Defining the market we operate in
Updated: Mar 16, 2019
In my previous post, I touched on the idea that "sports consumers" aren't that different to other consumers, both my way of loyalty and spectrum of light to heavy buyers. I figured it would be worth revisiting that within the context of divulging some further insight into the sports spectatorship market we exist within.
Traditionally, markets are mostly divided into two categories dependent on consumer behaviour: repertoire market (purchased often) and subscription market (purchased annually). In the instance of defining our market, it’s a mix of both that particularly aligns with the specific stages of fan development:
Repertoire market: consumers are loyal to a few brands.
For instance, if you are a breakfast cereal eater, you most likely have a favourite product in this category – say Weetbix. However, even though you may describe yourself as a loyal Weetbix consumer, chances are that over a year you've purchased or consumed other brands of cereal as well (for reasons such as trying something new, unavailability of Weetbix etc).
In the instance of sports consumption, it comes down to the difficult decision of what you’ll pursue for entertainment – go for a run, watch a movie, meet a friend for a drink, go to a sports match? Once you’ve decided which category of entertainment you will consume, the specific choice of running location, cinema, bar or game to attend is relatively simple because you have favourites.
Loyalty in repertoire markets is best viewed as a convenient option for consumers (mentally and physically), not as an expression of any deep love or strong emotional attachment.
Specific products we as a Club offer that cater to a repertoire market where we’re competing for choice of entertainment includes casual ticket buying to one-off games, event attendance, licensed venue dining, watching a game on TV, etc.
Whilst not entertainment, but use of disposable income, Merchandise also exists within a repertoire market (i.e. I have $X I can spend on something, what do I spend it on?).
Subscription market: consumers commit to purchasing a product for a fixed period.
Specific differences to repertoire markets is that these products are bought infrequently, often annually; consumers are often solely loyal to one provider and they often involve being formally contracted to one specific provider for the period of purchase (such as phone contracts). Such products include phone services, insurance, banking and utilities.
Specific products we as a Club offer that cater to a subscription market where we’re competing for choice of entertainment and use of disposable income includes Season membership and non-ticketed memberships such as paid broadcast subscriptions to watch games on TV or device (such Foxtel, Kayo or Telstra App).
What it means for sports marketing.
The relationship between both these markets for us is unique and when combined, makes up the South Australian sports spectatorship market.
Unlike traditional subscription markets where the product cannot be trialed beforehand, in the evolvement of fandom from fun to centrality to identity, it is likely that a fan considering buying a membership (subscription product) has previously consumed a casual game ticket (repertoire product).
Accepting this and the dynamics of these two markets respectively is important for understanding and predicting the development and behaviour of fans. It alone highlights the importance and value of understanding the stages of fan development, segmenting our audiences and being able to then approach them separately with relevant communications, products and propositions specific to their motivations and behaviours.