Sports Marketing and Promotion in the Digital Age

Building from the previous week discussion on why digital platforms matter (see post here) during this week in the Digital Media for International Marketing module we will explore how the digitalisation of society revived and revamped the practice of direct marketing.

Taking an historical approach to the practice of marketing – as of putting a value to be exchanged in the marketplace – we can associate it with the image of the travelling salesperson who would be the middle-person bringing directly a value to you. That person won’t only distribute the value almost to customers’ doorsteps, but would create a long lasting relationship with their customers to a point where they would know exactly their needs and wants. The practice of marketing was very personal and direct.

During a moment in time this direct marketing practice lost its appeal to a more mass mediated approach where traditional mass media platforms such as print, radio and TV were favoured for delivering part of the value {the symbolic one}. In a way, marketing was practically decoupled in two where values, sentiments, attitudes {the symbols} were delivered through mass media, and the physical product/service was offered separately in another place. It was for the consumer to connect the dots between one and another.

Nevertheless, with the digital revolution and its many many disruptions (see posts about digital media disruption in sport here; here; here; and here) it is possible to argue that the practice of direct marketing was revamped. In a way, maybe it is impossible to conceive nowadays any form of marketing that is not personalised and individualised. The ability to amass big data – especially because everything we do becomes digits and we have the computational power to analyse them – about any customer and in any contact point – all of our interactions in the many different platforms – allows businesses to know exactly who their customers are, and what are their needs and wants.

Moreover, the digital revolution allows businesses to bypass traditional mass media and their mediating role (see my posts here and here) to connect directly to their customers. And the same is true for customers who can now connect directly to their beloved brands, clubs and athletes.

In a way we are now experiencing this paradox where our engagement with values put into the marketplace is at the same time more direct but also more {digitally} mediated. And the ability to navigate this paradox is key for successful marketing and promotion activities in the digital age.

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