This morning I read an article about how marketers and brands are undervaluing women’s sport, with particular emphasis on the current FIFA Women’s World Cup (Marketing Week). The article reported that, according to FIFA, the competition will reach 30 million female football players and 336 million fans worldwide. In the UK, every match is being shown on the BBC.
So, why haven’t I really heard anything about it? Do I have my head under a rock, or are marketers really missing a trick in attracting what should be its core audience – women. Other than a small number of major brands, there appears to be very little promotion surrounding the Women’s World Cup. Despite the recent success of Sport England’s ‘This Girl Can’ campaign in raising awareness of women’s sport and general fitness, it can still be seen that there is little uptake in marketing to support women’s sports – just take a look at the listings of your sports channels and see how many women’s sports are being televised. This doesn’t give much incentive to the big brands to get involved.
So could small businesses take the lead in this?
For any small business looking to target women, the sponsorship of a local women’s sports team or advertising at the location where the activity is done would be a surefire way of catching their eye – whilst also supporting that activity at a grassroots level. Specific marketing activities linking to your business to support local teams or larger competitions may also be likely to generate PR for your business, all of which is mutually beneficial for both sport and business.
The golden rule for such targeted marketing is not to be contrite. Make sure your offer is worthwhile to the audience to really get them on board, and encourage their loyalty.
If more small businesses lead the way in supporting women’s sport, then the larger brands may follow as interest increases. This provides small business with a rare opportunity to be leaders in a lesser supported area, and so should be an activity which is both supported and celebrated.