Marketers generally consider the 18-49 y/o male demographic as apathetic and elusive. But here’s the thing… Men will spend money on sports-related activities before dropping cash on a $20 co-pay for a much needed doctor’s visit. Sports leagues and franchises have figured out how to tap into the male brain and separate us from our cash. What have they figured out that other industries haven’t? Keep reading and you’ll find out.
The male ego is large enough to be a Wonder of the World. Our superstitions, rituals, and opinions suggest that we play a role in how things unfold in a game. If a man feels like he has no control in a situation or over a product, it usually won’t be “worth” his investment. Put the male ego in the driver’s seat and you’ll get the sale.
Everyone simply likes winners. Men spend money to “be on” the winning team. Some sports franchises have even figured out how to keep men coming despite a losing tradition, which leads us to…
Women are more committed to their brand(s) of choice. Men are roamers and typically struggle with commitment (of all kinds). But when it comes to sports, men love to claim their commitment to their team. Some men will lie about their commitment just to appear committed. This is where the term “bandwagon fan” comes from. This commitment, whether genuine or not, yields revenue for the sports industry.
Familiarity & Comfort
Men are typically raised to play and/or appreciate sports. Men relate to athletic activity, which makes spending money on sports easier to do. Selling comfort is typically a good direction to go for most products and services.
Fantasy & Opinion
Professional athletes are the cream of the crop, but male fans like to imagine themselves in the shoes of the athlete. This is where the term “Monday Morning Quarterback” comes from. Men love discussing what they would have done in a particular game scenario; but they can only discuss it if they see it. The auxiliary winners here are television makers, mobile platforms, sports streaming networks, blogs/fan forums, and cable networks with sports programming.
As a result of men’s love of Power combined with Fantasy & Opinion, we often love playing games outside the game. We like putting things (fantasy sports teams) together and being in control of the pieces after assembly. Above all that, we seek and enjoy competition. This is why fantasy sports is a $2 billion per year industry. Sports video games and simulators have become a staple investment of capital and time for men for decades. As the gameplay becomes more realistic, the interest and demand will only increase. The huge Madden video game franchise is an example of the magnitude of gamification in the male demographic.
Sex & Visuals
This isn’t a complex concept. Men are typically superficial beings when it comes to sex. We are enticed by what appeals to our eyes. It’s no coincidence that sports franchises invest in cheerleaders and dancers as part of the entertainment aspect of the game. Sex sells.
Connectivity & Urgency
Everyone reacts to urgency in buying decisions. Based on research, women have been shown to do more impulse purchasing; but the sports industry proves that men aren’t immune to impulse. As soon as a season ends, fans are emailed, tweeted, called, and texted with sales pitches for season tickets for the next season. Since entertainment in general has gone mobile, so have the avenues for fans to be sold to.
If you’re a marketer who’s stumped on how to reach men with your brand, use sports as a blueprint, and you’ll be well on your way.
For more advice from Christopher Craft, grab a copy of his new book O.P.E.N. Routine on personal branding, here.