Sports Marketing Agencies have a well defined role in the scenario of sports marketing: they do not seek sponsorships, but rather offer consulting services and support to businesses that are willing to use sport as a communication tool with a view to improving their sales and their positioning, as well as acquiring new customers. Let’s try and have a more in-depth understanding of the roles and competences required from a sports marketing agency such as RTR Sports Marketing.
What is a sports marketing agency involved in?
The world of marketing is multifaceted and each individual activity a company may need calls for its own specific consultants. Many are the options at hand: conventional advertising agencies, PR agencies, agencies specialising in social media, product placement, media centres, reputation agencies, and crisis management agencies, just to mention a few.
When we talk about sports and investments in sponsorships, we feel like we find ourselves “within a forest dark” and confusing. Are sponsorships a business of PR agencies or media centres? Who should we turn to for advice? The most frequent answer we would get from an agency is: “We can handle it”, although in most cases it is not their business sector. What does it take, after all? It only takes a phone call to a friend’s friend who will get you in contact with the athlete’s agent who, in turn, will introduce you to the business or the team.
Honestly, this type of approach shows that sport is often underestimated: as it is considered a typically “fun” and “entertainment” sector, it is trivialised. In fact, when a company decides to invest in sports, it should do it with the same level of depth and specificity as when negotiating a traditional ADV budget, in other words in a rational and structured manner. In the UK or USA, sports marketing agencies are long-consolidated entities, actual consultants to which companies rely when they select sport as their marketing tool.
Why? Well, because sports marketing agencies are specialised in one sector … guess what: sports! People who work in the agency have an in-depth knowledge of the world of sport, or of the world of the specific sports they handle; they know the market value and the interlocutors on the market, and they know what to offer based on the specific needs of the company/customer. We often happen to receive calls from prospect customers asking us for information on investments in specific disciplines – most frequently, the disciplines their bosses have indicated because they are fans – and eventually we convince them that another sport may be a better solution for their company/brand on the basis of actual data
Competences of a sports marketing agency
Thanks to the data it has at hand, a sports marketing agency is capable of suggesting the best strategy, identifying the best sport sector and, within the sector, the most suitable player. The agency can also evaluate and define the level of investment and the marketing services included for each individual company.
As stated above, agencies know the world of sports and the disciplines they deal with. They know the market and the values; they have the right contacts and access to the right data, as well as the strategic knowledge required to maximise investments. They can offer multiple alternatives: customers are, in fact, given several investment options, depending on their objectives, targets, investment type and territory.
Moreover, as they know the business deeply, sports marketing agencies also have the expertise to exclude ineffective opportunities – a sport or testimonial, for instance, may not be the best or more effective solution for a customer. They can do that because what they are after is not to necessarily sell a product: their mission is to try and understand the best product for each specific customer. Sports marketing agencies are authentic consultants that assist a company in selecting the best programme to achieve the goals the company has set out for and they follow the company throughout the process of implementation and use of the sponsorship programme.
Sponsorship is not merely about a decal/logo on a shirt or on the motorcycle fairing. We have promotional activities to activate, hospitality programmes to organise, sampling plans and events.
Sports sponsorship agencies: no sponsor scouting
One activity a sponsorship agency or a sports marketing agency is typically not involved in is sponsorship scouting. In other words, agencies are not engaged at all in finding sponsors for the teams, clubs or athletes who need money to live through the season or the league. Sports marketing agencies do exactly the opposite: they start from the companies and work far down to the sports properties.
Normally, the managers of the athletes or the teams/clubs, or their sales departments, are in charge of selling advertising spaces and sponsorship packages. This is mainly due to the fact that there is no entity that knows the values, projects and scope of action of a sports business (or a player, rider/driver, etc.) better than the sports business itself.
The decision to not offer sponsorship scouting services is not selective, in other words it does not depend on the standing or prestige of the club/team/athlete: it is irrespective of the club being in Promozione (the sixth level in the Italian football league system) or in the Champions League, or the testimonial being a rider in the MotoGP or a very young star to-be who races the regional mini motorbike championship.
RTR Sports: a sports marketing agency for MotoGP, Formula 1, Formula E and MotoE
We have decided to specialise in motorsports. Initially, we did so on the trail of a personal passion, but especially because, apart from soccer, the world of motors has a base of followers, both on TV and on the race tracks, that add value to investments. Championships such as MotoGP, Formula 1 and Formula E are a travelling “circus” that visits a different country every 15 days, 9 months a year. This aspect has a stunning value for companies interested in gaining international visibility or having businesses abroad.
Fans and supporters are scattered around the whole world: this may be challenging, but not for sponsorship programmes as they can deploy one unified and homogeneous communication strategy. Needless to say, MotoGP or F1 are not the “right” sports in all cases: they are not the right solution for every company – we have never stated this.
Any time we talk to prospect or existing customers, our goal is to try and understand the purpose of their investment in sports, the communication addressees and the countries they are interested in. If engines are not the right world for them, then we have the opportunity and duty to investigate other sectors.
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