Marketing refers to “the process of formulating and implementing actions for the production, pricing, promotion, and distribution of a sport product aimed at satisfying the needs of consumers and achieving the objectives of the company” (Pitts and Stotlar 23). Sports marketing refers to promotion of sport events and teams. It also promotes other products and services through sporting events and sport organisations with the aim of providing the client with strategies to promote the sport or a product other than sport through sports. The element in a promotion can either be a physical product or a brand name (Lovelock et al 760). For a successful sports marketing exchange process, the following conditions must be satisfied.
Two or more parties with the needs to satisfy must be available. The parties are a consumer, who wishes to meet particular needs, and a company that wants to offer goods or services for commercial or financial gain. The sports marketer must, therefore, identify potential clients who may need certain sports activities, products or other services marketed through sports because a producer cannot sell his/her products to him/herself.
Parties involved (buyer and seller) must have the desire and ability to fulfill the needs of each other (Jones and Bartlett 5).The seller must be willing and able to provide sporting activities or products being promoted through sport in good quality or quantity to the clients, to offer them maximum satisfaction. On the other hand, the client must be in a position to purchase the services or products being offered by the marketer so as to give the producer returns for the service or the good provided.
Involved parties must have something to exchange. The marketer must have either a form of sport or a product to sell to the clients while, on the other hand, the client must have resources to purchase the product or service offered by the marketer. A sports marketer must target a group that is capable of paying for sports activities or goods marketed through sport.
Means of communication must be available. In order for the seller to meet the buyer, there must be communication between the two parties, and this is what brings them together. Through communication, the sports marketer can reach potential clients by means of advertisements done through television and radio broadcasts, newspaper and magazine articles, road shows, as well as posters and brochures among others.
There must be freedom of accepting or rejecting the exchange. Buying and selling are transactions involving a willing seller and a willing buyer. Willingness of the parties is pegged in terms of trade. If one party feels that it does not gain from the exchange, then transaction can be terminated. If a sports marketer believes that selling sports activities or products through sports to a certain group of people will not yield good returns, then there is an option of marketing elsewhere.
The first step in strategic sports marketing process is planning. The sports marketing plan is the written established plan of action for the company or for an element (or product) of the company. It drives the company (Mihai 6). Application of planning in baseball marketing process is described as follows.
Stage 1: Identification of Marketing Opportunities
Step one of this stage entails examining the internal and external environments of the organisation. Environment refers to the context in which the marketing group is positioned. Internal environment refers to the organizational capabilities while external environment refers to the market place or the people being targeted. The Major League Baseball should first weigh its targeted move against its financial capabilities that influences its ability to hire professional players and to promote the sporting activity to the fullest. The organisation must also take into account the popularity of baseball in Europe as well as the area government’s support for the game same so as the company would know how much effort is needed in their quest to market baseball.
The next step is analyzing the mission and objectives of the Major League Baseball, which are necessary to propel the marketing process as well as setting targets of a given company and, therefore, help the organisation to know which actions are necessary so as to actualize these goals. Aims and objectives also act as a guide for all organizational activities and therefore, in marketing of baseball, the aims and objectives are important so that the set target of European fans can be reached.
Lastly, the stage includes examining market research and market information systems. The Major League Baseball marketing team must understand the target market, and this entails knowledge of who their fans are in Europe. Collection of market information aids the construction of management information system that avails relevant information for execution of marketing strategies as well as giving the organisation the correct direction so as to attract many fans in Europe.
Stage 2: Strategy Determination
This involves determining the sports market mix. The Major League Baseball must ensure that the game is well organized to give Europeans fans maximum entertainment. The price that these fans pay should be commensurate to the entertainment offered through the sporting activity. It is also advisable for the company to locate the European sporting venues in appropriate places that have ease of access, and also the business should be organized and held at the right time to ensure crowd pulling. Advertisement and branding should be well done for purposes of attractiveness. Quality of performance is also set at this stage.
Stage 3: Strategy Implementation, Evaluation and Adjustment
This involves execution of the market strategies as well as evaluation of performance so that changes can be made to improve performance. This is to be done on the ground whereby the marketing team reaches out to the European fans. The Major League Baseball must select best personnel to lead the marketing team in Europe and a good relationship between the team and the institutions top management is very crucial. This stage involves actualizing the drawn plan, and timelines are very essential.
Conclusively, sports marketing process is a very complex process that requires a lot of care and smartness to ensure that the goal is fulfilled. Knowing the target audience and selecting the appropriate time for sporting activities are very crucial because many people have difficulties in balancing between work time and sports time. The Major League Baseball should, therefore, seek to understand the European population well so that the desired number of fans can be achieved.