This post is part one of our four-part, Ultimate Guide To Athlete Marketing series. Athlete marketing is our specialty at MarketPryce, where we empower hundreds of pro athletes and agents to connect with brands for marketing opportunities, and we are thrilled to be sharing many of the tips and tricks we’ve learned along the way.
If you want to view the whole guide, you can download it here for free!
The answer to the question of “Why Athlete Marketing” is one that we’ve been analyzing every day. Partnering with professional athletes will help you build trust with consumers, target hyper-local audiences, and generate incredibly valuable content to reuse in other marketing channels. We know that was a lot for one sentence, so let’s dive into more below.
Build Trust With Consumers
Trust is the glue that binds together any relationship. When consumers trust your brand, they will feel more confident in your products and services. One of the best ways to build trust with consumers is through familiarity. Unless you’re Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, or another huge multinational corporation, the chances that ALL of your target consumers know who you are (or that you even exist) is close to zero. If someone doesn’t know you, how can they trust you?
Now let’s say you partner with one of the thousands of active and/or retired NFL athletes. While it is difficult to determine the exact amount of NFL fans worldwide, about half of all Americans, which is about 160 million people, say that they are fans of professional football. Partnering with an NFL athlete will help new customers not only find you, but trust you more as you are now associated with a league that they are familiar with. We’ll cover ways to maximize your alignment with professional leagues in the section, “How can I make sure these deals work?”
Reach A Hyper-Local Audience
If you type “crazy sports fan” into Google, you’ll find some pretty… well… interesting pictures. Whether it’s getting crazy tattoos, “forgetting” to wear a shirt in freezing cold weather or naming your baby after a favorite athlete, sports has an effect on its fans that is difficult to put into words.
Every team has its own city where they play half of their games and nearly all of a team’s fans are from that city (with the exception of Miami Heat fans). Because of this, sports bring cities closer together, creating a common bond that can be shared amongst diverse communities. Green Bay, WI, Lincoln, NE, and Philadelphia, PA are three of the craziest sports towns in America, but these cities don’t seem to get a lot of love when marketers spend money on targeted Facebook ads. People in these cities, and great sports cities all over the world, obsess over their hometown team. Partnering with an athlete who can have up to 20% of his social media following from a city like Philly (home of the Eagles) can be incredibly valuable to target a local community.
Get High Quality User-Generated Content
Everyone has seen those Shaquille O’Neal/Icy-Hot commercials, but’s let’s imagine Icy Hot never partnered with the Hall-of-Famer. What type of engaging content can they create to engage millions of potential customers? How “sexy” can a marketer make content around a Lidocaine cream or patch? Frankly, their product is not that enticing in a marketing sense. Solution? Icy Hot closes one deal with Shaq and immediately made their content something that sports fans around the world could relate to and recognize.
The best part for you is that they didn’t need to work with a star like Shaq either! Many brands have seen success working with smaller pro athletes to create content and boost the success of brand ambassador pages, Facebook ads, website testimonials and more. Taking advantage of and promoting your athlete ambassador’s league is key here — a “Team USA Olympian” or “Professional UFC Fighter” might be more impactful than the athlete’s name on its own. Greensplus is one brand that has specialized in working with micro-influencers to increase time spent on their website and boost conversions because of the reviews they advertise from trustworthy athletes.