This is the summary of an article by Matthew Brown, written on 2003, which is an analysis of online marketing in the sports industry. This industry needs a very good understanding of how marketing through the Internet works. You can get the pdf of the behavioral targeting here: An Analysis of Online Marketing in the Sports Industry: User Activity, Communication Objectives, and Perceived Benefits.
In the United States, the sports industry is a very large industry, and its players are looking for ways to further increase its GDP worth. Therefore marketers are looking for new methods of gaining even more revenue, and since the advent of the television, and the television advertising industry, the Internet is the most promising technology. This is primarily because of its rapid growth compared to other electronic technologies and forms of communication. Because of the vast number of people using the Internet, it certainly is a legitimate form of mass media. This fact alone makes it a great tool for doing business.
Factors that Discourage Online Marketing
However, some organizations are a bit hesitant to invest in online marketing. There are several reasons for this. One reason is that firms believe there is a lack of profitability in this investment. Having an online business has a high fixed cost, and even a small revenue decline can result to financial loss. Advertising revenue in the Internet may not also be enough to cover the expenses of setting up the online business. Furthermore, many organizations feel that consumers are not yet used to online shopping, and they find it confusing sometimes. Aside from this, they are also concerned about privacy, and are hesitant to share personal information to the shopping website to purchase goods, including credit card information.
While these factors discourage some companies from setting up online marketing websites, ESPN is not one of those companies. In fact, they already have a solid presence in the online marketing industry. Sports organizations in general have all the right reasons behind tapping the Internet for revenue. This is because of the close resemblance between the demographic of online users and sports fans of all the major sports leagues in the US: 18 to 34 year old males. Furthermore, a large portion of online users have already used the Internet to gather information about the latest sports updates. There’s a good chance, if sports marketers do it properly, for the Internet to be a good marketing tool for the sports industry.
As of the year that this article has been written, there has been no study about the role that online marketing can provide for the industry of sports marketing. Most of the information has been about how to build a successful sports website. Still, the advantage of online marketing is that it offers a unique two way communication between buyer and seller, that’s because the consumer doesn’t have to go far to communicate directly with the business. In turn, the business can get a lot more feedback and further improve their products or services. Thus, online marketing can be very advantageous. Not only that, online marketing can transform prospective buyers into interactive customers, a fact that is not fully realized and exploited by most companies.
This study attempts to answer three questions. First, what is the profile of website user activity in the industry? Second, what are the most important marketing communication objectives of website owners? Third, what are the perceived benefits of establishing a website? This is done through a survey sent out to a sample of 750 sports organizations found in Sports Market Place. The Sports industry has three segments, performance, production and promotion, and this study focuses on the busiest of the three in terms of Internet marketing activity, and that is performance.
The survey questionnaire used in the study is designed to determine the usage characteristics of the sports industry websites. To determine which is the most important marketing objectives, forced ranking was implemented per objective. Ratings are ordinal numbers representing extremely important to extremely unimportant. Content validation was done through careful analysis, making sure that there is an acceptable level of representation, and studying of related web literature. Furthermore, a pilot study was made, which confirmed the reliability of the survey questionnaire.
Profile of Website User Activity
Results answered the three key questions of this study. For the first question, what is the profile of website user activity in the industry? It has been shown that 61 percent of the organizations monitored site hits, 35 percent monitored site visit, and 21 percent monitored page views. The organizations that didn’t report hits on either of the three categories almost always didn’t monitor or track this kind of information, which just hurts their capacity to reach top potential when selling online advertising rates. Of the three, page views are found to be the best way to measure advertising rates with accuracy.
Marketing Communication Objectives
The second question is, what are the most important marketing communication objectives of website owners? The answer to this question, according to the survey results, is providing information about the organization to visitors. Second is generating awareness of organization. In third place is projecting favorable organization image. It is well-worth noting the two least important marketing communication objectives, because they seem to indicate the rise of e-commerce. These are, selling organizational merchandise or tickets, and generating leads for salespeople.
Finally, the last question is what are the perceived benefits of establishing a website? The top answer to this question is reaching a desirable demographic, but it only scored 5.22 on a Likert scale, with 7 being extremely important. Next is establishing customer loyalty, then reaching a global market, and creating brand positioning. What is surprising is that the least important benefit was accessing online purchasers. As a conclusion, the researcher feels that many sports organizations are missing the benefits of having an interactive marketing tool. Most of the organizations have websites that are merely the electronic versions of their press releases, etc.
A good recommendation is for sports organizations, aside from the collegiate and professional sports teams that have already been doing it, to prioritize selling tickets and merchandise on the Internet. This method of buying already has great potential, and in the future, a large percentage of tickets will already be sold online.