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I am an experienced direct marketer who is now perusing a graduate degree in Entertainment Business with a concentration in Sports Management and a master's degree in Internet Marketing.  One day soon I will be a Director of Social Media Marketing for a major sports organization.   I am avid runner who in the next 6 months will run at 2 full marathons and 3 half marathons and that doesn't include the training runs. 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Sponsors, Sponsors, Everywhere is a Sponsor


Over the last few weeks a number of sponsors have renewed or announced a partnership with a sports team. Budweiser and the Olympics announced the renewal of the long-standing partnership.  Toys R Us announced a first time agreement with the Special Olympics and Milk became the official refuel beverage for the Ironman series.  Everywhere you look in sports there is some kind of sponsor.  The NBA is even considering allowing sponsors logo’s on the players’ jerseys

Do you remember the very bright red with black and yellow uniforms of the University of Maryland?  Yes they were different and many remember they were sponsored by Under Armour. The uniforms of the University of Oregon, done by Nike.  While the super fan and those that watch college football on Saturday’s in the fall know this the causal fan may not.  What the causal fan may know better is the name of the stadium that they watch their favorite teams in.  Citi field in New York, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indi and Pet Co Park in San Diego. 

Pretty much every marathon you run has a sponsor.  The ING New York Marathon.  The Bank of America Chicago Marathon.  The Honda LA Marathon.  Just this month Allstate signed to sponsor the 13.1 Marathon series across the county. 


It is not just ballparks and marathon names that can get sponsored.  Have you ever run a small 5k race where the water stop is manned with people from a local bank?  They are a sponsor.  The back of your shirt from any race will have every sponsors logo, the front may as well if they have a title sponsor, like ING, Bank of America or Honda. 

If you run a half or full marathon, your guaranteed to experience the “official” drink and the “official” pick-me up like GU, Power Shots or Gatorade. 

So what is in it for the sponsors?  Maybe the sponsor is trying to break out into a new market with a new audience or a new product. The sponsor might desire an image boost and by partnering with a non-for-profit they achieve a residual effect based on their good will.  It used to be that sponsors worked with sports organizations that their CEO’s liked so that they could be seen at every event.  That’s not the case anymore and most organizations are looking for a return on their investments. 

For the big and the small sporting organizations, from the major leagues to the little leagues sponsors are everywhere, and frankly that’s a good thing.  Without sponsors the teams on the field might not be as good as they are, or the events we enter and buy tickets for would cost much more.  Without sponsors, little league teams with dreams of making it to the big leagues wouldn’t exist.  So next time your out at a sports event or running in a race, look out for the sponsors names and support them at your next opportunity you never know what good is coming out of that sponsorship. 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goofy For Disney


Over the last 4 years I have competed in 8 Disney running events, now known as RunDisney.  I love every race for the fun and enjoyable atmosphere, yes if you are looking at qualifying for Boston this is not the place.  If you want to have a great time, love getting pictures and don’t mind running in a tutu or Mickey ears this is the place for your first or 20th run. 

From a marketers standpoint my favorite part about Disney is how they take the information I provide when I register and incorporate it in all of their communications to me.  From using personalized emails with my name, to emails with pictures of me, to a personalized url (PURL) with my picture, time and favorite characters.  Not only is this done through the email and online communication, but also on the race bibs we receive with our chips included.  They understand that I love the Princess and the Frog and ensure that my emails show scenes from the movie.  By having the characters we love on the race course they encourage you to stop for pictures, and one of those pictures is going to be sent in an email congratulating you on your awesome finish, of course with a link for you to buy that picture and more. 

Once you finish you are sure to receive a virtual certificate that you can download with your time and finishing place and of course your name in the color of one of your favorite characters.  You would really be surprised at how many races don’t supply this one great takeaway for free or don’t provide it electronically.  Many only support the top ten percent of their finishers in acknowledging they even finished.  Those of us in the middle and the back of the pack burned more calories over a longer time period but hey what does it matter if we aren’t Boston bound. Disney don’t care as long as you had fun and come back for more fun.
 
One thing that I have seen a lot from races of late is Facebook badges, this is something that RunDisney doesn’t do. This might add a personal touch to the pictures we download and would increase the brand awareness of the great number of Disney races.  Of course incorporating the personalization into the badge would provide the Disney touch that many of the badges are missing now.

If you are looking for a well-executed race that uses the marketing best practices that only Disney does best then look no further than Disney for your greatest competition and your most enjoyable event. There are 5 more events in 2012 waiting for your registration and of course the 20-year anniversary of the Disney Marathon in January 2013. If your crazy like me you’ll register for the Goofy Challenge, a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  3 t-shirts, and 3 medals.  Yes it’s Goofy but not Dopey (add a 5K).