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Diversifying Sports Through Beginner Friendly Marketing

Updated: Feb 15

Learning a new sport can exciting, terrifying, and everything in-between. For many individuals, particularly those in the BIPOC community, breaking into sports like climbing, snowboarding, surfing, and others can be an intimidating journey due to significant barriers, both financial and cultural. Diversifying these sports isn't just about making vague claims of inclusivity (e.g. "Everyone is welcome!") but requires genuine efforts to address these barriers. In this blog post, we'll explore how marketing campaigns and intentional brand efforts can play a pivotal role in opening doors, reducing barriers, and highlighting the joy of learning new sports.

The Power of Inclusive Marketing Campaigns

Marketing campaigns have the potential to break down cultural limitations, expose underrepresented individuals to new sports, and inspire a new generation of athletes. Here are some key strategies for making a change in the world of sports through marketing:

1. Representation Matters

Images and videos in marketing materials should reflect a diverse range of athletes at various skill levels. Instead of solely showcasing elite athletes, campaigns should highlight individuals who are committed to learning and improving, even if they are just starting. This relatable representation can inspire newcomers and create a sense of belonging.

2. Address Financial Barriers

Financial constraints often prevent many individuals from entering sports like snowboarding. Campaigns can go beyond words by offering financial support, such as scholarships, gear giveaways, or discounted entry fees. These efforts demonstrate a commitment to making the sport accessible to all.

3. Authenticity is Key

Many marketing campaigns tend to focus on aspirational feats, which, while exciting, may not resonate with those who are just starting out. Authenticity comes in showcasing the less glamorous side of learning a sport, such as the inevitable falls and challenges. These relatable moments connect with newcomers on a personal level.

By highlighting a variety of diverse athletes at different skill levels and showcasing the joy of learning, we can broaden the potential client base and inspire a new generation of sports enthusiasts within a target audience. It's about making the sport relatable, approachable, and, most importantly, a source of joy for all.

A Personal Journey: Learning to Snowboard

As an example, I embarked on my own journey of learning to snowboard this past year. What struck me was the absence of attention-grabbing marketing centered around new and learning athletes; campaigns focused on elite accomplishments, while impressive, can feel distant for beginners. The only beginner-friendly marketing centered on how-to videos, which can be beneficial, but miss out on more authentic and impactful opportunities.

My snowboarding journey wasn't about conquering black diamonds but the countless falls, long days flowing down the greens and blues, and the joy of learning with friends.

Interested in Becoming an Advocate for Inclusive Campaigns?

My journey into the world of snowboarding didn't just lead me to reflect on the state of marketing in the sports industry; it inspired me to take action. If we are truly committed to diversifying sports and making them accessible to all, it's crucial to demand change and actively contribute to it. Here are some ways I believe I can contribute to creating an ideal campaign:

1. Model Sourcing

One of the most effective ways to promote inclusivity in marketing campaigns is by sourcing models and athletes who represent the diverse communities we aim to reach. By actively seeking out individuals from different backgrounds, skill levels, and experiences, we can showcase the richness of diversity within these sports. These stories not only inspire but also serve as proof that anyone, regardless of their background, can find their place in these activities.

2. Art Direction

Art direction plays a pivotal role in shaping the narrative of a marketing campaign. It's about more than just aesthetics; it's about storytelling. I'm passionate about contributing my creativity and insights to ensure that our campaigns not only look appealing but also convey the essence of the learning journey, from the first tentative steps to the triumphant moments.

3. Community Connections

Building a bridge between sports brands and local communities is essential. Often, barriers to entry into sports are deeply rooted in cultural or social factors. I believe in establishing connections with community organizations and grassroots initiatives that are working to make sports more accessible. These partnerships can provide invaluable insights and support, helping the brand better understand and address the unique challenges faced by different communities.

4. Organizing Supporting Factors

Reducing barriers to entry goes beyond financial assistance. It involves creating a supportive ecosystem around newcomers. I'm eager to work on initiatives that provide mentorship programs, access to affordable lessons, and resources to help newcomers overcome the initial hurdles. By organizing these supporting factors, we can ensure that more individuals have the opportunity to experience the joy of learning a new sport.

By working together, we can transform the narrative of these sports, making them more relatable, accessible, and joyful for everyone. It's not just about marketing; it's about creating a welcoming and diverse community of sports lovers who share in the thrill of learning and growing together.


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