Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sports Marketers: Differentiate Yourself

Social Media is signaling a change in the sports marketing industry, one that is forcing marketers to differentiate themselves.  As an undergraduate student at Northwestern University studying Integrated Marketing, I have been able to find two articles that highlight the importance of such differentiation.

Now, before we start, let’s clarify exactly what I mean by both Digital Marketing and the Sports Industry. According to James Perrin, in his article, "How Digital Marketing is Changing the Sports Industry," Digital Marketing is a term that encompasses modern marketing techniques used online, for example, Social Media, Blogging, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Pay per Click Management (PPC), Branding, Content Marketing, Video Marketing and App creation. As for the Sports Industry, well, this really is as broad as it gets.

      With the explosion of social media platforms, the game has changed both on and off the court, or field, or rink.  Any brand, any athlete, any organization can promote themselves. More importantly, brands and athletes can combine to have a massive effect.  When the two combine, their message is instantly more memorable.  And in a world where thousands of messages are thrown at us per day, this is of the utmost importance.  The graph below displays how large an audience these athletes can bring to a brand on social media.

Forbes dove into all of this and more, and resurfaced with 5 ways that social media will change the sports marketing industry.  The following are their findings, written in their article, "5 Ways The Sports Marketing Industry Is About To Change Forever": (1) Endorsements and sponsorships will increasingly be handled online by online marketplaces, (2) Social marketing will enable influential people in sports to sell products directly to their fans, (3) We’ll soon be able to accurately measure athlete engagement and impact, (4) Sports influencers will work together to create a network effect, (5) Sports agents and managers will have more solutions to monetize their clients and their teams.    

Taking into account the aforementioned insights, I recommend the following three action items to those marketers in the sports industry:

1.  Market Your Expertise- It is a major issue that with social media, everyone (players, teams, etc.) can market themselves.  Thus, the challenge is for marketing entities in the sports industry to demonstrate why they are still extremely valuable.  Show your value, or get knocked right out of the game.

2.  Be Authentic- It is no secret that individuals trust the words of their peers significantly more than those of advertisements.  With social media, all they get is the former. Action needs to be taken to lessen the “advertisy” feel in marketing sports by linking with athletes, teams, etc. for authenticity.

3.  The “Stickiness” Factor- The rise of social media enables individuals to follow a game like never before should they not have access to TV at the moment.  Because so many people are following the live tweets from first whistle to last, it would behoove marketing entities to link their brands with certain sports programming to increase the “stickiness” of those brands.
The sports industry will change forever with social media.  That is a certainty.  What isn't?  Whether or not we can keep up.

     Mitchell Ostrower is a junior at Northwestern University.  He is studying Journalism at the Medill School, in addition to Integrated Marketing Communications and Business.  Looking to break into the sports industry, he has much valuable experience both with the USTA and Deep Focus, an exponentially growing digital marketing firm in New York City. Contact Mitchell on Twitter @MitchOstrower17.  


  1. This looks really an amazing piece of advice. Running an efficient pay per click campaign is just another important part of digital agency. Pay per click management agencies have thus, revolutionized the way digital marketing now functions.

  2. great cources you have... there are big opportunies for sports branding courses

  3. According to your article,
    I got some question! Does it reliable and budget friendly to all?
    Some people does not care about brand,
    is there any alternative of these sports products?
    How long lasting Best sports products ? Hope you response on these point.
    Waiting for your response.
    More over good job and keep it up.