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Sports & Leisure Research Group
News & Views
E-Newsletter | November 2014

Complimentary Download � Sports Travel Marketing Trends white paper now available at Sportsandleisureresearch.com

Marketing Forum

Trends and Insights in Sports Travel as we Head into 2015

SLRG was again invited to provide a white paper calling out current trends and their implications for the marketing of sports travel for the annual market outlook forum sponsored by the US Travel Association and TTRA (Travel and Tourism Research Association). You can download this quick but insightful analysis, right here, to learn more about what will be driving success in this increasingly competitive market.


Golf Conference

SLRG President Jon Last joined Global Golf Advisors' Henry DeLozier, Mature Market Strategies' Dave Schreiner and Brad Anderson of CBRE to deliver the keynote presentation at October's Crittenden Golf Conference in Phoenix. The opening session, "Who's Got 'Next'... and what is it?" covered a broad array of macro trends impacting the golf industry. The roundtable session afforded Last to tap into recent SLRG research to discuss macro trends like customization, personalized service, building brand communities and golf's reaction to consumer lifestyle shifts as well as the proper context from which to view some of the more sensationalized mass media coverage of the state of golf.


New Site

It has been almost seven years since www.sportsandleisureresearch.com was launched with a mission to provide sports, travel and media marketing professionals with a comprehensive look at the research capabilities, experience and approach that SLRG brings to all of its custom research engagements. With the upcoming launch of our newly redesigned site, we'll continue to put an emphasis on more than just an overview of who we are and what we do, but on continuing to share some of our thinking through white papers, public access research reports, relevant client case studies and media coverage of our work and point of view. In addition to enhanced navigability and responsive design that enhances one's ability to access SLRG through mobile technology, the new site will include deeper and more intuitive access into archived content. Look for an upcoming announcement on the site's relaunch, before the end of the year.

Recent SLRG Research of Interest

Magazines Stadium Remote

The Strategic Use of "Brand Trackers"

So much has been rightfully communicated about the necessity for sports and travel brands to create and maintain a connection with customers and prospective customers that it has been customary for these properties to develop a research mechanism to monitor that relationship. At Sports and Leisure Research Group, we've developed and actively deploy these "brand tracking" programs with a number of clients in sports, sporting goods and hospitality. A good brand tracker is customized for a particular client and its vertical, but all take a look across a wide array of measures for both the client brand and those of its competitive set.

In addition to tracking awareness and satisfaction levels, brand trackers are often helpful in assessing the ability of various constituencies to associate a brand with those aspects of their market positioning that can positively differentiate the brand from its competitors. We've often seen how this can fluctuate based upon the nature of marketing communications being deployed across the category. An effective brand tracker takes this into account in interpretation and analysis of the results and their implications. During periods of particularly strong category communications weight, its interesting to observe those areas of brand confusion or misappropriation as well as which message points are resonating and which would benefit from amplification. In this way, the client can tactically alter their marketing communication strategy, and to the extent that the sample audience can be segmented across customer groups, targeted messaging can be designed for those groups deemed most critical by the client brand.

By their very nature, brand tracker results are often very consistent over time, which may call their utility into question. But a consistently positive tracker is a good thing, in that it implies that messaging is making an impact. We're often asked to address how often to conduct tracking waves, and the answer is often a function of client budgets and their marketing communications cycles. We've worked with clients that continuously tracked their brand perceptions, on a weekly basis so as to relate results to ongoing and new breaking advertising, whereas others prefer an annual or periodic check-in.

Let us know if we can help you optimize the management of your brand health through a customized brand tracking program. Contact us.


Jon Last SLRG President Jon Last

Fall is traditionally the time of year that the marketing research industry has its most cluttered calendar of conferences and educational programming. I've spoken at more of these conferences than I can remember, and I've substantially reduced my attendance and participation over recent years. Part of what has driven my recent behavior is simply a function of running a business and feeling that I get a greater return being out in the field with my team, meeting with clients and speaking and writing for those in the vertical industries that we serve rather than meeting with other researchers. I'm still flying 120,000 miles per year (Thank you, Delta), but I'm picking my spots. Beyond this reality, and at the risk of sounding curmudgeonly, I've stayed away because I've grown tired of thinly veiled sales pitches and the incessant focus of these conferences to present the "new fangled methodology du jour."

At SLRG we're all about innovative methodologies, but I remain convinced that at the end of the day, data collection methodology is always secondary to what a good researcher does with the data collected. That�s not to say that one needn't be rigorous in the quality and appropriateness of a chosen methodology. Rather, I just find that there's an overemphasis on the bells and whistles of the latest data collection tools (for example the plethora of DIY or mobile data collection platforms..or algorithms for scraping social conversation) than understanding how to properly frame research inquiries and what to do on the back end in terms of using this information to deliver sound and actionable strategic advice. I've often said that there isn't a huge difference between exceptional researchers and top tier management consultants beyond the fees for their services. The exceptional researcher is one who focuses on what the client needs to know and can make his or her findings come to life through effective story telling rather than the one who is simply pushing a sexy methodology or process.

New York Times

The New York Times: NASCAR Sends Fans into Battle to Expand its Racing Empire:

SLRG President Jon Last adds perspective to Stuart Elliott's assessment of the marketing push behind NASCAR's new Chase for the Sprint Cup. Read it here.

Banking New York

Banking New York: The Sport of Naming Rights:

SLRG President Jon Last's keynote remarks at the Summer Financial Communications Society breakfast are highlighted in a look at the financial services community's involvement in a proliferation of sports venue naming rights deals. Read it here.

New York Times

The New York Times: Golf Resorts Change Course to Attract Younger Generation:

As golfers age and many young adults shun the game, resorts are trying to win them over by adding speakers to golf carts and Wi-Fi access, building high-tech training centers and putting courses. SLRG President, Jon Last is quoted in the article. Read more.

Golf Inc

Brainstorming Golf's Future:

The Summer 2014 issue of Golf, Inc features perspectives on the state of the game from SLRG President Jon Last and other "creative minds" in the industry. Read it here.

Marketing Sports

From The 'Me' Generation To The 'Pay Attention to Me' Generation

In his October, 2014 Media Post column, SLRG President Jon Last speaks to some cross generational similarities between baby boomers and millenials and the implications for sports marketers. Read more.

Why Multi-Generational Marketing Could Be The Next Big Thing

In his September 2014 Media Post: Marketing Sports column, SLRG President Jon Last speaks of the opportunities that multi-generational marketing present for sports properties. Read more.

Properties And Brands Need To Know 'The Story'

In July's Media Post column, SLRG President Jon Last speaks to how sports properties and activating brands need to go beyond a sea of data to make their activation proposition truly come alive. Read more.

Slow Ticket Sales? Here's The Real Reason Why

In his July, 2014 Media Post: Marketing Sports column, SLRG President Jon Last speaks to what research has shown to be the true reasons behind slow ticket sales or poor fan engagement. Read more.

You can read each piece, as well as previous columns here. Jon�s columns post regularly on the second Tuesday of each month. You can find them on the SLRG website or receive immediate notifications on Twitter, by following him, here.