The Marketing Funnel for Basketball Clubs


Besides winning championships, Sports Clubs need to be economically viable and even profitable. In this battle, Sports Clubs have different income sources as for example sponsorships, publicity or match tickets. But one of the main sources is, of course, memberships dues. Memberships are important not only for their financial benefits but also for the social relevance they provide.

Because of this, every single club includes, in his key objectives, to increase the number of members. To achieve this challenge it is advisable to apply marketing strategies. In this sense, every members adquisition system should begin with the so called marketing funnel. This name is used as a metaphor of a system where you need a very big mouth to obtain a lot of prospects (potential customers/members) and then you have to manage them with marketing techniques until, finally, you get a certain amount of members sing ups.

Of course, during the process, you will lost a lot of prospective members that finally won´t be members. But this is not entirely true, because in marketing no effort is useless. In fact, many of this potential partners, with proper inbound marketing (marketing techniques based in progressive seduction), will be maturing their motivation and probably will become members in the future.

On the other hand, these resources, dedicated to attracting members, increase the club´s brand image powerfully. In this line, as the neuromarketing researchs has shown us, investing in advertising communications and other sensory stimuli, related to the club brand, are able to be placed in our minds as subconscious memories. Of course, this memories will benefit the club´s reputation and the emotional connection, and this implies bigger probabilities to sign up.

Either way, all of us know that the main reasons to be a member of a sport club are emotional. In many cases, because some relative or a friend is a fan or member of a club, we begin to follow it. Other reason could be our passion for the sport combined with a sense of belonging to our city. But, because different reasons, there are plenty of people who follow their favorite team without being club members. Precisely, the marketing funnel should be designed to attract and convert this followers in members.

We are not discovering any panacea, but we hope to bring a more systematized approach that will contribute to improving the efficiency of these processes. If you look for about the marketing funnel, you will find many different structures to define it. Anyway, as we are talking about get members for basketball clubs, we are going to propose a kind of funnel focused and tailored to this objective. Of course, there are currently numerous marketing managers applying this approach, each in his own way. For them, our aim is only to provide new points of view that enrich the possibilities of the procedures to be applied.

To get to the point, we propose a marketing funnel divided in this steps:

1º Awareness. In this phase, the club has to expand his Brand and attract prospects by different ways.

2º Interest. Once you have got a number of contacts or potential members, you have to develop interest in the team, the matches and the whole club enviroment.

3º Consideration. The next step is focused in the experience of the prospective members to seduce them.

4º Convertion. If you´ve managed to put them in the right emotional state, now is the moment to apply proper sales techniques to closet he deal.

5º Loyalty. Obviously, the last step is to maintain and retain the new member for a long long time.

In next articles, we will expand all of these items.


Author: Chano Jiménez. Author of the books: Vended Malditos Benditos and Digital Attraction, Phd in Economics, Postgraduate in Neuromarketing, Master in Sports Management, Master in Business Management and Marketing and Sales Consultant for sports business and organizations.