Big League Talent, Major League Fun : Kalamazoo Growlers Grass-Roots Marketing Strategy
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This paper represents a grass-roots marketing plan for start-up sports organizations looking to enter into a new market segment, while understanding both the personnel and financial restrictions of a small sports organization. The Kalamazoo Growlers are a new collegiate summer baseball team located in Kalamazoo, Michigan and are a member of the Northwoods League. This organization currently only focuses on one market segment, adults 25-34 with children, but would also like to expand to include a new market segment of adults 18-24. This plan will address this market expansion. The paper begins with a review of the current literature about several marketing strategies for start-up sports organizations. The literature review finds four main focuses for start-up sports organizations: 1.) consumer preference, 2.) product differentiation, 3.) sports marketing, and 4.) guerrilla marketing. These four focuses are essential when mentioned by several studies pertaining to start-up sports organizations. The data, reveals that through a mix of both theories of marketing, sports marketing, and guerrilla marketing techniques these organizations should be able to implement a successful grass-roots marketing plan to obtain the most promotion as possible while keeping to the organizations financial restrictions. The literature review is followed by a marketing plan, which includes both a situational analysis and marketing tactic recommendations. This plan displays both the macroeconomic environment as well as microeconomic environmental factors that affect the Kalamazoo Growlers, their main competition, several business aspects through a SWOT analysis, and a profile of the consumers of the Kalamazoo Growlers. The objectives of the marketing plan are to increase total revenue through ticket sales and increase the Growlers presence within the new target market segment. The marketing strategies utilized in this plan are strictly guerrilla marketing techniques to help increase the connection with new market segments. The two different strategies used in this plan are updating current social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and implementing new guerrilla marketing techniques such as: posterizing, flash mobs, event-based promotional events, and QR codes. The plan will span one year, to be re-evaluated and improved before Year Two. This plan will require minimal financial capital and time commitment from each staff member of the Kalamazoo Growlers. This plan proves that through the use of guerilla marketing techniques, it is possible for a start-up sports organization to enter into a new market segment without the use of additional assets.
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