India Inc opts for sports as preferred marketing

23 Nov,2012

By Tuhina Anand


Sports emerged as the most preferred marketing tool, over celebrities, events and product placements in movies, music or art, according to a study conducted by SportzConsult, India’s premier sports management company. The study encompassed over a hundred senior marketing professionals across sectors such as FMCG, Automotive, Telecom and BFSI . Of this group, 83 percent have already used sports in their marketing campaigns and 72 percent have seen positive results. Of the brands that have not yet used sports as a marketing tool, 77 percent have affirmed it as a course of action in the near future.


The study was designed to demonstrate the trends and perceptions in the use of sports as a marketing tool among brands in India, including the primary reasons to engage sports in marketing, the channels of engagement, key audiences and evaluation of such campaigns.


Commenting on the findings, Jitendra Joshi, Co-Founder and CEO of SportzConsult said, “Sports has the power to mobilise and motivate. In coming years, brand managers have the huge opportunity to leverage the positive attributes of sports and earn better ROI on marketing spends. The growing adoption of sports for marketing among corporate India will be a win-win for both brands and consumers,”


Key findings of the study

Passion, and not iconic sportsmen, drive brands to sports

Passion, youthfulness and the association with active lifestyle came up as the top attributes for choosing sport over other options. Nearly 75 percent of the respondents favoured one of these attributes as the key driver for a sports engagement. Only one quarter of the respondents cited iconic nature of the sportsmen as the key reason for associating with sport. Given the fact that over 50 percent of the population are under the age of 26 years, marketers believe that sports is the most attractive platform to engage their target audience.


Future of ‘other’ sports looks bright

Marketing campaigns are using niche sports events to address niche audiences.


While popular sports like cricket & football are still the top choices for marketers but they are realizing that they may not always provide the real bang for buck especially if you want to concentrate on niche audience. For many brands ( more than 40 percent of the respondents) an exclusive sport like Golf or a traditional sports like Kho-Kho & Kabaddi is a much better way to engage the relevant TG. Moreover, the heightened need for a healthy and active lifestyle among working professionals is making marathons more and more popular among brands. 24 percent of the brands prefer marathons as an ideal marketing opportunity.


(Passion, and not iconic sportsmen, drive brands to sports)


Sports is a strategic and long term commitment among Indian marketers

More than half the respondents looked at their association with sports for brand-building as strategic and long term, indicating the growing relevance of sports in the marketing mix. Of this group, 67 percent of the respondents considered using sports as a strategic long term decision rather than a tactical approach.


While over 70 percent of respondents count TV advertising spots as the main component of their engagement with sports, almost 95 percent cited professional event sponsorships as the best option for brands looking at stepping up their reach among the TA. While over 85 percent of the brands used existing sports properties, 45 percent of them had also created their own properties around sports as part of their marketing campaign. However, the survey also revealed the perception that creation of sports properties is risky, as against investments in popular properties.


‘Number of participants and spectators’ emerged as the most important criteria brands use while evaluating a sports program. ‘Opportunities to leverage brand with the event’ and ‘media promotion & impressions’ were the next two important factors while evaluating a sports program.


Sports is a strategic and long term commitment among Indian marketers


Spend on sports sponsorships to go up

Over 65 percent of the brands that were part of the study have spent over Rs 1 crore on sports-led marketing campaigns, while 35 percent of the group has spent over Rs 5 crore. 60 percent of the total respondents have confirmed an increase in their investments in sports in the coming years. However, despite this buoyant interest in sports as a marketing tool, around 30 percent of the respondents still spend less than 10 percent of their marketing budget on sports, citing the nebulous nature of sports sponsorships in India.


Current year:

(Spend on sports sponsorships to go up)


Next One year:

(Spend on sports sponsorships to go up)


Leveraging sports sponsorships

The study revealed that while sports sponsorships are popular, Indian marketers, have not mastered the art of leveraging sponsorship programs for continued and long-term marketing success. While sponsorships help brands attain reach and visibility among TA, leveraging the sponsorship is generally more crucial to meeting one’s marketing and organisational goals. In India, only 7.2 percent of the brands have invested 100 percent equivalent of the sports sponsorship investments in leverage programmes( which is a norm in more advance markets like US and Europe), while nearly 38 percent of the brands invested an equivalent of less than 25 percent of the sponsorship spend on these programmes.


Effectiveness of sports-led marketing campaigns tied to sales and customer perceptions

As much as 82 percent of the respondents measure perception changes owing to the sports-led campaigns, while 62 percent of the group preferred tangible results such as direct impact on sales as the top criteria for evaluating the success of a sport-led marketing campaign. Yet, over 50 percent of the group believe that the need of the hour is a more effective evaluation toolkit to measure the impact of sports-led campaigns.


SportzConsult has been working with leading marketers and media networks to help them meet their objectives through sports strategy, sponsorship consulting and event management services.


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One response to “India Inc opts for sports as preferred marketing”

  1. archana says:

    when was this survey conducted or this article published. is this new

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