We all know that marketing between large firms and professional sports is a huge industry.
It is a partnership with billions if not even trillions to those companies and the teams that they use to advertise products. It is fairly unrealistic to think that a small business could afford to swim with the big fishes in this sea of ads, at least in the beginning.
Markets of Scale
But why not use this same principle on a much smaller scale? Small retail businesses rely heavily on community support. Why not show your support by buying advertising from the local Community College or even High School?
This can be a very cost effective way to get the word out to consumers in your immediate area that you are open for business and that you are a part of the community. Many of these small schools have ads or sponsorships on signs and field houses but an even cheaper way to advertise may be on the programs or in the school newspaper. Hundreds and hundreds of people will see these ads.
It's not the millions who see ads on the large sporting venues, but these hundreds I dare say are better quality. By this I mean they are in your area and much more likely to patronize your business. When we had a retail store for instance an ad in the local newspaper could cost several hundred dollars a day for small ads with no color. However, we placed an ad in the local High School newspaper that was to run every week for the whole year for only $175. We place a coupon in it for new customers and saw a great increase using this low cost approach. Seeing how effective this was we then took out an ad in the program for the football season. This also had the same effect.
Up and Coming Sports
I realize it may not be possible due to location or oversaturation of a market for everyone to take advantage of this type of marketing. So I have another suggestion in case you fall into this category.
You should seek out smaller lesser know sporting events that may be gaining in popularity or have a strong national recognition while starting to get noticed locally. In case I have confused you, I am talking about sports like Mixed Martial Arts. In the professional arenas this is know as Ultimate Fighting. It has a huge following and is gaining in popularity every day. However, in almost every region of every state there is a MMA gym that sponsors small events or qualifying bouts. These gyms will no doubt need some support and be more than willing to provide your company with affordable advertising options.
You may also seek out things like poker tournaments or golf competitions as well. These are typically still locally run but may help you to take advantage of the growing popularity they are experiencing in the professional ranks. This could also be said of football or other traditional sports as well. Most sports have some kind of semi-pro or competition league with families and friends in attendance at each game.
While we won't see your commercial during the Super Bowl halftime show anytime soon I do hope this will help get those creative juices flowing and point you on the right path to meet your marketing goals.