Whether it’s your preferred workout gear or your favourite team, few industries exemplify loyalty like sports. Determining what factors cause such rabid devotion and drive brand value is a full-time job for marketing analysts, team owners and product manufacturers alike. Here are some insights that might explain what makes a fan a superfan, no matter if the object of their affection is shoes, merchandising or an athlete.
The Aim of the Game is Retention
A hot new design or a winning streak are enough to bring interest, but once you get them in the store or the seats, it’s all about keeping them coming back. Brand loyalty is bigger than a specific event, and it even supersedes price or performance. Someone who’s loyal to Nike will pay almost any price, and Nike knows this; it’s than main factor in every marketing strategy.
Companies want to retain their current fan or customer base because keeping people loyal is more cost-effective than attracting new clients. This is something that sports marketing professionals know well. Instilling loyalty is a long and intensive process in any industry, but in sports, performance and image are everything.
Brand loyalty is a platform built on seven planks:
* Name recognition
* Product quality
* Customer service
* Quality and style
* Sales platform
The most important factor is promotion, and that includes building an image. It’s a fact that good promotion, coupled with an identifiable image, is the basis of branding. Using practices like product placement, celebrity endorsements, psychology and hitting the right emotional triggers can be very effective in selling almost any product or idea, even in a bad economy.
You’ve Got ‘Em Hooked, Now What?
As much as loyalty plays a part in the success of enterprises ranging from Fortune 500 companies to your local sporting goods store, reaching the top doesn’t mean you can rest on your past successes. That where retention plays a part, but you’ve got to grow your customer base as well. There will always be a newer, bigger better thing coming down the pike. The fight to remain at the top brings two words come to mind: innovation and focus.
Successful companies are always moving forward, developing new products and innovations. This is based in part on extensive marketing research. However, you still have to remember where you came from. Innovation doesn’t deviate in chaotic directions. It builds on previous success,
The other piece of this puzzle is focus. Find a niche that is successful, associate your product or service with a particular emotion or activity. When you think of famous brands, you can usually associate the name of the product with a feeling. Certain soda or beer brands evoke refreshment. Using Nike as an example again, the brand and logo both bring to mind fitness and athletic prowess.
Your Future as a Sports Marketer
World-wide, sports marketing is a $700bn a year industry, and it is expected to keep growing. Every facet in the world of sports competition and fitness epitomizes marketing and branding at their best. To be a successful sports marketer, it helps to study the most successful brands in sports – both performance and apparel – and how they use the fundamentals of marketing and psychology to stay on top.
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