With more competition than ever for the leisure time and entertainment dollars of potential customers, it is critical for a contemporary sports management entity to develop a marketing plan. This exercise will ensure that there’s a comprehensive understanding of the target market, what motivates them to make their purchases, and what strategies are best to reach them.

Organizational Focus

Begin the development of a sports marketing plan by reminding yourself of your organization’s mission statement. Marketing plans can get out of scope in a hurry without the right framework, and absent a clear sense of purpose from the outset, resources can be wasted on efforts that only tangentially relate to your core business efforts. Make sure that every element of the marketing plan can be tracked back to essential elements of your business.

SWOT Analysis

Conduct a SWOT analysis to measure the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with your sports management business. This is essential for indicating the state of the company both internally and in relation to external forces. In particular, consider how your business strengths can be leveraged to win business, and take actions to keep your weaknesses from leaving you vulnerable to external events. Note that it’s important to compare your business to non-sports entertainment companies as well if they are competing for the same customers.

Identify Value Proposition

Concurrent with your SWOT analysis, consider what you are offering the customer. Figure out what sets your operation apart and accentuate that in your marketing strategy. Whether it’s price, atmosphere, facilities, the popularity of your product or a combination of factors, this will help you determine your sales pitch.

Identify Target Markets

To have a marketing plan, you first have to figure out your customer base. In conjunction with the SWOT analysis, look at your audience and note any opportunities for growth. In addition to your existing customers, examine whether there are audience segments that might be interested if they were marketed to more effectively. For example, if you are located right off a major highway, travel might be convenient enough that emphasizing how easy it is to get there would allow you to expand your efforts to a larger geographic area.

Objectives and Strategy

Any marketing plan needs to have direction and objectives provide that. Each facet of your marketing plan needs to have a purpose behind it, with metrics in place to track progress. Without objectives, your marketing plan will likely drift off course, and without metrics, it will be easy for anyone with an agenda to make the results say whatever they want them to say. The measurable tasks are a protection against that.

Along with the objectives, you’ll need a marketing strategy to get those points across. Consider all the available mediums, and which methods are best suited to accomplishing each objective for the assigned target audience. Social media might best reach younger customers, while if you’re looking for families needing a break from a road trip, traditional billboards may be more appropriate.

Take Stock

Make sure to re-evaluate how your marketing plan is doing at regular intervals. Track metrics against objectives and note which approaches are succeeding and which are lagging. Adjust as necessary when events dictate in order to keep your business on track.