Back to the Basics (Part II): Core Commandments in Sport Marketing

March 20, 2012

As a marketer, your goal should always be to differentiate your product.  Better yet, there should be a passion to create something so unique that you will set the standard of excellence within your organization and/or program.  Naturally, this will lead to a strong brand and all of the benefits that are associated with effectively activating an innovative marketing plan.  In a recent entry entitled “Back to the Basics: The Real Core Commandments in Sport Marketing,” there were three principles presented that sport organizations and programs should strongly consider when developing and implementing their key marketing initiatives.  In many ways, these should serve as the values that drive daily decisions when attempting to build your brand with consumers. At the core of these principles is the ability to make sure that the “Consumer Comes First” (Commandment #1) in all of your decisions.  After all, they are the individuals who you will target in your efforts to build a loyal fan base.  With this mentality, you take the first step towards ensuring that you can achieve your marketing goals in an efficient manner.  However, there are other areas that are certainly worth considering if you want to truly differentiate your product.  Rather than making this a big ordeal, why not just cut to the chase and present three new “Core Commandments in Sport Marketing” that organizations/programs can use to enhance their marketing efforts.

Commandment #4 – Be Fanatical About Having Fun: No doubt that the influence here comes from the legendary Bill Veeck.  Through his creativity and aggressive approach, he is a person that completely transformed marketing in the sport industry.  While he had many unique attributes, one of his greatest skills was his ability to make an environment entertaining for his consumers.  No surprise that he was able to achieve this given his passion to make his product really fun for his consumers. This was such a high priority for him that he reiterated this theme in one of his primary Veeck sport marketing commandments: “Never do a promotion that you do not think is fun.” Building on this principle, he added that you will insult your consumers if you choose to carry out marketing initiatives that you are not passionate about.  Naturally, these need a dose of creativity if you are going to believe in them.  So, to put the finishing touches on this commandment, making having fun an absolute priority when engaging in your marketing efforts.  When you are passionate about creating a fun, entertaining product for your primary target marketings, you will put yourself into a position to truly differentiate your product.

Commandment #5 – Intentionally Invest in New Media: Most high level sport executives will tell you that new media (and social network sites) is the wave of the future in effectively engaging younger generations of consumers.  Given the fact that younger generations make up your future fan base (and primary revenue streams), this means that sport organizations and programs must invest in new media initiatives if they are going to be successful in engaging consumers with their product(s).  When focusing on social network site presence, there are so many steps that sport organizations should consider when attempting to engage consumers in an innovative manner.  In addition to investing in solid themed content (released on a regular basis), sport marketers would be smart to consider the specific strategies to engage their consumers on an intimate level.  One primary example of this has been the presence that 2x NCAA Champion and World Champion Jordan Burroughs has developed via Twitter.  In addition to interacting on a regular basis, he has released creative promotions designed specifically for his key target markets.  For example, he had a competition where he asked followers to tweet pictures of their best double leg takedown.  Naturally, with younger wrestlers being his primary segment, he had an incredible amount of responses and his creative approach allowed him to continue to build his brand.  As you can see in his featured profile picture, this promotion has reinforced one of his patented moves in the sport.  Building on this, sport organizations and programs should continue to identify specific ways that they can engage primary segments.  Even better if this allows them to provide content that will extend their interest level among followers on Facebook and Twitter (see Alumni Spotlight in video below).

Commandment #6 – Master the Art of “Matching Target Markets”: In previous ELSM entries, we have visited the importance of segmentation and the ability to understand the unique characteristics of your primary market segments.  However, given the unique nature of the sport industry, these are not the only areas you need to consider when carrying out a marketing plan.  If you want to create a truly entertaining product, you need to comprehend the concept of matching target markets.  In essence, this is the ability to effectively identify potential sponsors with similar target markets to the ones that you are able to attract to your events.  Once you know these entities, you have a far greater chance of entering in to successful sponsorship agreements.  On the sponsor side, you have the foundation necessary to deliver consumers who will be interested in their product(s).  On the sport organization side, you can work with the sponsor to identify “in-kind benefits” that will enhance the entertainment offered at your events.  I can’t think of a sport organization/program that would not benefit from a successful sponsorship interaction.


Being great in marketing takes an intentional, strategic approach on a daily basis.  In addition to having specific goals that you want to achieve, it is equally important to know the specific values (commandments) that will guide you on a daily basis.  Ultimately, this will allow you to stay focused on the areas that are most important to you when things get hectic.  Hopefully these commandments are ones that will help you to take your marketing efforts to a new level.  If one of them makes a difference, then I have done my job.

“When it comes to marketing, do you very best to deliver an outstanding product.  Once you have done this, evaluate and do a little better”


About ELSMarketing

ELSM is a company that specializes in the development and implementation of innovative marketing plans for sport organizations, businesses, and programs. By focusing on the client’s goals and expectations, we strive to develop strategies that will build the brand of the entity in a way that will ensure future success. The bottom line is that we are committed to working with entities who are looking to take themselves to the next level from a marketing standpoint. While there are a variety of strategies that we implement to achieve this, it starts with the values we have in place for our company. Here at ELSM, “Innovation is the Expectation!”
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