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Volume 24 No. 114
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'13 Game Changers: Marketing Effectively To Women Through Sports

When it comes to marketing effectively to women through sports, the challenge is not just hitting the target, it is figuring out where the target is. During the '13 Game Changers Conference in N.Y., AmEx VP/Global Media, Sponsorships & Experimental Marketing Rich Lehrfeld said, “All of us market towards women, but the question is, are you singling them out and saying, ‘Hey, you women, this is for you?’ We don’t do that.” Lehrfeld was part of a panel discussing how corporate marketers reach women through sports and entertainment. He was joined by Unilever VP/Marketing for Skincare Rob Candelino, MillerCoors Senior Dir of Coors, Molson & Foster Brands Sarah Ross, and T-Mobile Dir of Sponsorships & Events Meredith Starkey.

CONTEXT IS KEY: Lehrfeld said, "What we’ve learned over time in marketing is, you can do things you don’t even notice you’re doing. That’s the area we are hypersensitive to.” For Candelino, whose company is behind the Dove brand, it is about choosing sponsorship opportunities that sync with the brand’s image as an advocate for women, especially with regard to positive body image. “Our way of impacting girls’ lives is what guides us,” he said. “We believe sports plays a huge role.” For example, Dove will be the presenting sponsor for the 42nd annual Family Circle Cup in '14, a women’s tennis tournament that is the largest of its kind. Candelino: “We jump in when it’s contextually relevant. That’s when we do sports properties.”

Ross stressed the importance of occasion
marketing in reaching female consumers

NOT HOME ALONE: Ross said that while it is important not to overemphasize the differences between the sexes in marketing, you do have to be aware of how men and women consume sports. Occasion marketing -- a key emphasis for Coors -- takes on increased importance in reaching women consumers who are more likely to watch sports in social settings. Ross: “I’m using generalities, but there’s usually less time spent at home alone watching football. It’s more taverns, restaurants, with larger groups of friends. It’s a very social occasion. The key is to create an inclusive experience.”

SOCIAL ANIMALS: Panelists saw the mix of people watching sports as becoming more diverse, with the millennial generation especially opening up new opportunities for experiential marketers. “It’s less about guys going out and doing stuff together,” Lehrfeld said. “It’s more father-son, father-daughter, husband-wife. The experience is becoming more of a social, with friends and family, in a much greater way.”