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Discover the proper definition of sports marketing, subdivisions of sportmarketing, segmentations in different types of strategies, how we can help you out and a lot more interesting info and links to help you further with your search! 

Een goede strategie is de basis van ieder succesverhaal binnen marketing, sales en communicatie. Ontdek hier de building blocks van een goede strategie en hoe wij jou verder kunnen helpen.
Marketing vs sportmarketing

What is Sports marketing

“So what’s your job exactly?” “I work in sports marketing.” Oh, what’s that? Wait, you manage athletes? You organize sports events? No you sponsor teams? Well, yes and no. The term sports marketing is used in so many ways that even professionals within the industry aren’t aligned in which contexts sports marketing applies. Basically, it’s all of the above. Before I’ll give you the description of sports marketing, let’s start with the definition of marketing in itself: 


Marketing is the way you promote your business in order to achieve your goals. Specific goals are divided into sales / business goals such acquiring more customers or selling more tickets, while marketing goals include data capturing or brand awareness.

Sport marketing

Now sports marketing is defined as a subpart of general marketing. It is seen as a distinctive branch within marketing because our industry has specific characteristics which differ from other markets.

Sports marketing is a subdivision of general marketing which focusses both on the promotion sports, sportteams, -events athletes or products as the promotion of diverse products and services through sportteams-events and athletes.”


3 different


There are three distinctive subbranches within sports marketing, each with their own specific goals and approaches.

Supporters from Multiple Countries at Stadium All Together

Marketing through sports

“Marketing through sports refers to the use of sporting events, teams and individual athletes to promote non-sports related products.” This is basically a synonym of sports sponsorship

When professionals mention sports marketing, sponsorship is what is most commonly meant. So how does it work? You link your business with sports by sponsoring athletes, teams or events to reach your target audience. You engage with them through advertising or activations in order to create brand awareness and positive brand experiences. These brands generally don’t necessarily have anything to do with sports but want to tap into the popularity. The most popular example here is Red Bull, which is thé icon for extreme sports, though the product itself is not sports related (or at least it didn’t used to be). Also many banks or airlines use this approach. Why? Because sports is one of the most emotionally engaging activities in the world, which binds people from all over the world. Being present in these moments creates a positive brand awareness.

Marketing of sports

Marketing of sports is the promotion of businesses in the sports industry. Examples are the advertising of sports event and sports associations such as the Olympics, La Liga or specific sports teams such as Manchester United.”  The goal here is for people to go watch this sport and fan engagement will play a crucial goal to reach the business goals here. Generally the definition stops here, but In my personal opinion, this is a very limiting description. For me it goes broader it is marketing for any business active in the sports industry. Including sports nutrition brands, clothing brands, sportstech companies, … Though I worked in all subbranches, this is this is the subbranch where my main focus lies.

Workout, soccer and sport equipment background
Group Of Male High School Students Playing In Soccer Team

Grassroots sportmarketing

The third category is the promotion of sports to the public in order to increase participation. This subsection of sports marketing is also categorised as a part of social marketing, as this is of benefit to the public. 

An example here is and promoting sports clubs, federations and new sports such as frisbee, bossaball or earthing – bet you didn’t know that last one yet did you? 😉 – to enthuse people and especially kids to get to know the sport, have fun whilst doing it and to become a regular player. In countries where you have a strong social security, grassroots marketing is usually managed by government or charities rather than private sector organizations as this doesn’t always generate as much revenue as other forms of sports marketing.

Sport Marketing Lifecycle

5 steps to get started



Who  are you targeting and what are their needs, habits and characteristics?



What’s your vision? What need are you solving and how are you positioned?  This will define your branding, pricing and everything you do. 



Let’s break this further down and define your marketing strategy. 



What are your tools and processes? Who is going and how are you going to implement it?


It's all about understanding



And I mean really know them

Athletic Stretching Healthy Workout Sport Concept

Who will be receiving your message?

And be perfectly aware about what they needs are, on which channels they’re active online, what they’re willing to pay and which information they need to receive to perform your desired action. This will obviously depend strongly on the type of sports they’re in as they all have their own subculture and values.

This will be translated into a persona and buyer journey mapping. Where we will use data, company insights and qualitative research to define your perfect customer and their buyer journey towards your product or service. 


based on THEIR needs you CREATE



Why do you and your business exist?

In your business strategy, you will define why your company exists, which need you’re solving and what makes you different from your competitors. This includes your market definition: which activities you’re going to perform (now ànd in the future), and where you business boundaries lie. This will define the position you will claim in the market and will be a crucial step to define your marketing strategy as this is the foundation on which your branding, visual identity and pricing strategy is built, which will be defined in this step of your marketing strategy. 

Thoughtfully defining the building blocks of your marketing strategy in sports is as as crucial as choosing the right handles while climbing up.


based on THEIR needs you CREATE



By creating the building blocks below

And be perfectly aware about what they needs are, on which channels they’re active online, what they’re willing to pay and which information they need to receive to perform your desired action. This will obviously depend strongly on the type of sports they’re in as they all have their own subculture and values.


How will you offer value to your customer?


How are you going to provide value for your customer. Have you thought about flexible intro-offers to lower the barrier for new customers? Which product launches are scheduled and which promotions throughout the year?


What is your offering worth to your customer?


What is the pricing you're going to implement towards different offerings and different customers. Have you thought about packages, upselling offers and loyalty pricing? Will your pricing be the same across all channels?


Where will you sell your product or service?


Where are you going to sell your products? Through your own webshop? Through affiliates? Amazon, bol.com or Coolblue? Or brick & mortar stores. Will this approach be equal across countries?


Through which channels will you reach your customer?


In this section of your marketing strategy you'll define through which channels you'll be able to reach your customers, which channels you'll need to reach the biggest ROI and what your high level strategy will be to guide your leads through the sales funnel. The real fun starts when you start creating your communication strategy and all subdivisions of it, as this will translate your business to the outside world.
More about communication strategy >


Time to make it actionable

Planning &


This phase is about getting the company and stakeholders on board of the strategy. Once this has been approved, it’s time to go in dept and create an actual planning and implementation plan. Which building blocks do you need to perform this strategy? Which skills or partners do you need for the execution and what will be the cost of the next steps. 

How we can help



Knowing who your customer is, what their needs are and fully understanding their buyer journey is key during your marketing strategy. It’s safe to say that you cannot create a good strategy if these are not clearly defined. 

This will define which position you will claim in the market compared to your competitors. This includes your market definition: which activities will you perform (now or in the future) and where will your business stop. This is a crucial step in your marketing strategy as this should define your visual identity, branding and pricing strategy. 

The Go-2-Market strategy will give you a general overview of how you will approach the market. Which will be your sales channels, who are your target audiences and how will you reach them. 

Here we will define the main communication channels through which you can reach your ideal audience and your goal with the biggest ROI. Creating a 360° channel strategy, where digital strategy is not a separate section, profession of job, but part of the overall strategy will help you reach your goals in no time. 

The content strategy is the translation of the communication strategy into content items. While communication will tell us what we will do, content strategy goes deeper into the messages we’re sending out. Your general content strategy will display your tone of voice, type of imagery used and other branding subsections such as colors, fonts and brand hashtags. 

Action and implementation plan. Which building blocks will you need to perform this strategy? What skills or partners do you need for the execution and what will be the cost for the next steps. 

A good visual identity and tone of voice  is a crucial aspect of your marketing strategy. We have talented partners who can create this for you under my guidance. I’ve also worked on projects where I advised the internal brand manager on branding projects performed by external agencies or partners.

I see a good, SEO proof website as part of your marketing strategy rather than your communication strategy, as this is basically your online store, and represents your business online. Even long before starting to communicate it. 


I had a great experience working with Julie. As a start-up it was super convenient that I had a marketing strategist & branding specialist by my side but only when I needed it. Julie developed the full marketing launch strategy but also gave me acces to her wide network in the sports/marketing industry. Thank you for the great work so far & looking forward to the next steps!
Cyclo Studio - MySueno customer
Enzo Maenhaut
CEO Cyclo Studio's
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Julie Vandenhouweele - Marketing & Innovation expert

 Tel: +32 474 49 24 13 

Email: julie@mysueno.leansights.be

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