Sales and Promotion
Blue Mountain Community College has been experiencing some difficulty in the area of developing a sales and promotion plan for the athletic department. The purpose of this discussion is to resolve this problem through the development of a detailed plan for promotion and sales of its teams. The plan will be inclusive of the five teams the community college has including football, baseball, softball, and men’s and women’s basketball.
Regardless of the sport being discussed in terms of promotion and sales, one of the key components in improving sales is associated with relationship marketing (Parvatiyar & Sheth 2001). According to Bee & Kahle (2006)
“Relationship marketing is important because it can be effective. It facilitates role enactment by providing definitions for types of influence and communication strategies that should characterize two participants in a relationship. Teams, leagues, athletes, marketing corporations, and fans have relationships with one another that depend on successful relationship enactment. All sports marketing transactions, in fact, involve some type of relationship marketing. In some cases the efforts are explicit. In other cases they are hidden or even unrecognized. A careful examination of these relationships can improve the function of the relationship system in sports marketing (103).”
For the purposes of developing a sales and promotion plan for the sports teams and the athletic department at Blue Mountain Community College there must be a marketing relationship that involves the school, the teams, fans and the business community surrounding the community college. This means that the college must work to build relationships with the business owners that are around the community college. Without the assistance of these businesses the sales and promotions plans presented in this discussion will be impossible to accomplish. The building of such relationships is possible through outreach that emphasizes the mutually beneficial nature of the relationship between the school and the surrounding community (Fullerton & Merz, 2008).
Sales, Promotion and Market Research
Promotion is an essential component in the development of a marketing strategy. In fact in the context of academia reactions to promotional offers are deemed essential to the success of a product or serve and the concept of promotion has been studied thoroughly. According to Spears (2001) ” Pro-motional offers stir the consumer to examine the information in the offer and to make a purchase in an expedient manner. Sales promotion has been defined as a direct inducement that offers an extra value or incentive for the product to the sales force, distributors, or the ultimate consumer with the primary objective of creating an immediate sale (Spears 2001, 67).” Blue Mountain community college needs to increase the sale of tickets to sporting events. The revenue realized from such sales allows the school to purchase equipment and to have excellent facilities for athletes and for spectators. Promotions for each of the five sports at the community college will be discussed in the paragraphs to follow.
Market research is also a valuable tool that Blue Mountain community college needs to invest in. Market Research will allow the college to determine the types of people who are likely to purchase tickets and the manner in which they will respond to promotional offers (Ko et al., 2010). This information is valuable and will allow the sales and promotions plans to be efficient and successful.
Football is a major draw for the school but a great deal of improvement needs to occur in the area of sales and promotion. To this end it is recommended that the community college offer several promotions including raffles, discounts on tickets purchased before the season begins and for families. Raffles are an effective way of getting people to purchase tickets. The football team can raffle off tickets for a new car, a vacation, gift baskets, and gift certificates. This can be accomplished through community involvement of a car dealership and local businesses. The raffle will provide all of the business with free advertisement which encourages people to visit the various businesses. The length of the raffle will be up to the school to decide. The school might decide to end the raffle halfway through the season or after the entire season is over; the longer the length of the raffle the greater likelihood that people will continue to purchase tickets to increase their chances of winning a prize.
Discounted tickets can also be a major draw to purchase football tickets. Blue Mountain must arrange a way to allow the purchase of tickets before the season begins and offer a 10% discount for purchasers. In order to receive the discount the purchaser must buy tickets for at least 3 games. This type of promotional offer is effective because it guarantees that the school will make money regardless of whether or not the ticket holders come to the game. In addition the purchasers will pay less for the ticket. Families and large groups can also receive discounted tickets that will allow them to receive a 12% discount at any time. The family or group must consist of at least four people in order to receive the discount. This discount is not restricted by when the ticket is purchased. That is, anytime a family or group of at least four people purchases tickets they can receive a discount.
The promotion offers described must be advertised on local television and radio. The expense of such advertisements can be absorbed in part by local businesses that will sponsor such as in return for their sponsorship being mentioned in the advertisement. This is a common practice that encourages people to purchase tickets to games and patronize local establishments. The timing of the advertisements is also important. The promotional offers involving pre-game tickets must take place prior to the season beginning. All other promotional offers must be advertised throughout the season. Preferably these advertisements will take place during times in the day that are most likely to have viewers and listeners who are likely to attend football games. This is where the market research is needed and becomes valuable.
In addition to the group and family discounts that are also available for football games, giveaways are often the most common type of baseball promotion. For the community college these giveaways can consists of free t-shirts, baseballs and baseball caps. These free items will be given to children 13 and under. This will encourage families to come out to the games and bring their children. Along with the discount awarded to families and groups of four or more such giveaways are also likely to increase sales.
Another promotional offer for baseball could be free refreshments for the first 100 tickets purchased on game day. The refreshments will consist of a free hotdog or slice of pizza and a soft drink. Free refreshments will encourage ticket sales in addition to providing vendors with extra business because an individual who gets free refreshments may decide to purchase something extra from the vendor such as a funnel cake or some candy.
Advertisements for the promotional offers should take place throughout the season on radio and television. The number of these promotions will be less than for football because baseball games do not generate the same kind of revenue that football does. The school has to be careful in the way advertisement is used to ensure that the consumers who are most likely to come out to the game or the people who are targeted.
The promotions for softball would be inclusive of allowing people under the age of eighteen free admittance to softball games when accompanied by a parent or guardian and package deals. The under eighteen policy will encourage more family time and also promote greater traffic at softball games which would prove beneficial for vendors and the community college. The softball team will also offer the public package deals that are inclusive of a ticket to the game, a free t-shirt and a hot dog or nachos and a drink for $9.99. Such promotions give consumers greater incentives and are reasonably priced. The softball team could also offer family packages that are inclusive of the same things and a family of four could purchase the package for $29.99.
Advertisement for softball promotion might be limited to radio and flyers that will be present at business throughout the community and at public parks. The school must ensure that it has the proper permission to post such advertisement at businesses and parks. Softball games have the lowest attendance of all of the sports offered at Blue Mountain. This lower attendance is due in part to the minimal amount of space available at the games. Again the community college has to be mindful of how it advertises so that money is not wasted.
Men’s and women’s basketball
Basketball is the most popular sport at the community college and as such the basketball teams have the best facilities and the most options as it relates to promotional offers. Promotional offers should be inclusive of meet and greets, raffles, season tickets and surprise game day giveaways. Each of the promotional offers will likely be effective in attracting attendees because the offer attractive incentives.
Meet and greets are an excellent way to promote both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. For Blue Mountain Community College the first twenty-five fans that purchase tickets to home games will be allowed to meet the players following the game. At the meet and greet fans will be allowed to pose for pictures with the players and be given a souvenir basketball signed by the team.
Two raffles will be held during the season. The first raffle will end mid season and the second raffle will end at the end of the season. The first place prize for the raffle will be an SUV, the second place prize will be a beach vacation, the third place prize will be dinner for four at a local restaurant and the fourth place prize will be a visa gift card worth $50.
As a result of the popularity of both the men’s and women’s basketball teams season tickets will be offered to fans (Wakefield, 2007). Season ticket holders will also be given free tickets to championship home games if the basketball team makes it into the tournament. Season tickets are a great promotional tool because they guarantee a certain amount of revenue for the community college. In addition they provide fans with access to every game throughout the season. Advertisement should take place on radio and television in a manner that is similar to that used by the Football team. Since the basketball team is so popular it is essential that advertisements run more frequently than for any other sport. This will give the program a great deal of attention and spark the interests of consumers.
The key to promotional success for all of the teams is good customer service. This means that event management must be a top priority and event staff must be taught the importance of good service behavior (Irwin et al., 7). It is also important that any complaints that are received are resolved as soon as possible. Unresolved complaints can result in refunds and negatively impact the school’s reputation. Licensing is also a critical component in ensuring a revenue stream from the merchandise that will be sold at games (Irwin et al.).
The Athletic Department
In addition to the sports teams the Athletic department must also promote itself for the purposes of increasing interests in its programs and recruitment. Recruitment is vitally important to ensure that the athletic program at the school continues to grow and thrive. High school athletes should be exposed what Blue Mountain Community College has to offer as it pertains to academic programs and the opportunities that the athletic department has to offer. This can be accomplished through open houses and recruitment. Open houses allow high school athletes to come to the community college to see the athletics facilities and to tour the campus so that they can be exposed to the academic programs that are offered at the school. Students should also be shown the financial benefits of choosing to attend a community college. This is particularly true for athletes that have some academic problems because the small classes that a community college can offer can provide an opportunity for such a student to get the attention they need to excel academically. Community colleges can also be a stepping stone to entry into a four-year University particularly for high school athletes that want to stay close to home, become acclimated to college academics and save money. With these things understood such open houses are needed and necessary.
Recruitment is also important and this can be accomplished by carefully studying high school athletes that have potential and could prove beneficial to one of the sports teams at the community college. The coaches and their assistants must then make a concerted effort to contact these athletes so that they know of the opportunities that are available to them through Blue Mountain Community College.
Overall the promotions and sales plans should take no longer than six months to put into place. Implementing a successful plan will take a great deal of discipline and a great deal of organization. The teams and their coaches must be made aware of the role that they play in ensuring that the plan goes forward successfully. Additionally those at the college who work directly with the public must be trained to adequately and effectively serve the public. If this plan is implemented the school should experience an increase in sales of tickets and as such sports related revenues.
Bee C.C., Kahle, L.R.. (2006) Relationship Marketing in Sports: A Functional Approach. Sport Marketing Quarterly. 15, 102-110
Fink, J.S., Trail, G.T., & Anderson, D.F. (2002). Environmental factors associated with attendance and sport consumption behavior: Gender and team differences. Sport Marketing Quarterly, 11, 8-19
Fullerton S., Merz, G.R. (2008) The Four Domains of Sports Marketing: A Conceptual Framework. Sport Marketing Quarterly,, 17, 90-108
Irwin, R.L., Sutton W.A., McCarthy, L.M. (2008) Sport promotion and sales management. Human Kinetics
Ko, Y. J.,Kim, T., Rhee YC., Kim, Y. K.(2010) Sport Spectators’ Event Quality Perceptions: A Comparison Between Collegiate Sport Fans and Professional Sport Fan. http://www.hrsm.sc.edu/SEVT/PDFs/SEVT%202010%20Conference%20Proceedings.pdf#page=34
Parvatiyar, A., & Sheth, J.N. (2001). The domain and conceptual foundations of relationship marketing. In J.N. Sheth & A. Parvatiyar (Eds.), Handbook of relationship marketing (pp. 3-38). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Spears, N. (2001) Time Pressure and Information in Sales Promotion Strategy: Conceptual Framework andContent Analysis. Journal of Advertising, Vol. 30(1), pp. 67-76
Wakefield, K. (2007). Team Sports Marketing. Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann: Oxford
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