For those who don’t know me, I am a sports fanatic. Literally. Live and breathe it and have since I was a wee little lad. I have always held the belief that the world of sports and business/brands share many traits and there is much to be learned from the world of sports when it comes to the world of marketing/business and so on.
I’ve had the honor of interviewing some legendary sports figures including a Hall of Fame, Super-Bowl winning quarterback and a Hall of Fame, Super-Bowl winning wide receiver, who shared many lessons they learned between the lines that transcend into our world of marketing quite seamlessly.
Not long ago I spoke with someone with a different perspective on the world of sports and marketing and how the two interact, Kelvin Joseph, the CMO of Steiner Sports — a company that specializes in helping companies from new startups to Fortune 500s use the power of sports to grow their business.
They do this via many capabilities including talent procurement, turnkey event production, brand activation and promotion and more. As part of the Omnicom Group the core of Steiner Sports’ value proposition allows companies to leverage its expertise, existing relationships, and $25 million annual athlete procurement spend to create marketing efficiencies, and maximize limited marketing budgets.
We covered a lot of ground during our chat including how much has changed since 1987, the year Steiner Sports was founded and how his own financial background helps in his role of CMO.
Steve Olenski: When we spoke on the phone you told me of a change going on at the brand. Can you elaborate on what those changes are?
Kelvin Joseph: Some CMOs want to avoid the word “rebranding.” When you are the world leader in a category it becomes your identity. That is not a bad thing. For example, Amazon.com was happy to be the place to buy books as they disrupted an entire industry in their infancy. Do you think of them as an online bookstore now? Did they rebrand? They leveraged what they were good at to expand and evolve.
We did the exact same thing in sports. Steiner Sports is still the leading producer of authentic hand-signed sports memorabilia, but it’s not a stretch to believe Steiner Sports’ value proposition now allows companies to leverage its expertise, existing relationships, and $25 million annual athlete procurement spend to create marketing efficiencies, and maximize limited marketing budgets.
Olenski: What was the impetus to make these changes?
Joseph: We’re entering a new era of digital transformation where creating value for the customer and transforming the customer experience has become very important for growth. Change is unavoidable, so if you are not growing then you are shrinking! We realized that meeting a celebrity and getting a picture that could be shared on social media has a higher value and business use than an autograph.
Many corporations are using tickets to live sporting events in their client entertainment, and making big bets on sponsorships as part of their marketing plans. Steiner Sports determines what sports marketing strategy will benefit the company the most, providing access to the right athletes and sports properties at the right time, negotiating contracts for the best deals, and measuring and analyzing results to ensure ROI.