Every time we speak to a 'not so big' club, the first interaction always goes the same way. They say they do not have anything planned for engagement or community building' followed by 'right now we want to focus on our marketing and sponsorships as we need our revenues to grow and once we grow, we can think about engagement.' And when we tell them that maybe it will become easier for them to attract sponsors if they had a better fan engagement strategy, they look at us as if we were aliens. Shocked.
Well, lets once and for all clear all the doubts surrounding this and answer a few frequently asked questions pertaining to the role fan engagement plays in sports sponsorships.
The first thing clubs (especially the small and medium ones) need to do is to start looking at sponsorship from a brand perspective. A brand doesn't invest its money and other resources into a sports team because the employees or management like the team or want the team to win trophies. For a brand, sponsorship is just another marketing activity to achieve their goals, which might be increasing sales, improving the brand image, developing brand loyalty among certain segments of the audience or simply creating brand awareness. And a brand has 100s of different ways where they can invest this money to achieve the targets they have set for themselves. So sports clubs need to understand what a brand is trying to achieve and convince the brand that they are the best possible marketing platform for the brand to achieve its goal. Sports organisations need to become a more effective and efficient marketing platform for brands to communicate their ideas/products to the audience (your fans).
The second thing clubs need to understand is why do brands choose sports sponsorship over a media or print campaign. According to a Harvard study, 95% of all purchase decisions are subconscious / emotions driven. This means what a brand really wants to achieve is to create an emotional connect with its target audience. And that's where sponsorships have an upper hand because sports fans have by default an emotional bond with their teams and players and hence associating with their team gives a brand an advantage compared to its competitors from a cognitive perspective.
Hence, having a fan community that is deeply involved with the club and supports the club on and off the field is an advantage from a sponsorship perspective. The more engaged the community is with the club, the more emotional connect the fans feel with the club, the more attractive prospect the club becomes for the sponsor.
Also, having a strong fan community attracts newer fans to the club, growing the community which eventually helps grow the club.
Gamedayz is our very own engagement tool designed for a sports club to convert their unknown fans into known fans and maximize their social media efficiency. Check out our Gamedayz product and see how it can enhance the fan experience, improve the sponsorship and increasing your revenues