Basic Marketing Principles

The five steps in marketing

Marketing is made up of the following stages:

  1. Defining the service
  2. Setting objectives
  3. Defining the target market
  4. Developing the marketing strategy
  5. Compiling the marketing plan
1. Defining the service

Before you can undertake any marketing you need to identify and know the service you are offering. If you can't identify and define what it is you are marketing, it is unlikely that anyone else will be able to.

Work out your definition based on the aims of your own club. If this proves difficult, start by listing the benefits your club or activity offers. Examples:

  • Membership
  • Friendship
  • Facilities
  • Coaching
  • Child minding
  • Easy access
  • Holiday clinics
  • Midweek competition
  • Free uniforms
  • Safety policy

Be as specific as possible about what you have to offer. This is the basis of your marketing strategy. Sometimes services can be in the form of special events. Competitions, fun days and social events can be promoted through marketing campaigns

2. Setting marketing objectives

You must have a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve through marketing. (It should already be stated in your club plan.) 

These decisions will have a major impact on the type of marketing plan you produce. The objective might be to:

  • Increase participation in certain targeted groups e.g. U/18s
  • Increase membership of officials and administrators
  • Attract outside financial support
  • Expand your range of activities
  • Increase community involvement
3. Identifying target groups

A marketing strategy will only be successful if it is aimed at the appropriate group of people. You can take the shotgun approach - load the rifle, fire it, and hope that whoever it hits will be interested enough to check out your activity, but unless you are extraordinarily lucky you will probably end up wasting both time and money.

Better results are obtained when you target the audience or groups you want to reach and focus your program directly at them. Often, all it takes is a bit of common sense.

When trying to identify the target market, consider the following list:

  • Gender
  • Age groups
  • Single people or couples
  • Family groups
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic groups
  • Religious background
  • Education background
  • Location - town or suburb
  • Other leisure interests
  • Time available for leisure

When looking at a club membership, consider the common factors they share.

  • Are they all men or family groups? 
  • Do they come from similar backgrounds? 
  • Do they share other leisure interests, etc?

Surveying club members

Another way of compiling the necessary information is to use a club members' questionnaire. Once completed, the results can be collated to form a picture of the membership. The questionnaire can also provide useful demographic information for sponsors.

4. Developing the marketing strategy

When your objectives are clear and you have identified your target market, you can begin to develop a marketing strategy which will enable to reach your target audience.  If you know where they live, where they shop, which newspapers and magazines they read, which radio station they listen to, and if and where they work, you can tailor your strategy to suit.

A key consideration is the price of your service. It should be in line with what your target group can afford to spend. For example, students and unemployed people may be concerned about money so do not want to take part in costly activities, or those that have to travel may be concerned that they cannot afford the transport to get there.

5. Compiling the marketing plan

The marketing plan is in reality, a written document outlining your plan of action. It should set down the following:

  • A description of your product or service
  • A description of your target market
  • A summary of your marketing objectives
  • The steps you plan to use to implement your strategy

Club administrators can refer regularly to the marketing plan for direction and to ensure the club is meeting its objectives.

In its most basic form, a marketing plan could look like this:


Target Market



To get more women involved in the club

Women who are not working

Women's weekly walking group

Information delivered through community centres, local councils, playgroups, etc.

Note: Planning and implementing a marketing and promotion strategy will require financial outlay. Ensure that this plan is incorporated into the club's annual plan and budget.

Year of Birth
This is Our Game
2017 AFL International Cup