Sports Marketing Forecast: Reaching the Next Generation

The closing panel at the 2014 IMG World Congress of Sports focused on how to reach the next generation of consumers. Brand-side marketers gave their thoughts on a variety of topics, such as where to put dollars, addressing digital natives, bringing some marketing in-house and the importance of having sports as part of marketing budgets.

Panelists included Honda Assistant VP/Auto Advertising Tom Peyton, Callaway Golf Senior VP/Marketing Harry Arnett, AAA Mid-Atlantic Exec VP & CMO Marke Dickinson, IMG College Senior VP/National Sales Andrew Judelson and Vizio VP/Product Marketing Lily Knowles.

Dickinson on where his company looks to put dollars: “To reach consumers, particularly within sports, you have to look a little younger. Our core demographic tends to be a little older. Those younger consumers are looking to engage across multiple platforms, so they’re not just looking for one aspect or another. Even if they’re in a stadium, they’re looking to have a mobile experience. So how can we provide content and meaningful experiences and touch points so it’s stimulating and worth their while.”

Arnett on addressing digital natives (younger demos): “We have an older consumption target, but a younger influence target. The ways to communicate to those groups are so varied. The more that you invest in something you think is going to have a year or two life cycle for younger demos, the more you realize it’s going to have a one-week life cycle. It’s really following the consumption habits of hippies back 35 years ago. So what Callaway has done is invest more in an ability to communicate to them from the creative side knowing that dissemination of that content is likely to change daily.”

Judelson on properties giving up their own social media vs. having vague links to sponsors: “I definitely don’t think it’ll happen to the level that a partner would be seeking it. I would surmise that the worst words you can hear on the sales side when you discuss social media are, ‘I’ll throw it in as value added.’ If someone is asking for it, there’s discreet value in it. So our ability to monetize social media is very important as a discreet line item in a deal. In our nearly 75 tier-1 college property partners, we have Twitter, Facebook, etc., and those partners see it as more valuable than the official athletic sites that we also control because of the direct connection and linkage to a consumer.”

Knowles on social marketing: “Last year, we started a program called ‘Fandemonium’ that is sort of a hybrid of a social community and a loyalty program. The goal there was to test the waters to see how we could use social media to get that fan engagement that you cannot get through one event. It has proven successful so far in the first phase. The fans get excited on two fronts. First. we don’t have a huge amount of media dollars to be able to get the word out when we have product launches, so this gets the news out faster. The other thing is that when there are ‘hot’ offers, it helps our retailers to drive traffic in stores.”
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