Mary Kay Incorporated is an American company founded by Mary Kay Ash in 1963. The privately held company focuses on the sale of cosmetics and sunscreen products globally. It is usually described as a multi-level marketing or direct-sales company due to its marketing culture. A multi-level marketing strategy is one where salespeople are compensated for the sales they make as well as for the sales generated by the salespeople they have recruited. The company is headquartered in Addison, Texas and has a sales force of 3 million people worldwide.
To increase its global appeal and consequent revenues, it is important that the company focus on innovative marketing methods. Some of the marketing methods for Mary Kay have become outdated due to changes in technology, changes in cultural preferences and perception, as well as changes in what is popular. Due to the rapid advancements in different social and economic, and cultural spheres, the company has had to look towards other marketing strategies to stay relevant and abreast with the rest of the competition.
Now, sports sponsorship seems like the ideal way for the company to remain relevant in this youthful world. Sports sponsorship has emerged as one of the leading marketing solutions for companies in America and the company should seriously think about joining the fray of corporate sport sponsors. US corporate spending on sports sponsorship was estimated at $20 billion in 2013 and the amount has continued to grow throughout the years.
In 2013, the company sponsored an LPGA tour in Texas as a way to mark its 50th anniversary. The tournament was the first golf tour to take place in the Dallas area for the past twenty years. The last LPGA tour that took place in the area was held in 1991. The LPGA tour was also unique due to the fact that female golfers from North Texas high schools and colleges were allowed to participate in an 18 hole shootout. The winners from the shootout had the opportunity to play alongside some of the world’s best female professional golf players.
The short experience with sports sponsorship proved a very effective marketing tool for Mary Kay Incorporated. The LPGA had not held a tour in the Texas region for more than a decade much to the disappointment of female golf fans in the area. Mary Kay sponsoring the event made the fans extremely happy so much so that they had no choice but to realign themselves with Mary Kay products. The company also offered several of its award winning products at the event further increasing its appeal to the consumers who attended the event. Furthermore, the company established itself as a big supporter of female sports by granting young female golfers the opportunity to play with world professional players and by sponsoring the entire LPGA tour.
The company will achieve maximum exposure by aligning itself with a particular sports team or event. The company’s name will be plastered across the team shirts, and all around the grounds where the event is being held. The company’s logo will also be placed in every media platform where the event is being advertised. This scale of exposure is very hard to come by using normal marketing strategies.
The main advantage of this kind of marketing is the fact that awareness and exposure are generated more efficiently than with traditional modes of marketing such as advertising (Jacobs, Jain, & Surana, 2014). The integrated media used to advertise the event would increase the consumers’ attention on and their recall of the Mary Kay products. The main benefits of this form type of exposure include reduced marketing costs over a wide area as well as enhanced brand image for the company.
It is paramount that Mary Kay Incorporated continues to associate itself with various sports events across the country, especially those that target female sports enthusiasts. The fans of such a team or an event will see the sponsorship as a shared passion or desire, painting a favorable picture of the company in the minds of the consumer. In addition, sponsoring such events will guarantee that everyone who attends the event or sees the event on television is familiarized to the company’s products.
Sportswomen and female sports enthusiasts are the prime demographic that Mary Kay would be targeting with sports sponsorship ventures. Targeting this demographic is meant to reverse the idea that Mary Kay products are only for ‘proper’ women who certainly do not engage in sports. Sponsoring the events will ensure that even the women who play and love sports are included in the Mary Kay consumer base. It is obvious that this segment of women has been severely ignored by top consumer brands including Mary Kay itself (Shaw & Amis, 2001). Engaging in female sports sponsorship will help overturn this common misconception, thereby increasing the company’s market share and revenue base.
The advantage of marketing to this specific audience through sports sponsorship is its ability to reach the target market more efficiently. In most instances, the audience will be more receptive to the company’s products owing to the fact that the company is sponsoring an event or a team the audience feels passionately about. Furthermore, marketing costs are significantly reduced, as the event will pool the targeted consumers to one area. The company will not have to spend a lot of money marketing to a demographic that is geographically dispersed.
Consumer surveys and syndicated research have shown that the sales of a company increase dramatically when the company participates in sports marketing. Consumer surveys indicate that consumers are more aware of brands that sponsor particular sports teams and events. This is especially the case when the company is sponsoring a team or event that a particular demographic feels particularly passionate about.
Promotional rights will also have a significant impact on whether a company such as Mary Kay should choose to engage in sports sponsorship. Promotional rights will include the company’s rights to logos and marks that the chosen team selects (Shaw & Amis, 2011). The main advantage of the promotional rights that comes with sports sponsorship is the achieved efficiency. Company results indicate that themed advertising is more efficient than a non-themed advertisement. Sales and brand awareness increase from such themed advertisements.
Furthermore, promotional rights will increase the number of people who are willing to participate in sales promotion activities. Consumers are more willing to participate in such activities because they are more aware of the product and are excited in actually having a chance to go near their favorite team or attend a once in a lifetime sports event (Jacobs, Jain, & Surana, 2014). The fans also get to enjoy the sport events more by participating in the sales promotion activities of the company. The fans also get an opportunity to fully engage with the brand and its cosmetic products.
The benefits accrued from the promotional rights that arise from sports sponsorship include a dramatic increase in sales. Every time the sponsored team holds an event, Mary Kay has the right to promote its activities in such an event. Thus, the fans of the team will have the opportunity to buy Mary Kay products directly in the events leading to a significant jump in sales for every event. Furthermore, the brand image of the company will get a considerable boost owing to the promotional rights accrued from sponsoring a sports team.
Jacobs, J., Jain, P., & Surana, K. (2014, Jun 3). Is Sports Sponsorship Worth It? McKinsey & Company. Retrieved on 4/5/2016 from http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/is-sports-sponsorship-worth-it
Shaw, S., & Amis, J. (2001). Image and Investment: Sponsorship and Women’s Sport. Journal of Sport Management, 15: 219-246.