Sports Teams Need to Think Mobile First

Much has been written about how and why marketers need to focus their efforts on younger generations. The ways millennials consume information and interact with brands is having a large influence on older generations too. Throughout recent history, new media habits generally start with the young and migrate to everyone else over time. In 2016, no self-respecting senior citizen will be without an iPhone or Facebook account so all marketers need to be thinking mobile first for their marketing outreach.

Mobile first is a change in mindset from the past. Traditional sports’ marketing was rooted in one-way interruptive advertising and old fashion brand building. Teams would trot out their annual ad campaign and themes usually to generate ticket sales and excitement for the upcoming season. The theme would center on a combination of new season optimism and past team tradition. While nostalgia can be worthwhile tactic, today’s consumers seem less interested in the past and more engaged in the now and in real time. A new approach is needed for mobile connected consumers and our “always on” media environment. It is less “big campaign” based and more of a constant stream of compelling social content in multiple formats, especially video and info graphics.

The smartphone has become a permanent appendage to consumers of all ages. It is startling to see how much time people spend looking down at their phone while attending sporting events or watching them on TV. Today’s consumer wants to be connected to their networks and do more than just passively watch the game. They want to be part of the action. Tech Republic reports that, in a bid to attract Millennials, stadiums and teams are moving to become Wi-Fi-enabled tech palaces. 

Tech enablement is important because consumers want to connect, publish and share these experiences. One of the many important characteristics of younger consumers is the need for self-publishing. It could be live tweeting during a game they watch on TV or posting images or videos on Instagram from a game they are attending in person. It is important to understand this change in consumer behavior — privacy and modesty take a back seat to self-expression. Teams should encourage this behavior with prompts and active community engagement with fans on social media. 

The other advantage of a mobile-first strategy is that it can provide a better way to sell tickets and concessions at events. Mobile payments are getting off to a slow start but will eventually become an accepted way of conducting transactions. In addition to accepting Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet on site at stadiums, leagues should develop apps like Starbucks’ very success mobile payment app. Team-branded payment apps could be used to buy food, tickets and merchandise while generating loyalty points. In addition to streamlining operations, it would encourage an increase in sales.

For example, having a code on your phone scanned is a lot less painful than forking over nearly $8 in cash for a 12-ounce beer (roughly eight times the retail price) at Fenway Park, the most expensive place to see a game. Wi-Fi-enabled stadiums; social interaction and mobile payments are just some of ways teams can retool their marketing to appeal to a changing consumer who is attached to their mobile device.

1 comment about "Sports Teams Need to Think Mobile First".
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  1. Shelby Rawson from CTMinteractive, December 31, 2015 at 11:03 p.m.

    Great read.  Glad to have been turned on to this content.  Appreciate the insight. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

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