Blog Insight

4 Trends Changing the Game in Sports Marketing

As consumers’ digital lives grow and retail giants swell, many shoppers are turning directly to retailers for their fitness purchases. As a result, many of our sports, fitness, and wellness clients see maintaining relationships with online retailers and wholesalers as a business necessity. The problem is that relying on those outlets to relay their unique brand story is risky. To inspire loyalty and drive sustainable sales, brands must do extra work to make a personal connection with their audience.

At The Garrigan Lyman Group (GLG), our media campaigns focus on sales, ROI, and the business metrics that matter. However, driving those hard results requires something softer: knowing your audience members, where to reach them, and how to make them buy. And central to knowing your audience members is tracking the trends that are changing how they think and act.

Below we explore four recent consumer trends and what they mean for your brand’s bottom line.

1. Self-care: Consumers today are focused on their complete health and wellness more than just their external appearance. They are making a variety of mindful decisions to improve quality of life, engaging in something called “self-care.” Self-care activities include physical, emotional, and mental aspects as consumers strive for relaxation, comfort, and balance. 

What does this mean for your brand? It is important to communicate the holistic benefits of your product. Explain how you will improve your customers’ lives, make them less stressed, or make them feel more balanced. Extend these themes into your ad imagery. Focus less on how the product will make them look and more on how it will make them feel.

Of course, if you really want to understand these trends, you have to see how people are actually living them. And because a picture is worth a thousand words, explore these hashtags on Instagram: #selfcare, #selflove, #wellness, #balance, #goodforthesoul.

2. Recovery: Traditionally, fitness has been intensely focused on what we do to stay fit with little thought about the aftermath. However, consumers increasingly understand the importance of recovery as a part of their complete health and wellness routine. Hydration, muscle recovery, and nutrition are just some of what today’s consumers consider a part of sports. 

Brands have an opportunity to assist with this aftercare. Recovery as necessity is gradually becoming part of consumers’ routines. Brands that want to benefit from this trend should help educate consumers on the advantages of aftercare and encourage its adoption. Help consumers understand how your product easily and effectively fits into their recovery program. Also, bring out the experts! Consumers expect health and nutrition influencers to be educated and to show their credentials. It takes more than six pack abs nowadays for consumers to consider you an expert. Be transparent about education, science, and experiential expertise as you build your brand around staying fit and recovering well.

Explore these hashtags: #stretch, #recovery, #eatclean, #h20.

3. A lifestyle: Let’s be real: today, fitness and health are all about the journey. Consumers are skeptical of a quick fix and are more focused on achieving a consistently healthy lifestyle. Their long-term commitment to health can be seen in trends toward adult extracurricular sports, an increase in yoga, hiking, and social-based fitness programs. This group who views health as a lifestyle now represents the majority of consumers. Another key takeaway for sports brands? These consumers do NOT consider themselves “athletes” despite their healthy activity levels. So don’t refer to them as such. Use realistic and relatable messaging and imagery to connect with this audience.

Hashtags to explore: #iworkout, #hiking, #fitnessjourney, #yoga

4. Ladies: In the world of sports and fitness, women have often been treated as an afterthought. In fact, sports marketers coined the phrase “Shrink it and pink it” to mean that making a product smaller and coloring it pink was all that was needed to market to women. These days, women are demanding their rightful place in sports. They’re pushing back against the stereotype that women just get fit for their partners. Instead, they’re jumping into fitness for themselves, focusing on strength and holistic health over vanity. Building confidence and feeling empowered are top of mind for these ladies. Need evidence? Look no further than the meteoric rise of weight lifting among women and the development of online communities like #girlswholift.

Hashtags to check out: #girlswholift, #fitgirls, #strongher, #strongissexy

Interested in how we’ve leveraged these four trends for our clients? See the results here. Or reach out to learn more about how we’re moving sports, fitness, and wellness brands forward.