Marketing to High School Athletes
Is it right for your business?
Marketing to high school athletes is becoming more and more popular among smart businesses. It’s not hard to figure out why. In Lancaster County, advertising to teams and players at the high school level means also getting access to coaches, teachers and principals — not to mention their parents, friends and fans.
High school kids are more getting more sophisticated, and all kinds of brands, from Gatorade to Allstate, are marketing to athletes 14 and up.
In addition to products such as sneakers, sports gear and beverages, other categories are also starting to advertise to this influential demographic. You’ve probably seen a lot of local advertising here in Lancaster County, in local gyms and arenas, for orthopedics and physical therapy. Nationally, big advertisers are also targeting high school athletes for things like personal grooming products, restaurants and even groceries.
Why are high school athletes becoming more important to marketers?
High school athletes are important influencers among their peers, but there are also more of them. The number of participants in high school sports increased for the 26th consecutive year in 2014-15 – topping the 7.8 million mark – according to the annual High School Athletics Participation Survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). That’s an increase of over 80% over the past 30 years. The most notable increases are a result of the proliferation of women’s sports and team opportunities for young women.
How do you know if marketing to this growing demographic makes sense for your business? Ask yourself these questions.
Do athletes use your product?
While it’s great to get more access to coaches, parents and fans, if athletes don’t actually use your product, this might not be the right venue for you. High school athlete marketing strategies must promote usage and acceptance with athletes first, secondary audiences later. So if you’re a fertility clinic or a retirement community, this might not be the most effective way to spend your marketing dollars.
Do you want to support your community in more meaningful ways?
Advertising to high school students often means sponsorships. Whether you’re sponsoring an awards banquets or a stadium, associating your business’s name with high school sports can be a win-win situation for you and your sports community
Does your product have a positive effect on athletes’ lives?
While athletes play video games and drink sugary drinks, marketing these products to people under the age of 18 can be politically fraught. These athletes have a team of adults around them protecting and policing them, so make sure your ads will be seen as a positive influence with a “Rated G” message.
Does your product appeal to the people around the athletes?
While marketing directly to the high school athlete can be powerful, even with recent growth numbers, the overall market is fairly small. To make your marketing dollars work harder, make sure your message and your media is built to appeal to athletes AND coaches, families, fans, etc.
Marketing to high school athletes can be profitable for your business, but if the marketing doesn’t feel appropriate, you may experience backlash, so make sure this growing audience is right for your business, and then have fun reaching out to this passionate, engaged audience.
Ready to find out more? Contact us to discuss how your business can reach all kinds of high school athletes throughout Lancaster County.