Berkowitz (2010) agrees that the success of a marketing strategy depends on how well it is able to respond to the marketplace. Since marketing deals with the right execution of the marketing strategy involving the product, price, place and promotion, the company needs to develop a suitable plan to meet the requirements. Masterman (2009, pp. 234- 250) asserts that the event concept may be undesirable at a certain ticket price but more accessible at a certain venue, so the identification of the options for each component and selecting the right mix is the task here. Events as a part of services are subject to the consideration of a separate service sector marketing mix (Jobber, 2007). The major components of a marketing strategy can be seen as under (also referred to as the ‘4 P’s’):
Product plays an important role in a marketing strategy
Product is the first ‘P’ of a company’s marketing strategy (Odugbemi, 2008; Kotler, 2002). They consist of the services, goods or ideas delivered by an organization to the target audience for consumption, use or acquisition. They are expected to satisfy the needs or wants and expectations of the consumer. Awe (2006) states that companies must always consider what the customers want and what they are delivering. Customer value is another important proposition attached to the first ‘P’- the perceived value derived from the product by the consumer (Middleton et al, 2009).
A sports event like IPL consists of various components like goods, services, information and media, places, people and also ideas (Mullin et al, 2000; Pitts and Stotlar, 2002). The important elements in this context are the venue and the facilities (which have to be accessible by the public, suitably aesthetic and properly equipped), the secondary elements such as car parking space, plasma screens that add to customer value, and even the weather and time.
Role of price in a marketing strategy
Price is the compensation a customer is willing to pay for a product or service (Kotler and Keller, 2002; Berkowitz, 2010). Companies get a price for the delivery of goods or services that satisfy the customers’ needs and wants. It can be termed as the consideration of what a consumer exchanges an element of value for a product (Koontz, 2004). Price is affected by an array of factors which a firm considers while formulating the marketing strategy. Middleton et al (2009) state that the only difference between ‘price’ and ‘cost’ is that the former is customer- focused and is evaluated on the basis of market competition. Market supply and demand conditions also play a huge role in determining a product’s price. Price is also a powerful marketing tool which focuses on income rather than costs (Odugbemi, 2008; Cohn, 2007).
In sporting events too, pricing plays an important factor in their success. Organisers must often consider various schemes to attract audiences, such as special discounts on tie-ups with a particular brand, cheaper tickets in advance, even payment in installments (Masterman, 2009). With such schemes, sports clubs can achieve large amounts of revenue to contribute to the building of new facilities.
Place for distribution
According to Berkowitz (2010), ‘place’ is the manner in which the product or service is distributed by the company to its consumers for use’. The major factor involved in deciding the place of a product in a marketing strategy is the geographical location where it is accessible to the consumer. Awe (2006) highlights that sales channels are also decided in addition to deciding on a particular geographic location, called as ‘distribution’. Middleton et al (2010) state that the convenience of a location entirely depends on the level of consumer access to it.
In context of sporting events, Masterman (2009) states that placing strategy includes not only the distribution channel consisting of the venue, such as ticket offices, but also the use of websites and ticket agencies and possibly, via media partners that might distribute tickets directly. The key task here for an event manager is to identify and understand each target market’s preference (for instance, many football fans still prefer to queue for their tickets).
The final P of the marketing strategy is Promotion. It is a crucial part of any marketing strategy. It is a way of informing consumers about the product which will satisfy their want, the value-for-money quotient and any new additions in the marketplace. Promotion includes a range of activities like advertising, publicity, PR, personal selling, word-of-mouth etc. (Berkowitz, 2010). Promotional strategies are typically divided into two types: non-personal (all promotional campaigns on a mass platform) and personal selling (Stanton & Spiro, 1999; Beckman et al, 1992).
Promotional activities are essentially carried out in order to encourage communication between the buyer and the seller instead of simply persuading the consumer to buy the product. Similar thoughts are expressed by Kotler (1999) who states that promotion fuels communication regarding the merits of a product or service to the target market in order to persuade them to buy. According to Awe (2006), a thorough market research of the product will help organisations understand and formulate the most appropriate strategy for the product.
Masterman (2009) refers to promotions component as the ‘communications mix’. According to him, this element of a marketing strategy is more important than any other, but for event communications to be effective there is a need for constant innovation and an effective use of greater range of techniques. He also asserts that the best promotional tactic that can be used by a sporting tournament is customer loyalty, which depends on four factors: fans need to be able to access the team and players, development of community relations, integration of team history with communications, and offering customers enough opportunity to affiliate with the club so that they can feel a part of it.
A marketing strategy in effect
Kahle and Riley (2004) state that sports leagues, teams and even individuals (working as business entities, or in partnership with agencies and agents) relentlessly promote logos, nicknames, licensing arrangements, broadcasts, online websites and endorsements. More often than sports world’s print media and electronic mass media serve as a willing and usually free delivery partner, which eases their scope of work. Sports events like IPL gain an added advantage when instead of paying for brand impression, teams and star sportsmen benefit almost daily coverage. They also benefit from the PR efforts designed to provide national media outlets with constant display of familiar merchandise such as uniforms, helmets, hats, logos, trademarks, faces and insignia. Combined, these marketing activities build huge brand awareness helping generate royalty revenues. Which eventually leads to millions in advertising and sponsorship revenues.
- Kurtz, D.; MacKenzie, H. & Snow (2009) “Contemporary Marketing”. Nelson Education, Canada.
- Berkowitz, E. (2010): “Essentials of Health Care Marketing” LLC: Joanes and Bartlett.
- Kahle, L.; Riley, C. (2004). Sports Marketing and the Psychology of Marketing Communication. Lawrence Erlbaum, NJ.
- Masterman, G. (2009). Strategic Sports Event Management: Olympic Edition. Butterworth Heinemann, UK.
- Mullin, B., Hardy, S. and Sutton, W. (2000). Sport Marketing, 2E, Campaign, II, Human Kinetics.
- Mullin, B.; Hardy, S.; Sutton, W.(2007). Sport marketing, Volume 13. Human Kinetics, USA.
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