you thought. You know the outcome works because of all the design and technical hours spent perfecting every aspect of it, so why aren’t people buying it?
Because it’s not about the product.
People know what’s right and what’s terrible once they own something, but those same people want to be entertained and enchanted, seduced even when being sold the product. A little flair for the dramatic goes a long way. You could have the tallest, strongest, meanest and most handsome athlete on your team, but if he’s not hitting home runs, who cares?
— Bango (@BucksBango) November 21, 2017
Low Hanging-Fruit is Your Friend
The dizzy bat race is a classic example of getting a whole lot of laughs at the expense of two people trying their damnedest not to fall flat on their face. It’s relatable and timeless. It works with all generations, from Baby Boomers to iGen and can often brighten up a dull night.
If your campaigns are stuck, sometimes the best way to get out of a rut is to do something classical, no matter how ‘bush league’ it may seem at the time. Are you noticing that your competitors see results for certain SEO keywords? Try and use the very same words, with more lights and sounds.
Do you have an unrelated, yet original video you can share on social media? Don’t hesitate to upload it and rake in views. Are sales sluggish in a dire time of the year? Offer a deal nobody can refuse, even with little profit margin guarantee.
Sometimes all you need is a simple solution to reenergize your audience.
Valorous Circle operates with a few basic marketing tenets. Entertain, inspire, educate and instruct or outrage. Outrage is a funny little term because it’s open to interpretation. In the eyes of the sports marketing world, entertaining can mean a nostalgia night or pyro and mascots riding ATVs onto a hockey rink.
Teams can host faith and family nights or charity donation nights to inspire the locals to do more for their communities. Seeing children perk up at a foul ball after receiving a glove as a promotional giveaway serves not only to instruct kids on the machinations of the experience but to educate future generations of lifelong fans on what to expect from local clubs.
Lastly, is to outrage. What do sports marketers do that keeps us coming back for more?
Maybe it’s a Grand Rapids favorite like the 5/3 burger challenge or the Baco – a taco made out of bacon. Or perhaps a trip to New Hampshire is in order, where one can eat ‘The Squealer,’ a sandwich piled high with BBQ pork and bacon and ham and pepperoni and Italian sausage topped off with a bun in the shape of a pig’s face looking right at you.
And that’s just the food. There are dozens of examples of local outfits creating a culture designed to elicit strong reactions in their communities and around the country. Small businesses need to have this same mindset when developing their marketing plans. If you’re not going to be proactive, simplified and daring, it’s time to rethink your overall strategy.
— Waco BlueCats (@wacobluecats) October 13, 2017
— Whitecaps (@wmwhitecaps) May 12, 2015
If you’re searching for the right way to introduce your business, contact Valorous Circle by calling 616-929-0790 or schedule an appointment.