Uncertainty surrounding the COVID pandemic continues to limit future planning as we look to 2021, and sports marketers in particular are currently assessing what to take away from a mercurial 2020 in terms of buying trends. , audience habits and impact of live events changed. .
So, while the world is clearly still on the move, we’ve taken a look at some of this year’s trends that we believe will remain in the sports marketing arena and what we think are important factors to consider in 2021.
This year will be remembered for many things, but in the world of sports, 2020 will certainly be the year when it has become common for athletes and teams to take political positions and speak out on issues like social justice. And while there is a very heated debate as to whether it has positively or negatively affected sports audiences this year, one thing is clear – we don’t expect it to abate in the near future.
More than ever, athletes want to make a difference outside of games and training. Their large and engaged social media accounts – and the growing support in the form of flexibility and opportunity from their teams and leagues – give them the platform to make an impact on important social issues.
The biggest sports agencies looking to partner with athletes (and influencers from all walks of life) have more substantial content to choose from than ever before. Players can still take advantage of great offers like the Betfair promo code, but it’s general consent that more needs to be done in these troubled times.
Whenever we talk to agencies about the possibility of branding one of their athletes, our first questions are “What interests your athletes?” What do they represent? What do they want to do after their playing days? “
If you don’t get concrete answers then the athlete is probably not the right fit for your brand. If suited well, athletes can certainly be invaluable to your integrated marketing plans, but make sure any partnership has substance and purpose.
And remember college players could be an option for your brand as well, thanks to the recent opening of NCAA rules regarding student-athletes taking advantage of their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL).
A trend in the marketing landscape is the desire of consumers for brands to not only talk about making a difference, but to back it up with real action. It can mean an investment of money or resources, but the key factor is building trust by showing that you care about something more than profit and growth – you need to impact the issues that matter. for your audience.
Clearly, and rightly so, social justice issues have dominated in 2020. The importance of corporate social responsibility is not going to diminish, so it is important that companies focus on their own diversity, equity and inclusion. .
It’s also clear that Gen Z, in particular, places a high value on sustainability and is environmentally conscious in many of their shopping habits. Some athletes are even speaking out on subjects previously taboo in the world of sport such as mental health.
Ultimately, make sure you’re making business decisions that positively impact your consumers, employees, and communities: As Ann Mukherjee, CEO of Pernod Ricard, said in a recent Adage podcast, we need to replace emphasis on “return on investment” through “return on investment”. responsibility.”
There is considerable debate as to why we have seen such a drop – including some claims that athletes taking political positions led to a drop in ratings – but one thing is clear: Live sports really are the only one. appointment that remains.
So whether it’s spending a lot of money advertising during broadcasts (Buffalo Bills ratings have thwarted the NFL trend and actually increased this fall in the West of New York – thanks in large part to their positive beginnings), sponsoring one of the many new in-game opportunities that are bringing fans closer to athletes on the pitch, or using more local efforts like timing your campaigns on the pitch. social networks with targeted and relevant content around live games, being involved in sporting events have enormous value in the equation of reaching your consumers.
An important note here is that without box office receipts all teams are scrambling for other income solutions, so now is a great time to pitch some new sponsorship ideas.
And if traditional sports are too expensive and overcrowded, electronic sports and sports betting spaces continue to gain ground and sophistication (legally on the gambling side this election season, but also from a commercial point of view, because both industries are maturing rapidly), offering increasingly valuable alternatives.
Shopping in micro-moments
The barrier to buying online no longer exists. This is one of the many trends that have been drastically advanced by the COVID-19 pandemic: Consumers buy anything on their phones pretty much anytime. This new trend of ‘micro-moments’ means that buyers are doing more transactions through their smartphones, including watching TV, traveling, working, and more.
That’s good news for sports marketers: more and more fans are scrolling through their phones while watching games. So, intelligently scheduled email sending is a great opportunity to deliver conversions-based messages – just make sure that you authentically and constructively hang your communications around events and news relevant to your audience. .
There is no brand loyalty
We hear more and more about the growing loyalty of consumers to the brand. According to Forbes, “75% of consumers have tried different stores, websites or brands during the pandemic” – and “60% of them expect to adopt new brands and stores in their post-pandemic routines.”
You need to constantly nurture your consumers and maintain a community with your audience – not just through sales posts, but through content that adds value to their lives while complementing your overall goals.
Overall, brands cater directly to consumers, mainly due to unreliable physical purchases. So if you haven’t adopted an ecommerce strategy in 2020, it should be high on your priority list for 2021 – knowing that you can’t just set up a platform and expect people to start buying from your website without a built-in plan to launch and promote this new service.
Transparency and authenticity
These are not new marketing buzzwords. But the pandemic has definitely taught us all that imperfections are not only acceptable but welcome. Thanks to the proliferation of incessant video calls with our colleagues and clients, and artists and event hosts “performing” at home, we have been invited to just about everyone over the past eight months. Clearly, consumers care more about transparency than perfection. So keep this in mind in all your communication efforts in 2021 and beyond.