Your marketing message is part of your personal brand and should include what marketers call your USP, which stands for Unique Selling Proposition. This is what differentiates you from everyone else and helps you stand out from the crowd to land a job in sports. It will also inspire employers to want to know more about you.
What’s YOUR Marketing Message?
Setting yourself apart from everyone else is good, but that’s only the beginning. What your marketing message needs to say—loud and clear—is what the employer will get (from you) if/when they hire you.
David Frey, author of The Small Business Marketing Bible, says the biggest mistake companies make with their marketing message is that they communicate, ‘What-We-Do’ instead of ‘What’s-In-It-For-Me.’
Frey says, “If there were two radio stations (i.e. WWD vs. WIIFM), which one do you think your prospect would rather hear? While you’re playing WWD on your radio, your prospect is looking for the WIIFM station. In order for your message to match your market, you need to be broadcasting WIIFM.”
Tie Your Marketing Message to Your Best Position
Marketing yourself for a job in sports is similar to marketing a small business. But in your case, you want to tie your marketing message to your “Best Position”. Your Best Position is a specific job that you should be pursuing because it’s a perfect fit for your talent, your skillset and you’re passionate enough about it that you’re willing to dedicate yourself to becoming the very best.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say your Best Position is selling corporate sponsorships for the NBA, NBADL, college basketball, Hoop-It-Up, or any other basketball property. Most of your competitors will be marketing themselves in the WWD mode, which would be something along the lines of, “I have sales experience, passion for basketball and I’m a hard worker.”
But that message sucks! It’s too generic. Most candidates say the exact same thing. What the employer really wants to hear is a solution to their problem. Or like Frey likes to say, “What’s-In-It-For-Me?” Fortunately for you, every sports-related company has problems and want a solution, including teams in the NBA.
Instead of communicating the same tired, “I have a passion for basketball” message everyone else uses, your marketing message should position you as the answer to a specific need. The good news is that all sponsorship departments are looking for ways to get their needs met.
6 Needs Every Sponsorship Department Has
- Need to increase sales, regardless of past success
- Need for new sponsor categories to grow business
- Need better ways to reach “fringe fans” through sponsorship
- Need creative sponsorships that deliver better ROI for clients
- Need new ways to leverage social media into sponsorships
- Need to increase current sponsor spending to drive revenue
Zeroing in on one of those needs — and communicating how you as a candidate can fill it — is the essence of your marketing message. While those needs listed above are specific to Sponsorship Departments, I understand not everyone reading this will be pursuing a job selling corporate sponsorships. But it’s important to recognize that every department, even successful Sponsorship Departments, look for new ways to improve.
Regardless of what your Best Position is, or which department you’re contacting, every sports-related company has 10 primary needs that need to be filled. As you read the 10 Needs listed below, figure out where you can make a difference.
10 Primary Needs of Sports-related Companies
- Need to increase sales
- Need to land more customers
- Need to manage more efficiently
- Need to keep finances in order
- Need to pay and file taxes
- Need to look good in the media
- Need to protect assets
- Need to more innovation
- Need to help the community
- Need to be the industry leader
This list barely scratches the surface because the needs are so broad. But it shows you how to categorize business needs in a simple way. By doing this, it allows you to easily identify company objectives. When you understand company objectives, it’s easier to figure out the deeper needs of an organization and where you best fit.
Sometimes the job title of your Best Position gives you clues to the needs of the companies you’re targeting. But you’ve got to look below the surface to discover the ‘real’ need. For example, the title, “Assistant PR Director,” doesn’t say much, other than the company needs help in the PR department.
However, smart candidates will do a little digging and discover the real needs in the PR department are more specific: the need for better communication with the media; the need to make deeper connections with a specific audience; the need for more efficient ways to deliver press releases, or any number of things.
It’s your job to figure out where you fit and where you can make the biggest impact.
The Most Important Question to Ask Yourself to Land a Job in Sports
When developing your marketing message, the most important question you can answer is this: Where can I make the biggest contribution to the companies I’m targeting?
What have you done to improve your marketing message and improve you chances at landing at job in sports? Leave us you comments below or tweet us!