How to Become a Sports Marketing Master in Your Spare Time

There are numerous opportunities in the sports marketing field. However, not all of them are created equal. Some can be extremely challenging, while others can be quite lucrative. The good news is that you can build your own personal brand, allowing you to specialize in the areas you enjoy most. Below, we’ll lay out the steps to follow to become a top-notch sports marketer. In addition, we’ll discuss the various opportunities available, as well as impart some invaluable wisdom about becoming a successful professional in this exciting field.

Decide Which Type Of Sports Marketer You Want to Be

One of the first things you’ll need to do is figure out which type of sports marketer you want to be. This really depends on you, but there are a few classic profiles to follow. If you’re looking to make money quickly and easily, you might want to consider becoming a contract sports marketer. In a nutshell, a contract sports marketer is someone who is paid on a per-event basis to promote a certain sports team or athlete. The better, the more lucrative, the contracts are, the more you’ll enjoy doing this type of work. On the other hand, if you want to be an entrepreneur in the sports marketing industry and enjoy the challenges that come with scaling a business, you might want to consider becoming a free agent sports marketer. Lastly, if you want to be a well-rounded sports marketer and understand the ins and outs of marketing for sports teams, you should consider becoming a general manager. These are the basic building blocks of any successful sports marketing business. With this in mind, take some time to evaluate your interests, strengths, and suitability for each type of position.

Join The Association

Even though you can operate completely on your own, you’ll never get too far if you don’t have the proper licensing or certification. In the US, the only licensing requirement for sports marketers is to be a member of the Sports Marketing Association (SMA). Joining the SMA doesn’t cost anything, and it opens up a world of opportunities for you. By becoming a member of this professional organization, you’ll be able to network with some of the top-notch sports marketers in the country. Furthermore, the SMA will ensure you’re always up-to-date on the latest techniques and trends in the industry. Finally, being a member of the SMA also gives you the opportunity to apply for membership in the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) or the National Association of Public Relations Firms (NAPR). These are the two primary trade associations for sports marketers, making the SMA the de facto standard for this type of professional.

Understand The Role Of Marketing In Sports

It is important to understand the role of marketing in sports and why it is so vital to the sport itself. In the simplest terms, marketing in sports is the process of getting people to buy into, and ultimately support, the activity or hobby of sports. More specifically, marketing in sports is “the activity of creating awareness and desire for a product or service among a target audience through various channels and platforms.” (MarketingCharts.com). This process varies from brand to brand, but it usually starts with some type of advertising. To that end, let’s examine some of the more prominent types of advertising used by sports teams and their impact on the sports industry.

TV And Radio Spots

Television and radio spots remain two of the most prominent types of advertising used by teams and athletes. These types of ads usually consist of some combination of the following:

  • Brand awareness
  • Product/service positioning
  • Product/service comparisons
  • Celebrity endorsements
  • In-house commercials
  • Public service announcements
  • Live events
  • Interactive marketing

What’s so great is that you can identify specific demographics within the sports audience, based on their interests and behaviors. This makes it easier for an advertiser to target the right audience and ensure maximum effectiveness of the ad. In today’s digital world, however, the method of reaching an audience has changed. Now, with the click of a button, an advertiser can reach more people than ever before. While this may seem great, it also makes it much more difficult to reach a certain audience. Having a clear target audience in mind when designing these types of ads can help guarantee maximum effectiveness.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing is the process of sending mail, text messages, or faxes to an audience of potential customers. Not every type of direct marketing is created equal, however. Some forms of direct marketing can be extremely effective when strategically designed and executed. One of the best examples of direct marketing that effectively promotes a brand or product is a promotional letter. A promotional letter is very similar to an advertising pitch letter, with the primary difference being that the former is sent to potential customers, while the latter is sent to an advertiser. This type of direct marketing frequently includes some combination of the following:

  • Product/service examples
  • Feature comparisons
  • Case studies
  • In-product endorsements
  • Pricing structures
  • Additional product details
  • Customer reviews
  • Images or clips from previous or upcoming events
  • Links to online or offline resources
  • Direct phone numbers

Promotional letters are extremely versatile and can be used to promote a brand, product, service, website, or upcoming event. To that end, there are numerous templates available online that you can use to create your own personalized letter. As you can see, not every type of direct marketing is created equal, and it’s important to find the right tool for the job.

Internet And Email Marketing

The internet and email marketing are also extremely important aspects of any successful sports marketing strategy. In fact, without a strong online component, it’s very difficult to promote a brand or product in today’s overcrowded marketplace. This is especially relevant for small businesses and entrepreneurs, who might not have the budget for traditional advertising. As a general rule of thumb, online marketing includes the following:

  • E-mail marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Blogging
  • YouTube
  • Podcasts
  • Forums
  • Reminders
  • Newsletters
  • Shopping carts
  • Virtual tours

In terms of marketing on the internet, e-mail marketing is one of the most effective means of reaching an audience. This is because we live in a digital world, and most people use e-mail as an essential part of their everyday lives. As a result, whenever an advertiser decides to run a campaign via e-mail, it will inevitably reach a large audience, potentially turning them into customers. This is why e-mail marketing is so important for any type of business, but it is especially crucial for sports marketers, who might want to target specific demographics.

With regard to social media marketing, creating a brand identity on social media is essential for any business, but it’s particularly relevant for sports marketers. To that end, every business should have a presence on at least several major social media platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. By establishing a strong online presence, a brand or business can gain valuable insight into what resonates with their audience. Furthermore, on social media, an advertiser can engage with potential or existing customers through a variety of different mediums, including:

  • Photos
  • Videos
  • Groups
  • Shopping lists
  • Q&As
  • Events
  • Bulletins
  • Games
  • Polling
  • News feeds

To create a presence on social media, a brand or business should consider using a social media platform, or a combination of them. To that end, let’s examine the role of a few prominent social media platforms in terms of brand building and marketing success.

Facebook

Facebook is the oldest and, in many ways, the most prestigious of the major social media platforms. This is because Facebook was originally created for college students to keep in touch and to share information with one another. Over the years, however, Facebook has evolved into a multifunctional social media platform, used by millions of people around the world. This makes it one of the most prominent platforms available, used for everything from simple social interactions to brand awareness and marketing success.