If you’re going to play the game, you have to know the field. That’s true in every area in life in which you have to strategize to get ahead. Sports marketing is no different. If you are marketing for a team that operates in the same region as other professional teams, you are undoubtedly competing for fans to a certain extent. As in all areas of business, you have to know and plan for the competition to build a successful marketing plan. Yes, knowing the distribution of market share is useful, but even more so is knowing how each team is attracting said market share, especially if theirs is higher than yours.
Here are some important questions to ask yourself when considering this competitive landscape.
- How do they get new fans to buy in the long-term?
- Who do they focus on as a target audience for their marketing efforts?
- Should their target audience and ours be the same, or is there an area of opportunity they are leaving open?
- *Consider the very useful Blue Ocean Strategy
- What are their strategic alliances?
This last item on the list is one I have been contemplating lately. It can be extremely useful to understand what sponsors other teams are working with and how. Can you learn something from the way the teams around you utilize their strategic alliances? How do their sponsors help promote the team outside the arena, court, or stadium?
As the last example indicates, you should keep in mind that, when scoping out your competitive landscape, you are not only learning about them, you may also learn from them. After all, what better way to win than by beating someone at their own game?