Consumer-Based Marketing: The Use of Micro-Segmentation Strategies for Understanding Sport Consumption

Article excerpt

Executive Summary

Increased competition for consumer entertainment dollars illustrates the importance of adopting decision-making processes that enhance business decisions. The present research utilized the Psychological Continuum Model (PCM) (Funk and James, 2001) to examine the predictive ability of consumer-based associations to differentiate consumer segments in the competitive team sport industry. The data collected provide sport managers with a powerful diagnostic tool to carve out market segments and develop appropriate promotional strategies. Once profiled, informed segment decisions can be made regarding sponsorship recognition, promotional content and specific channel delivery systems that stimulate processing of promotional material.

The Team Association Scale (TAS) was randomly distributed by mail to 1,400 individuals residing in a large US mid western metropolitan area. No prior knowledge regarding specific team or sport interest was known. Participants were randomly selected to receive a survey of either a NCAA or NFL football team located within the metropolitan area. Of the returned responses, 404 usable surveys were collected for a response rate of 28.9 per cent.

The present data replicate and extend prior efforts to understand the link between consumer-based associations and team loyalty. The alpha coefficients for each construct ranged from [alpha] = .75 to [alpha] = .95 and should increase comfort in the predictive ability of the TAS and its use in a number of team sport settings. As expected, the mean scores and standard deviations for consumer-based associations reflected a more diverse interest and consumption than reported in prior studies. However, the magnitude of each association was relatively similar with star player, product delivery, logo, tradition, nostalgia, venue, . identification, and escape consistent with prior research.

A composite loyalty variable was derived from number of home games attended, number of games watched on TV, frequency of monthly media use, direct personal experience with eight team-related activities and four attitudinal commitment items. A tripartite split on respondent loyalty scores placed 128 respondents into a casual group, 150 into a moderate group, and 126 into a loyal group. Multiple discriminant analysis revealed six sport consumer-based associations: star player, team identification, nostalgia, product delivery, success and escape could be utilized to classify respondents into one of the three groups with 74.3 per cent accuracy utilizing 18 survey questions.

The present data provide sport industry practitioners with a powerful discriminate function to profile consumers and make informed managerial decisions. The function provides the ability to identify potential growth segments such as casuals and moderates and subsequently design promotional strategies that target associations that are more controllable than winning. The results also illustrate how to implement strategic marketing activities designed to guide decisions regarding sponsorship, feedback to corporate partners, development of advertising, and processing of marketing content.

The present data enable marketers to carve out market segments based upon six survey measures to differentiate among consumers for a specific product (NFL, NCAA, Premier League, Olympics) or product category (football, soccer, tennis). This segmentation information suggests that casual, moderate and loyal consumers can now be classified using six mental associations linked to National Football League and NCAA Division I football organizations. The present data indicate that sport managers who are able to identify salient physical and psychological features that specific consumer segments associate to the event will gain valuable information to position marketing communication.

Consumer-Based Marketing: The Use of Micro-Segmentation Strategies For Understanding Sport Consumption

Attracting and retaining customers remains a critical management issue facing sport practitioners and academics today. …