Managing sports marketing campaigns without a CRM


There are two reasons why you would potentially be managing sports marketing campaign without a CRM system.

1. You don’t have the luxury of a CRM solution


2. You do have access to some form of supporter database or CRM, but the insights it can give you could not shape your proposed campaign ideas for the better.

Earlier this year we published a Sports Marketing Survey that revealed 1 in 4 of the professional sports organisations that took part didnotuse a CRM for marketing purposes.this means that25% of those surveyed will fall into one of the two categories above.

The reasons why professional sports clubs don’t have a CRM vary (youcandownload the survey to learn more about these different reasons) but what becomes apparent is that there are still marketing and sales teams working to increase attendances, merchandise sales and sponsorship revenue using little more than shared spreadsheets and contact lists. Not surprising in some respects, as the organisations that are being promoted were established long before concepts like commercial optimisation, supporter activation and fan engagement were even conceived. Plus, the success of these clubs and teams, whether historic or more recent, are too often associated with the trophies, cups and medals and not their commercial performance.

So how do you promote a sports club without a 360-degree view of your supporters and sponsors?
A: By maximising what you do have.

Press relationships

It doesn’t take much to attract journalists from local and regional newspaper and radio stations to your stadium/offices/training venues if they think there will be a scoop. Negotiate exclusive interviews with your star players or coaches, in return for advertising space to promote upcoming fixtures, offers, campaigns you are running.

Add unique tracking mechanisms like œquote: Up the Blues’ to get free child admission to learn how well the campaign did overall as well as how well individual media titles perform.

Display advertising

Every square inch of surface area in a sports club venue contains value. Either sold as advertising space to corporate partners or to promote the club itself. Armed with posters, Sellotape and Blu-Tack, maximise every space to advertise offers, upcoming events and fixtures. Bars and lounges, concourses, toilets, club shops-don’t hold back.

If you’re printing posters, print too many and hand them out to local partners. You will find your community will be keen to support you, especially if you provide them with the tools to do so.


It is easy to be distracted by the social media campaigns and activity that leading sports organisations execute. Some of the social media campaigns of Chelsea and Manchester United in football, and Leeds Rhinos and Wigan Warriors in Rugby League for example will dwarf your entire sales and marketing spend. But there are takeaways you can learn from by watching the giants. With social media does come layers of intelligence, with tools designed to manage sentiment and link social profiles to their purchase history with your club and beyond. But for now, use it to remain at the forefront of your supporters’ minds.

Fun works. Your time and effort needs to have some form of ROI attached, but you’re not going to build a social community by solely promoting the next event. Your fans want to learn about your stars’ personalities when they are not performing, so give the people what they want. Utilise this by running quirky activities with your players, athletes, coaches and managers – whoever it may be. Make sure you film it, upload it, publish it, share it then watch the number of views and likes take off as you do more.

Online activity

Loosely connected to your social media activity is the content of your website. To some, web stuff’ is a dark art mastered by millennials, but you don’t have to have an online based business model or be a HTMLwhizz to make your website work for you. Similar to social media, it’s a slow burner. So if you’re shifting from 1st to 2nd gear, you’re unlikely to see a flurry of online enquiries and ticket sales. But stick with it. Getting into the habit of posting regular updates about your organisation’s activity is how to get the momentum going. By using free tracking tools like Google Analytics and Google Webmaster tools over time you’ll see what works, what doesn’t, and how to progress from there.

All of the basic sports marketing tactics mentioned are tried and tested practices used by most professional and amateur sports clubs alike. Besides from social media and online activity, they are methods that have been used in UK sports for over 100 years. And they still work. A single disadvantage that marketers find with the suggested tactics is the lack of traceable ROI. The difference with modern sports marketing, and where a CRM solution is invaluable, is capitalising on the big data that is now available on a campaign and single supporter level. Building a360-degree view of every stakeholder enables you to remove the guesswork out of campaign ideas and go full throttle, with real time campaign performance metrics along the way. Traditional and non-traceable activity will always be part of your sports marketing mix, but your internal marketing department success will come from accurately assigning ROI to your campaigns.