Marketing Research Paper on Marketing Plan: A Sports Enterprise

Marketing Plan: A Sports Enterprise

Introduction

AlphaSports Program (ASP) is a community-based sports program that offers the community with an all round sports package particularly focused on the youths. The program provides all its participants productive training and experiences, while also enabling the people involved to gain long-life memories. The organization provides the learning experience of such sporting activities to a wide range of participant groups in the younger range. AlphaSports will continue being the leading organization in providing such sporting experiences while also making the experience accessible and affordable for all willing participants. To facilitate this, the organization conducts various fund-raising drives to avail a strong financial base of managing the resources. Nonetheless, the program has not been without challenges in relation to uncertainties brought about by facility requirements, capital needs and property tax changes. Other issues include influences from alternative programs offered in the region plus the need for volunteer trainers. Consequently, this raises the need to aggressively market this program to increase awareness of its existence and the benefits or exceptional sporting experiences offered. The marketing of this program, therefore, will be based on the thesis that, ‘a unique marketing campaign benefits every business by facilitating increased sales through the heightened brand awareness’ (Brooksbank,1999).

Internal and External Contingencies

Internal Contingencies

Facilities: As the organization continues growing, sports facilities demands increase as well, beyond what the organization can currently supply. Indeed, the need for facilities is among the most urgent contingency or challenge facing ASP. This vital component faces threats from diverse areas. For instance, the surging program needs plus the latest restrictions and charges in using public school facilities is becoming a great issue of concern. On the other hand, indoor facilities are limited in facilitating volleyball and basketball games as well as tournaments. Furthermore, the existing facilities are inadequate in supporting convenient and flexible practice schedules for individuals and teams. Such challenges present the need to explore and execute new and innovative solutions to facilitate extra facilities that can help considering the rising program demands (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003).

Financial/capital requirements: ASP has continued making remarkable improvements in managing their financial resources. However, future occurrences may demand for additional funds in efforts to maintain the level of quality of sporting experiences the organization has been providing. Therefore, extra funds will be critical in satisfying future demands of the program. Moreover, the organization’s fund-raising drives strategy aims at ensuring substantial financial resources to support the AlphaSports program. For this reason, the future of this program highly relies on such resources plus revenues gathered from the participants as well as other conventional fund-raising events (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003).

External Contingencies

Property tax changes: Modifications on the property tax affects public school systems as well as their support for sports programs. Such changes may also influence the willingness to avail their school sports facilities to be used by external programs such as the ASP. Although the extent to which such changes or measures affects the public schools is not very clear, it is essential for AlphaSports to consider the possible outcomes when making plans for the program in the coming years (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003).

Alternative programs: AlphaSports has been and will continue suffering from the rising impacts of other alternative programs that the targeted participants can choose. Such alternatives include the organization-sponsored sports programs, sports clubs plus many others. The alternatives may pose threats to some market segments that ASP targets in their market. Moreover, such organizations target committed and highly skilled players as well as coaches that ASP may need to boost the quality of the services they avail to the community. For this reason, such alternative sports programs can erode the breadth and depth of ASP coach and participants resources (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003).

 Although none of the alternative programs in Oregon provides a comprehensive range of infrastructure or experiences availed by ASP, the market also has several other sports programs providing competitive sporting experiences (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003). Some of such programs provide unique attributes that appear impressive to parents and participants, especially for people seeking higher competition levels or competitive participants screening. Among the available alternatives are Southern Oregon Volleyball, Oregon Youth Soccer, National Gymnastics Academy and American Legion Baseball, among many others. In addition, other sports programs are available via other organizations and schools. Indeed, this level of competition has raised questions relating to the indoor soccer organizations future, some of the products availed by ASP. Although ASP has a considerable share of the entire market, the increasing competition from other programs of sports poses threats to the organization’s future.

Liability and legal issues: The operation of ASP continues suffering exposures to liability issues in diverse aspects associated with the sports experiences it avails to its target market. Possible concerns may relate to safety and health matters plus other different kinds of physical and verbal abuse. Considering that Oregon is an increasingly litigious community, there are great possibilities of legal actions either from parents, participants or other interested parties (Kotler & Andreasen, 2003).

Justification for Market Selection Decisions

AlphaSports Program will primarily target the Oregon region of the US, but plans are underway to extend the program to states within US. The organization will basically target the students in homeschooled, private and public schools including the kindergarten kids. The students will gain recreation experiences thereby enhancing their health, fitness and athletic skills. Besides the sporting skills, the program will enable the youths to gain experiences in leadership, sportsmanship and cooperation. The program will similarly welcome participation from the neighboring communities. The market choice was due to a number of reasons. On market demographics, about 50% of households within this region have children below 18years, with an average of 2kids each (McDonald, 2002).

 For this reason, a substantial number of children under 18years are potential ASP participants. Male participants are about 60% while female are 40%, with boys mostly engaging in football games and girls dominating volleyball. However, the percentages keep fluctuating as trends change in relation to sports choices plus other substitute sports availed in the market. Psychographic factors also influence the market choice. Family groups interested in such sport programs comprise of parents with full-time work schedule (8am-5pm) and parents with two and more children at home. Similarly, it includes parents with limited time but somehow active in their children’s lives as well as parents that value social and physical experiences received by their children from the sports (Kotler, 1997).

Targeting and Positioning

ASP primarily targets the young people aged between 5 and 18 years, comprising of students in home-schooled, private and public schools. Such include persons that have interests to engage in competitive sports. The program welcomes both first timers as well as experienced players to participate in organized sports experiences. The target market also incorporates persons with an increasing interest in indoor and outdoor soccer. ASP positions itself as a non-profit and tax-free organization, devoted towards availing sports opportunities, which offers the participants some exceptional learning experiences (Kotler, 1997). The program avails exceptional experiences to children with a desire to enjoy a fun-filled sporting experience. The participants can participate more than one sport across the year and the participation is not based on past skills, ability or experiences but offers opportunities to all.

ASP has positioned itself to offer a differentiated and competitive product that does not compare to any other in the market (Kotler, 1997). The organization works hand in hand with guardians and parents to ensure a satisfying sport experience. The program is such that it offers every willing participant an opportunity to participate regardless of his/her gender, race, religion, ability, skills or financial position. ASP experience takes a design that enables each participant to have recreation experiences by engaging in planned team sports, improve athletic skills, improve health/fitness, learn diverse kinds of sports, gain skills in teamwork, fair-play and sportsmanship while also having fun.

Sports Marketing Mix

Product: ASP’s product is in form of a service, presenting various sports opportunities and experiences to willing participants. The service offering is an integral portion of every participant’s learning experience. The product is provided under the perception that each targeted participant will have an opportunity to participate without regarding their ability, financial status, race, religion or gender. The sports are diverse including both indoor and outdoor games like athletics, soccer, and volleyball, among many others. Experiences to be learnt from participation include recreation, athletic skills, sportsmanship, teamwork, health/fitness and fair play, amidst others (Rust, 2004).

Pricing: The pricing of these sports are increasingly pocket-friendly to ensure that no willing participant lacks a chance to participate. ASP ensures the fees charged on participants are highly affordable to enable each person have an equal opportunity regardless of his/her financial status. Considering that ASP is not a profit-making organization, funds to ensure continuity and improvements of experiences availed to participants is derived through fund drives, donations and contributions from well wishers. Similarly, the organization embraces participation of sports from neighboring regions (outside Oregon) at a slightly high cost to cater for better services, thereby enabling the organization to charge lower fees on their participants (McDonald, 2002).

Promotion: Various forms of promotional activities will be engaged to help advertise the ASP offering. The marketing department will work collaboratively with the marketing committee and the BOD members in coordinating the organization’s marketing efforts. However, the implementation part will be the marketing department’s responsibility. Among the strategies to employ include advertising via different mediums, promotional scholarships and year-end marketing campaign. Public relations will be through promoting a positive public image by engaging in corporate social responsibility activities like sponsorship and taking care of the environment. Other promotional strategies will include direct marketing, marketing via the company’s website as well as the various social media sites including Twitter and Face-Book (McDonald, 2002).

Place: ASP aims to reach many of their targeted markets in a convenient and effective way. For this reason, sports are availed in different locations throughout Oregon but coordinated from one central point to ensure the quality of services are standard. Both indoor and outdoor sports are offered based on the participant’s preferences. Some sports such as soccer will be offered within public schools facilities and community grounds. The service is offered in an environment where each participant gets a chance of playing and learning, regardless of whether he/she is a starter or an experienced player. Through this service, ASP aims to offer participants long-standing memories in relation to their youth sporting experiences (McDonald, 2002).

Marketing Process Plan

ASP strives to become the key provider of sports experiences to children within the targeted market. A number of programs have been put in place in efforts to simultaneously serve willing participants from the areas neighboring Oregon in a positive manner to help in boosting ASP’s revenues with minimal extra costs. ASP’s marketing strategy tries to effectively communicate the uniqueness f the value delivered by the offerings availed by the program. Basically, the strategy does not majorly focus on the affordable cost aspect but rather on the benefits derived by guardians and participants through their involvement. This marketing strategy will go on identifying the market needs and consequently communicating with the targeted audience in the most efficient and best way possible (Terzoudis, 2007).

Continuous efforts have been attempting to understand how ASP can maintain the integrity and quality of their program using the minima financial resources generated from the participants and donors or supporters. Further, ASP is consistently working towards enhancing the program by changing and improving the structure and execution strategy. ASP’s growth strategy is mainly based on the constant focus on the quality level of the experiences of participants together with the identification of opportunities for expanding program participation. However, it is notable that recent changes on major areas like the facilities the organization uses for events have presented threatening challenges across the program aspects (McDonald, 2002).

The control phase is based on the fact that this marketing plan aims to act as a guide or direction to all the organizational members including the directors’ board, the employees as well as the volunteers. The plan will help the members to continue improving the organization plus its ability in serving the Oregon’s youth satisfactorily as expected (Terzoudis, 2007). Every stakeholders has to take his/her role seriously to enable the organization achieve their goals. Failure to execute any of such programs can have devastating effects upon the success of the sports program availed by ASP.  

Although ASP has numerous opportunities to expand and grow, a number of threats have been presenting various risks to their operations. The organization, however, recognizes that it has a chance to generate huge returns through their efforts to continuously capture the biggest market share through aggressive marketing efforts to counter their rivals or other alternative programs availed in the market. ASP, therefore, is strategically positioned in the market and is capitalizing on their scale economies. The critical issues to facilitate their success and competitiveness include continuing providing programs perceived positive, affordable and enriching in comparison to competitors in the market. Similarly, ASP should attract participants repetitively through their kindergarten to high school years as well as being perceived as valuable resources by the private, public and home-schooling providers to complement their academic experiences (Terzoudis, 2007).

Conclusion

The above marketing plan has demonstrated that a marketing plan is increasingly essential in facilitating the success of a business or an organization. This validates the thesis that, ‘unique marketing efforts benefits every business by facilitating increased sales and heightened brand awareness’. AlphaSports will continue being the leading organization in providing exceptional sporting experiences while also making the experience accessible and affordable for all willing participants. Apparently, the organization serves approximately 25000 participants in 10 sports across the region. Continuous efforts are engaged in pursuit of improving the program’s quality.

References

Brooksbank, R. (1999). The Theory and Practice of Marketing Planning in the Smaller Business. Marketing Intelligence and Planning, 17(2):78-90.

Kotler, P. (1997). Marketing Management: Analysis, Planning, Implementation and Control. London, UK: Prentice Hall Publishers.

Kotler, P., & Andreasen, R. (2003). Strategic Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations. London, UK: Prentice Hall Publishers.

McDonald, B. (2002). Marketing Plans: How to Prepare them, How to Use them. London, UK: Prentice Hall Publishers.

Rust, R. (2004). How does Marketing Strategy Change in a Service-Based. Journal of Marketing, 1(1):1-23.

Terzoudis, C. (2007). Strategic Marketing Planning in the Sport Sector. Sport Management International Journal, 3(1):28-45.