A few months ago, we watched our local team, the Miami Heat, in the NBA championship final against the Mavericks. There was so much buzz created across the country for these games, that we wondered how marketers get the fans going. Our friend Alex Gomez is Vice President of Van Wagner Sports and Entertainment. They’re a full service Sports and Entertainment marketing firm that specializes in retail, media, financial services and pharma consumer and trade marketing initiatives. We asked Alex to share some insight on Sports Marketing and how to keep the fans roaring, EVEN after a loss.
Can you tell us about social media in sports marketing?
Social marketing is incredibly impactful. What’s critical is the “alignment” with a team / player to drive the messaging. It has to be genuine.
When you were in sports radio, what moved the needle in sports marketing on the radio?
We’ve found it to be relatively ineffective for our clients. That said, who can dispute the power of Howard Stern? 1 800 Mattress, Girls Gone Wild, and many other franchises were built off the power of his type of programming.
Is radio used more for branding or sales in sports marketing?
I would say strictly sales. Do you have a recent campaign that you really like? Yes. We did some work for our MetLife client at the Meadowlands leveraging their Jets and Giants sponsorships. The concept wasn’t to necessarily sell insurance onsite, but to differentiate MetLife from their industry peers. In short, we democratized the fan experience through our onsite and online engagements by giving away all of our sponsorship benefits directly to the fan with few conditions.
Does marketing to a fan of a winning team differ much from marketing to fans of a losing team?
It honestly depends on the team. The Cubs haven’t won in generations, but they have an extremely loyal and passionate following. Obviously the ability to capitalize on a team’s on-field success can be leveraged to drive brand awareness, loyalty and ultimately purchase.
With the Miami Heat loss in the NBA finals, how would you maintain excitement/momentum with fans?
The bigger issue is the expiration of the NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as this was a very difficult negotiation. Unlike the NFL, which most industry professionals believe will be resolved imminently, the NBA has many more difficult challenges to address. This would affect someone’s marketing association with the team short term, but, ultimately, teams win and lose and there is always next year. Hope springs eternal in sports and by simply leveraging that through association and marketing, you can build or maintain excitement / momentum with fans.