Marketing strategy

Examples of sports marketing to inspire your marketing strategy

Attention to the female public; ever-increasing personalization; New Technology Frontiers: These are a few key areas that sports marketing is focusing on. Here are some examples of sports marketing!





Sport occupies an increasingly important place in our lives. First a healthy and active life is now a top priority for a growing number of people around the world.

That’s not all. There is also the side of the sports industry that is closely linked to entertainment: from classic matches in stadiums, arenas or any type of sports center, to esports, which take place in fully digital arenas. In this area too, there are major changes: ways of “seeing sport” are changing at an increasingly rapid pace. Sports facilities themselves are becoming more and more technological and “user-friendly”, first of all. Then there are the classic television channels, which have multiplied. Streaming and on demand services have revolutionized the way they can be enjoyed. Without speaking about social networks and new ways of communicating with stars, top influencers, but also “micro” and “nano” influencers.

In short, the sports industry has changed and continues to do so at an ever faster pace, in all its complex and interwoven aspects. Field marketers are “doomed” to be dynamic, to stay up to date, to always look to the futuretowards what moves on the horizon, trying to see it before the competition.

On our blog, we published a post that focuses on the changes in marketing and communication in the sports sectorto which we refer you for all relevant information.

In another article, we focused on new trends, identifying the 10 most important and promising.

Now we want to get even more concrete and talk about successful sports marketing examples that we can learn from.

We have chosen to divide them into three distinct sections, which will allow us to focus on three general themesthree different trends that these campaigns have successfully attempted to intercept.

The first concerns the expansion of the target audience, with attention to the massive growth of the female audience.

The second is the emphasis on personalizationwhich is perhaps the most incisive shift that digital has brought to marketing and communication.

In the third and final section, we will look at the use of the most advanced technologies make an impact on these sports marketing success stories, such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. Today we are only at the beginning, but it is already clear that the future of sports marketing could come from here, with enormous margins of development.

More and more women – “This girl can.”

Among the most notable and important changes in the sports sector is certainly the expansion of the target audience and the diversification of the target itself.

This growth concerns both the fitness and sportswear side, and that of “sports shows” in general.

First of all, it’s geographic expansion. For example, today it is much more common for an Italian to follow any American league (from NBA to NFL to MLB). But think what expanding into the Asian market means in terms of the numbers…

There is also an expansion in age: more seniors are playing sports, or have an interest in them in some other way (on this subject, see our article devoted to trends in the sector where we also looked into this aspect). Sport as a fundamental element of the education of children is gaining ground even in regions of the world and in societies which had little interest in it before.

Corn decisive growth concerns gender; i.e. – approximately – 50% of the population (…let’s think about it!).

Sport, for some time, is no longer a “male affair”, and it is less and less. The increase in female viewership is a continuing and steadily rising trend. All the indicators are pointing in this direction, and all the big brands have noticed it.

Here is an example of a huge success: the “This Girl Can” campaign, created by Sport England (a UK government body, linked to the Sports Council). It was launched in 2015, with a dedicated websitea multi-channel approachHigh quality videoand also the “culture” of a community around the project, in particular on social networks (thisgirlcan.co.uk).

The stated aim was to close the gender gap in sports participation in Britain.

The results?

Within just one year, the main campaign video had received 37 million views (considering only YouTube and Facebook).

Moreover, according to independent researchers, approximately 2.8 million women aged 14-40 were influenced by the campaign, and were led to change their habits and their attitude towards sport. Of these, up to 1.6 million said they had started playing sports or exercising (bbc.com).

The impact on social media has been profound: just type the hashtag #thisgirlcan on Twitter or Instagram to see it for yourself.

In short, a stunning success, so much so that the campaign was replicated several timestrying – unsurprisingly – to widen the target audience to female audiences over 60 (marketingweek.com).

Always more personal – Nike and Adidas

Digital transformation has radically revolutionized marketing across all industries, and the sports industry is certainly no exception.

The impact of digital has been enormous and multifaceted. But the heart of this paradigm shift is the gigantic and unprecedented availability of data on its audienceits target.

In other words, it is now possible to know your own audience, even extensive, following its digital footsteps. As a result, it is possible to cut it into coherent segments to be intercepted by tailor-made marketing and communication actions.

That’s what we mean when we talk about big data analytics and data-driven marketing (and we’ve dedicated an entire article to this topic on the sports industry. You can find it here: The role of Big Data in sports marketing.

But that’s not all. For some time now, the keyword that has been gaining traction has been “personalization”.

So, go beyond the identification of audience poles, to really target individuals. This is personalized marketing, handled by specialized companies like Doxee: it is adapted to individuals, individualized and constantly evolving.

Are there examples of successful sports marketing that we can refer to?

Mike Parker, CEO of Nikesaid the legendary sports brand’s goal is to “be more and more personal, on a large scale.(qz.com).

And from words came actions, on many fronts. First of all, the personalized Nike+ apps, for example, have an average spend per user of three times that of the nike.com store (qz.com).

Then there is the whole side of portable devices, another very valuable source of targeted and personal data (thenextweb.com). But customization has also been put on track for major event sponsorships (see the case of FIFA World Cup 2018 here).

One of Nike’s earliest competitors comes to mind… Adidas.

Even this historic brand has decided to focus more on personalization (retailtouchpoints.com).

For us, one thing seems very clear: if two industry giants, who have been competing for decades, agree on one point, this point must be really important. And this point, as we have seen, is called personalization.

It’s not science fiction anymore – Virtual Reality, Manchester United and others

According to many experts, the future of marketing could come from certain technologies that, until yesterday, seemed almost science fiction.

We are talking about Virtual reality, augmented reality and hybrid reality.

Many brands in the sports industry have made, or are making, interesting experiments in this direction.

Here we recall the story Manchester United football team, which first (in 2017) implemented virtual reality projects for its fans and spectators in the stadium, in collaboration with Oculusa division of Facebook, all focused on VR projects (wearesocial.com).

From football to motors: Read Bull’s Formula 1 team uses Virtual Reality to give fans the experience of the circuit aboard one of its single-seaters (see here).

Then came the first experiments concerning the sportswear sector: think about the possibility of “virtually trying on” a pair of shoes to assess their aesthetics and functionality.

The fields that these new technologies will open up are yet to be explored.

What these successful examples of sports marketing show us is that we have to let’s keep our eyes open. That you have to be bold, identify trends upstream, but also monitor closely Numbers and Data. It’s about balance.




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