(This is a guest article by Anthony Alsop)
If you like sports and technology you have been given a name, you are a “Jeek”. According to a specific niche of Adidas’s company wide target market, you are a Jeek, in other words you are a mix between a jock and a geek. To qualify to be a jeek you are typically a sports-loving male, who is computer literate and in the 12-20 year age bracket (though the age range is a little too specific).
Market segmentation is the act of identifying and profiling distinct groups of buyers who might require separate products and/or marketing mixes. It is the process of splitting customers into different groups or segments, within which customers with similar characteristics have similar needs. For too long sports marketing firms were trying to segment us and tried to show that one market couldn’t merge with another.
Jocks and geeks could never merge into the same market, could they? Through market research and more powerful use of demographics, the answer is now a resounding yes, and brands are beginning to learn how to “niche-ify” their target markets accordingly.
In 1999 Adidas signed a 5-year estimated NZ$100m deal with New Zealand Rugby as their apparel sponsor. To help launch the new partnership the marketing team of Adidas partnered with Saatchi and Saatchi Wellington to create an online game and sport community named “Beat Rugby“.
It was the first free downloadable rugby game that connected to the internet with a scoring and point system. For so long sports marketing firms had decided only jocks bought their products, and geeks weren’t in their marketing plans. But as technology changed the sporting landscape through gaming, so the market changed with it and the two segments slowly became one. Kids, and the amazing buying power (via their parents) that comes with them, who were typically outside playing sport, were now taking the game inside to play as their virtual heroes.
Competitive sports gaming has turned into a business, and a bubbling industry of professional gamers has been created. If you like EA Sports’ NBA Live for example, you can win up to $25,000 in cash and prizes by being crowned the champion, gaming has so gone so mainstream that Portland Trail Blazer Brandon Roy was recently there to hand over the winners cheque. If you like soccer, EA Sports recently held the 6th FIFA Interactive World Cup which was won by an American who beat a German in the final, and took home $20,000.
These “jeeks” have turned their jeek-dom into a profession, and a profitable one at that. Sports gaming is now it’s own industry, and you don’t even have to play the game in real life to play it online. With the PS3 and Xbox all being integrated with the web and now social media, it’s even possible to play with other jeeks on the other side of the world and share your jeeky experiences.
Anthony Alsop is a blogger, consultant and founder of sportspiel.com.au. He has worked previously in both the IT and sport sectors, so focusing on the niche of social media and sport was a natural fit. Anthony is from Melbourne, Australia which was recently named the sporting capital of the world and has consulted with sporting organisations both in Australia and in the United States. He is also running Australia’s premier sport and social media event, the Digital Sport Summit. You can find him on Twitter @anthonyalsop or via email