by Bernard Mullin,Stephen Hardy and William Sutton
In many organizations, marketing functions are not centralized, and this has caused problems. For instance, in professional and collegiate sport there is often minimal linkage between the public relations or sport information director (who is usually a journalist) and the director of promotions. At times, the units are antagonistic, vying for scarce resources or the era of a higher executive. Such organizational conflict -usually the result of historical development- is illogical, given that public relations and promotion should be part of an integrated marketing plan. A comprehensive marketing structure is needed to direct the efforts of marketing personnel and to ensure that these efforts are consistent with organizational goals and policies -and that they complement and do not duplicate one another.
The structure should evolve from organizational strategy. When the Atlanta Braves [the baseball team] realized the need to juice the "fan experience" in 2004, they reorganized their marketing department to include a "stadium" group that focused on the "in-game presentation." Likewise, in the late 1990s, the Dallas Burn of MLS [Major league Soccer] realized that their objective of building a stronger base of Hispanic fans required a change in their marketing structure. At the time they had only one person working on this objective -a Hispanic media liaison who also worked in community relations. The Burn made him director of the new Department of Hispanic Marketing and Community Development, with a staff of two account executives and a community liaison. From a single person trying to do several jobs, the Burn now had four people with a single mission. The Burn had recofigured structure to follow strategy. On the other hand, the Women's United Soccer Association failed to see that structure must align with strategy. A start-up league that required strong ticket sales to survive, the WUSA was top-heavy with senior executives and hollow at the level of sales staff. No wonder the league folded so quickly.
We offer a sample design for a sport marketing function. Although the sample is geared to high-performance spectator sports, the framework can be adjusted to the needs, resources, and products of other sport organizations.
Director of marketing
Responsible for all marketing efforts, reporting directly to the organization's chief executive. Oversees all other directors. Responsible for planning marketing activities and controlling their effectiveness. Determines budgets and resource allocations.
Director of advertising
Responsible for the design, layout and media selection of all advertising materials. The advertising director is also responsible for all creative copy and illustrations in all print media published by the organization. (in small organizations, this function is contracted out to an advertising agency. The coordination with the agency is responsability of the Director of Marketing).
Director of sales
Coordinates all personal selling functions and is responsible for directing, training and evaluating sales staff, who represent the following functions:
• Advertising sales: The sale of all advertising space in programs, on the broadcast network, over the public address system, and on the electronic score-bord, as well as all signage space in the venue that the organizations controls.
• Corporate sales: The sale of private boxes and group-rate plans or individual "company nights" to corporations, private businesses and public institutions.
• Premium seats: Sales of club or premium seats that combine box amenities with the lower cost of a single-season ticket.
• Group sales: Efforts (closely allied to corporate sales) to attract groups to events. Differs from corporate sales in that group-sales personnel target social groups, volunteer organizations, and clubs.
• Season ticket/full membership sales:Sales to "heavy users" who have purchased season tickets or full memberships in the past or who are probable heavy users.
• Game or event ticket sales: Function that falls under joint control with the Ticket Manager, who directs day-of-game sales by ticket salespeople.
Directs the efforts of ticket-office staff (and sales staff on day of game). Responsibilities include allocation of tickets to ticket outlets (distribution network); allocation of press or guest passes and media credentials; control of and accounting for tickets; and management of sales records broken down by location, ticket plan, game or event day.
Director of market research and development
Provides primary and secondary market data, develops and maintains the marketing information system, identifies new markets, and creates preliminary penetration plans for new markets. Provides service support to sales and public relations staff in terms of market research and intelligence. The person in this position is the logical person to oversee development and management of a Web site, because the Web serves and supports many interests (e.g., public relations, sales, promotions).
Director of promotions
Responsible for generating, planning and implementing sales promotions. Role is coordinated with those of Director of Advertising, Director of Public Relations and Director of Community Relations.
Director of merchandising
Responsible for marketing and merchandising the team logo and name and for any licensing activities. Controls and establishes the production of souvenirs and programs that bear team name or logo. Responsible for marketing the athletes of the team and for endorsement contracts bearing the team name or logo. Controls the concessions and souvenir stands and pro shops.
Director of public relations
Directs the media relations and community relations functions. In small organizations, the public relations director may be responsible for one of these two functions:
• Media Relations Director: Responsible for all relations withe the media. Disseminates information, distributes press releases, creates media guides, manages Web site, and organizes press conferences. Coordinates with the Ticket Manager on press credentials and the assignment of media to the press box. Controls the press box and develops game-day statistics.
• Community Relations Director: Develops, coordinates and executes all community activities. Responsible for activity development in the community and at the facility, including sport camps or clinics, community nights, athlete and personnel appearances and relationship with general consumers other than the media. Also responds to fan mail.
Each of these functions is essential to an effective marketing effort. The failure to perform one of these functions substantially reduces marketing efficiency. Small organizations might subcontract these functions to sport marketing firms or advertising agencies. Organizations with limited resources or light workloads can combine some of the functions. When necessary, the directors of various functions can carry out the operational activities as well as maintain their primary responsabilities for planning and control. However, a small organizational structure can have a "collapsing effect" and combining roles can have the following counterproductive results:
• Lack of specialization results in lack of expertise. The manager hires either a person who is expert in one task and not good in the other, or someone who has a general ability but no expertise in either task. This often happens in colleges that hire one person to direct both sport information and sport marketing.
• The emphasis becomes an operational emphasis (getting the job done), rather than a planning or control emphasis. Accomplishing the operational tasks precludes planning and reflecting on performance and strategies. The ability to effectively analyze staff performance and provide training rapidly diminishes.
In small structures, the higher levels of management activity are lost and the degree of specialization is severely reduced; planning and control cease. Some might claim that the structure proposed in this article is unwieldy and too expensive. Obviously, size and scope will vary with the organization's objectives and resources.
Excerpt from the book "Sport Marketing", by Mullin, Hardy and Sutton, Third Edition 2007, Human Kinetics.