||Sports Marketing: A Real Catch -- How Baseball Connects with Mom
With the start of a new baseball season comes a new opportunity for baseball teams big and small to begin building a deep relationship with one of their core customers: Moms.
It is Mom who often puts the game on the family schedule, Mom who tries to find the best deal for tickets, and Mom who makes sure her son gets the player jersey he really wants. How do baseball teams successfully win with Mom? Take a page from their playbook for your own brand strategies:
Use Social Media Wisely: It's where the moms are, and teams throughout MLB are working hard to connect with them via the networks they frequent -- including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. You will find ticket and merchandise deals posted on team Facebook pages, mascots with their own active Twitter accounts and tailgate recipes on Pinterest.
Some teams, like the Chicago White Sox, host special events for mom bloggers and writers -- allowing them to share via their own social media networks. It isn't just about having social media, it's about using it to connect with Mom and her family in unique and relevant ways.
Create an Experience: Baseball teams know that it isn't always just about the game -- it's about an opportunity for families to spend quality time together. Many teams host special family-themed days that include kids-only activities such as player autograph sessions, and stadiums add kid-friendly elements such as kid batting cages to make attending the game just part of the overall fun. Think beyond your core product or service offering and see what else you can offer to make the relationship more of an experience -- not just a transaction.
Pay Attention to Real Costs: We often associate pricing with just our product, but what does it really cost a family to engage with your brand? For baseball teams, that "real" cost often includes purchasing multiple tickets and parking -- a cost that the White Sox took into consideration when they created Family Sunday.
"For many years, we have worked hard to create one of the very best family environments in all of baseball," said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. "As we continue to closely listen to fans regarding the cost of the ballpark experience, the Family Sunday promotion is our next move in creating affordable seating options in both the lower and upper levels of the park as well as discounted parking."
Make sure you are looking at the real costs for families and see if you can design a package that truly makes it an affordable -- and valuable -- opportunity.
Focus on Community Involvement: Yes, teams often host community-focused events inside their stadiums, but the teams that are really connecting with moms and families are moving the involvement out into the community. Participating in fundraisers and supporting local youth baseball programs are just some of the ways teams are getting involved outside of their stadiums.
Some are taking it one step further and actually enlisting the help of their fans. Through the White Sox Volunteer Corps, fans work with players and staff to make a positive impact on the community by getting involved with organizations such as the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Moms have an innate desire to help other moms and families and often look for brands that allow them to do just that.
(Source: Patti Minglin, Engage: Moms blog, 04/04/13)
What's In It For You:
Sports marketing is just about the fastest-growing opportunity in the sponsorship industry today. And it's a big revenue generator for many radio stations; both those that are affiliated with professional teams and those working with minor leagues, high school sports, and even Little League. And it doesn't matter if your station is 24/7 sports or airing selected play-by-play. Reaching the Moms that spearhead the family sports experience has crept into sports marketing at all levels. Even the NFL and MLB now sell apparel and accessories designed specifically for their women fans. Expand your social marketing efforts to include the social media where your female listeners engage: Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter. Create family-friendly tailgating parties beyond the typical rowdy beer blast. Integrate community efforts and causes. You'll find all kinds of family-targeted brands eager to discuss sponsorship opportunities that will help them reach their consumer goals.