Sports Marketing – What do I do?

It’s about time that I put something up about sports marketing and will try to explain what it is that I do. This will be beneficial for the vast majority of my friends and family that don’t completely understand.

Definition of Marketing – Management process through which goods and services move from concept to the customer. As a philosophy, it is based on thinking about the business in terms of customer needs and their satisfaction. As a practice, it consists in coordination of four elements called 4P’s: (1) identification, selection, and development of a product, (2) determination of its price, (3) selection of a distribution channel to reach the customer’s place, and (4) development and implementation of a promotional strategy. Marketing differs from selling because (in the words of Harvard Business School’s emeritus professor of marketing Theodore C. Levitt) “Selling concerns itself with the tricks and techniques of getting people to exchange their cash for your product. It is not concerned with the values that the exchange is all about. And it does not, as marketing invariably does, view the entire business process as consisting of a tightly integrated effort to discover, create, arouse, and satisfy customer needs.” –

Chris Burt Definition of Marketing – Managing the process from the “idea” of a product/service to the delivery of the product/service to the customer (business or final consumer). It’s a circular process…Determine what a customer needs – Manufacture the product – Create the Promotional Elements of the product (price, brand, message, etc.) – Sell the product – Deliver the Product – Review (Did the product fulfill customer needs? Were the price points and message correct? Ultimately, did you sell the product?) – Begin again. A business should constantly review the process and will therefore be refining their product and promotion at all times.

Sports Marketing – Sports is simply another industry, such as healthcare, education, retail, etc. All organizations within the sports industry are trying to sell something. Organizations in the sports industry include teams (professional and amateur), athletes (professional and amateur), retailers (Dick’s Sporting Goods, Eurosport, Footlocker, etc.), manufacturers (adidas, Kwik Goal, Wilson, etc.), Associations/Leagues (NSCAA, NCAA, MLS, NFL, etc.), Agents, Event Organizers and others. Professional and amateur teams are selling tickets, branded products and ultimately their brand. Athletes are selling a product/brand — Themselves. Retailers sell products directly to end consumers. Manufacturers sell to retailers. However, a large number (majority?) of manufacturers also have a retail arm that sells directly to the end consumers. Leagues are a little more complicated in that they are selling a number of different products. They are selling their league brand and retail products associated with that brand, they sell teams and then they also manage a number of processes involved with their brand and teams, including athlete relations. Agents sell their players. Event Organizers sell their services. Then there are associations….

NSCAA and marketing – Associations by definition are a gathering of entities for a common purpose. In terms of the NCAA, those entities are colleges and universities. For the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, those entities are soccer coaches.

The soccer coach (customer) need: Promotion, Recognition, Organization, Education and ultimately improvement of soccer in the United States.

Core products sold by NSCAA: Memberships (individual and college), Education and Convention Registration.

The secondary products/services of the NSCAA all exist to support the core products. Convention registration in a way is a secondary product, because technically it exists to support the membership and education programs of NSCAA, but it is such a beast in itself that it receives the focus and attention of a core product, therefore we define it as one.

Secondary products in support of Membership are the Awards programs (Coach of the Year, Rankings, All-America programs are in recognition of member accomplishments and overall promotion of the game), College Game of the Week television package on Fox Soccer Channel (promotion of soccer), NSCAA Foundation (support and growth of soccer in socio-economic disadvantaged areas), Job Listings and probably other programs that I’m not thinking of right now.

Secondary products in support of Education are Soccer Journal (NSCAA member exclusive publication that is primarily focused on educational articles), Educational books and DVDS.

The major secondary product that supports the Convention is the Exhibit Hall. Meal and awards functions at the Convention (All-America Luncheon and Awards Banquet) support Membership and Convention. Other events, networking (another subject) and the social aspect of the Convention can be considered marketable products.

Secondary products that support all core products are Sponsorships, Advertising and retail sales. These programs are designed to generate revenue to invest in the core products.

Finally, there is the management of non-corporate partnerships. NSCAA partners with numerous youth soccer organizations, professional leagues and other soccer organizations. These partnerships are created to benefit the NSCAA by driving coaches to be members, take educational courses and go to the NSCAA Convention. NSCAA provides support of these organizations primarily in terms of promoting their programs and services to NSCAA member coaches.

Thrilling, engaging stuff. If you’ve made it through the definition of marketing and what the NSCAA offers, then you know what the Marketing Director of the NSCAA does…right?


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