Sports marketing trends to follow for greater success

Author 22
Lorraine Moalosi
Sports marketing trends to follow

Are you, like us, passionate about innovating so you can deliver a world-class supporter experience to your fans? Do you however struggle with finding the right sources of quality information? Do you also find that articles on the internet leave you feeling confused instead of informed? If you answered yes to either one of these questions, then this post is for you. In this post, we will walk you through 5 powerful sports marketing trends to follow for greater success.

What do we mean by “greater success”? We simply mean that by following these trends, you will experience your best year yet. You will knock all your KPIs out of the park. By heeding our advice on top sports marketing trends to follow, you will stand a better chance at winning.

So without further ado, let’s dive right into, “sports marketing trends to follow for greater success”. 

Before we dive right in...

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    Women holding a laptop next to a orange robot
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    Be data-driven

    One of the best sports marketing trends to follow is to be data-driven. To be honest, this is a trend that you should have jumped on years ago. So if you are not data-driven, you are a bit late to the party. However, don’t beat yourself down because it is never too late to get started. 

    Why did we start off this “sports marketing trends to follow” list with being data-driven? Because being data-driven is the one and only true way that your sports organization could ever reach its full potential. We highly recommend that you check out our podcast, The Sports CDP crash course to find out more on this topic. Episodes 1 to 3 are especially relevant because they lay down the foundation for why being data-driven is one of the best sports marketing trends to follow, if not the best. 

    Let’s look at the benefits and challenges of being data-driven and what you can do to make the process of being/becoming data-driven easier. 

    Benefits of being data-driven

    The benefits of being data-driven are too vast and too multidimensional for us to list them all here. So we have selected a few that we know will be of interest to you. Here are some of them:

    1. Increased revenue
    2. Increased ticket and merchandise sales
    3. Understand and reach your supporters better through segmentation and personalization. 
    4. Improved fan engagement
    5. Better supporter attraction strategy
    6. Identify high-value supporters and retain them
    7. Leads to accurate decision making based on real data insights
    8. Effective and streamlined working through data democratization
    9. Sustainable and consistent growth through having a reliable data source
    10. Better monitoring and reporting of marketing efforts 
    11. Can identify what works and what needs improving in your marketing strategy by analyzing data
    12. Better sponsorship and partnership deals

    Challenges to being data-driven

    For a long time, becoming data-driven was a difficult task because most solutions that offered to help organizations become more data-driven were limited. For example, collecting and analyzing data was reserved for the IT department. Another challenge was that data was viewed as a by-product of business and not an asset. Furthermore, it was very difficult to centralize data so organizations such as yours couldn’t really reap the full benefits of being data-driven. 

    However, since the invention of Customer Data Platforms (CDPs), most of these problems have been addressed. Problems such as:

    • data stored in many different places  – with a CDP you can store all your data in one place. That means that you can centralize your data.
    • data in silos – when you have data in a CDP it means you are no longer working in silos.
    • obsolete data – data in a CDP is updated with every interaction your supporters have with your organization. So you can always rely on this data.
    • incomplete data – the best thing about a CDP is that it unifies all your supporter data so that you have a 360-degree view of your supporters. You will therefore have no blind spots when it comes to understanding your supporters.

    So there is absolutely no reason whatsoever your organization should still not be data-driven.  What’s even better is that there are sports CDP as well. That is, CDPs that are specifically made with sports organizations in mind. The Data Talks CDP is one such CDP for example.

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    Prioritizing women's sports

    This trend is probably one of the most exciting and most welcome sports marketing trends of 2022! We are passionate about women’s sports, so we are really excited to see the growth that women’s sports have been experiencing. What we are even more excited about is seeing women’s sports growth rate accelerate. 

    Current problems women in sports face

    Current problems women in sport face
    Sport New Zealand
    Did you know that:
    • barriers to sports participation are significantly higher for women than men
    • on average females are more likely to want to participate in sports than their male counterparts 
    • females are more likely than males to be dissatisfied with their club experience.
    Let us ask you this then, does your organization have a women’s division? If not, why not? And if you do have one, have you:
    1. been investing in them the best way you possibly can?
    2. given them the same marketing push as your men’s division?
    3. prioritized their needs and wants?
    The reason we ask you this question is that studies show that women don’t get the same visibility, marketing push, or investment as their male counterparts. This is not only a problem from an equality point of view but did you know that you are actually losing out on money by not investing more in your women’s division. So by prioritizing women’s sports, you are creating a win-win situation for everyone involved, the women themselves, your organization, the sports industry, and society at large.

    Why prioritizing women’s sports is one of the best marketing trends to follow

    Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that including women in sports is just social activism. Of course, there is a social and ethical aspect of creating equal opportunities because we all want to live in a society where everyone has equal opportunities. However, there is more to it than that. In fact, women’s sports have proven:

    1. to generate substantial TV audiences
    2. deliver value to sponsors
    3. draw tens of thousands of fans per event 

    So reducing women’s sports as just “a necessity” or just “social activism” is a huge disservice to us all.

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    Use over-the-top-streaming services (OTT)

    Do you know what OTT is? Over-the-top streaming services. OTT is basically an online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. This is one of the most lucrative sports marketing trends to follow. Why?

    There are many great reasons for using OTT. These include: 

    1. Studies show that OTT is not just a cool sports marketing trend to follow just this year, but rather it is something you want to keep investing in because it will only keep growing.
    Chart over Global OTT TV Forecast
    1. Your content will be in many places at once. Unlike traditional TV broadcasting, OTT is not limited by geographical location or device type. Therefore your supporters can view your content anywhere in the world on whatever device they choose. For example, they can watch your content on their phones or tablets at their convenience.
    A presentation over how the user uses streaming services
    1. OTT provides you with a great monetization scheme that can boost your organization’s revenue.
    2. OTT is extremely popular and common thus helping you stay relevant and connected to your supporters. 

    So as far as sports marketing trends to follow go, you definitely do not want to miss out on this one either.

    How sports organizations can go omnichannel: the ultimate guide

    Find out more about our sports CDP

    and get answers to questions like, what are the benefits of using a CDP, what differentiates a CDP from other systems, and how to calculate the CDP ROI by reading our Ultimate Sports CDP guide. The more you read the more confident you will become about heading down this path.
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    Content is King

    Content is king, so you need to create more bespoke, compelling, and moving content. This is one of the most powerful sports marketing trends to follow.

    “We all know by now that content is king. It’s the golden ticket to connecting with new and existing audiences. But where content was once seen as a means to generate earned media, it’s now becoming a primary component in earning incremental revenue. In the same way, a broadcaster will pay for media rights to air a sporting event, commercial partners see the value in producing bespoke and compelling video pieces that can articulate a message beyond the scope of their product or service. And in the business world, the cost of something most often articulates its value. So, in order to keep up, sports brands have to start looking at their custom, co-branded content as a means to make money, not to break even, but to generate actual revenue”.

    The General Manager, Marketing & Communications at USA Rugby, Aalina Tabani had this to say about this subject matter

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    Use a sports customer data platform (CDP)

    Do you know some of the top drivers of the rapid growth the CDP market has been experiencing are?
    1. Data-dependent digital transformation programs across various industries including the sports industry
    2. Privacy-driven focus on first-party data instead of third-party cookies 
    3. Customer demands for a more personalized experience
    Using a sports CDP is one of the most important and impactful sports marketing trends to follow today. That’s because CDPs revolutionize the very fabric of your organization and how it works. When using a CDP you achieve both immediate and compounded results. In the immediate, for example, you:
    1. Unify all your databases to get one source of truth that will underpin all your marketing decisions 
    2. Use that data to power your segmentation and personalization efforts to  make sure your marketing activities always are engaging and relevant to each of your supporters
    3. Make this data available for everyone thus effectively empowering every team member in your organization to make informed decisions
    4. Reduce blind spots by having the most complete and up-to-date data source so you can build powerful and long term marketing solutions
    And in the long term, you:
    1. Increase revenue by acting on your best data-driven marketing insights
    2. Save money, effort, and time for coming up with creative marketing campaigns instead of spending it on trying to gather enough data to underpin your decision making
    3. Experience sustainable and replicable growth on all the KPIs that matter to you such as fan engagement and sold-out arena games.
    For these reasons, using a CDP is one of the best sports marketing trends to follow.

    So why a sports CDP and not any other solution?

    For many years, marketers all over the world and across all industries have struggled to find a tool that:

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    Can store ALL supporter data in one place

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    Keeps the purest and cleanest supporter data by unifying it and removing duplicates

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    Is easy to use and understand and does not require specialized IT skills to make sense of the data

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    Make data available for everyone within the team to access whenever and wherever they need it

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    Keeps this data constantly updated

    That is what a CDP does and a whole lot more. That’s what makes using a sports marketing CDP one of the most powerful sports marketing trends to follow.

    Bonus tips: what you can do with a CDP

    A CDP is a gift that keeps on giving because it not only gives you real results, it also gives you compounded results and optimizes your marketing spend. What do we mean by this? We mean that, with just one tool, you can:

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    Can build a database that you can use to:
    1. Power your segmentation
    2. Deliver precise and effective personalized content to your fans
    3. Negotiate higher sponsorship and partnership deals
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    Grow your revenue by:
    1. Increasing ticket sales and filling up your stand way more often than you currently are
    2. Increasing merchandise sales
    3. Leveraging new revenue opportunities such as ad revenue from OTT
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    Grow sustainably by:
    1. Having a reliable data source
    2. Monitoring marketing campaigns and then responding appropriately in a timely manner
    3. Having an informed and empowered team that only acts on real insights derived from the sports CDP

    This is definitely a sports marketing trend you don’t want to miss out on.

    Conclusion

    Marketing in general changes rapidly. So one of the biggest and most consistent sports marketing trends to follow is, “be agile”, especially digitally. You want to remain open-minded to trends and implement them. Trying to hang on to old ways of doing things is not a good sports marketing strategy. So, what you want is to keep evolving as the times evolve.

    The reason we named being data-driven first in this “sports marketing trends to follow” list is that everything on this list and most sports marketing trends of the future will depend on your ability to be data-driven. For example, you cannot use OTT and produce the right content for your supporters if you don’t have the data on them. In addition, you cannot prioritize women’s sports in the ways that matter without having the right data.

    It is well and good to have data. But if your data is not reliable, then you are not getting the best actionable insights out of it. You want to have reliable data that is always up to date that you can use to meet all your organization’s goals.

    What you can get out of your data

    To recapitulate and reiterate the importance of your data, this is what your data can help you achieve:

    1. Increased ticket sales
    2. Increased merchandise sales
    3. Higher sponsorship and partnership value
    4. Greater fan engagement and relevance
    5. Agility in response to current sports marketing trends
    6. Leverage new revenue opportunities

    …and this is not even a comprehensive list. So, why not try our sports Customer Data Platform (CDP) to see how we can help you get the most out of your data.

    a 3D dashboard from Data Talks CDP analytics framework

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