Friday, February 3, 2012
WOOOOOSSSSHHHHH! - Was that the sound of a Social Media Marketing opportunity passing you by?
For the first time ever, Social Media Marketing is on the table as a legitimate option for companies and athletes in the endurance sports business. In this Fall's go-round discussions for marketing plans for 2012, I heard for the first time from key industry people, that they are looking more at an athlete's digital foot-print, their blog, their number of Twitter followers, and how many Likes they have on Facebook etc . . . . In a meeting recently with one of the leading players in the retail side of the triathlon business I was told, "We are definitely looking more at an athletes social media activity, more than anything else"!
All of a sudden, social media matters! Both sponsors and the sponsored need to get with the program! The traditional way for brands and other businesses to get their name out there was to sponsor athletes and then use their results on the podium, as the methodology to get exposure. This still works at the highest level for the best athletes in a sport that are on the podium. You get that exposure. Those are marketable results. Now, with the power of social media, for other athletes, the podium does not matter as much, or at all - they may give a company or a brand, greater exposure, and a more powerful and intimate connection to customers through that athletes social network(s).
In a recent conversation with a leading consultant in the triathlon business, who is involved with sponsorship at the highest level in the sport, I was told, "Twitter and blogs are where it's at"!
In the sport of triathlon and the endurance sports in general, we are lucky, in that we have as consumers, and customers, people who are early adopters of just about everything. In fact, way before we even knew what social media was, we had web sites like Slowtwitch and it's associated high traffic forum. This was well before Facebook was even a twinkle in the eye of a young Mark Zukerberg and tweeting was for birds only!
The game has changed almost completely. For brands and an A-List of athletes right at the top of the sport, the old model of marketing remains more or less the same. If you are one of these A-Listers, you are defined by your results. You can pull down large and good sponsorship contracts, with the biggest companies, based almost solely on your results. This is how the game has always worked for professional athletes.
Now though, as you start to move down the ranks of athletes and move away from the bigger brands, Social Media Marketing starts to become much more important. For the athlete, it's not that results don't matter, they still do, but at the end of the day, it's about how many people you can influence, and the bigger the athletes social network, the more influence they will have and the more valuable they will be to the brands and companies that sponsor them. Athletes have to remember that when all is said and done, they need to deliver value to their sponsors.
For great primer on all of the above and it's impact, I highly recommend you read Mitch Joel's, "Six Pixels of Separation" and follow his blog.
Social Media Marketing - What are you doing this year that's different?
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