Can’t we do this ourselves?
It takes years of training and practice to get good at running effective marketing and behaviour change campaigns, especially for something as difficult as increasing participation in sport and activity. You need someone who has the relevant qualifications and experience to do this.
Can’t our comms team do this for us?
Your comms team’s job is promoting your organisation, not marketing physical activity to hard-to-reach groups. When you’re ready to use your organisation’s communication channels, like the email newsletter, website or press releases, then you need to talk to your communications team. But those channels are only a tiny part of marketing.
For example if you told your comms team that you wanted to know what messages were most effective for promoting activity to the Leanne segment then they wouldn’t know what you meant, never mind how to do it. In fact if you’ve been on one of our workshops, or taken our segmentation email course then you know more about the Sport England segmentation than your comms team do.
Communications teams also have limited resources, and there’s no guarantee that your work will be their priority.
“The council has priorities. And as teams are getting stretched Communications are expected to focus on the priorities of the council. Your work might be really important but we can’t guarantee that it will be the council’s main focus.” Miriam McGrath, Senior Campaigns Officer, Southwark Council
“If we hadn’t worked with Make Sport Fun then we’d probably have done something internally, but it would have taken longer and wouldn’t have come out as well. We don’t have the expertise internally. We have a marketing team, but they’re not physical activity specialists. We don’t have the capacity in our own team. So some of the work we’re doing – it just wouldn’t have got done.” Sarah Worbey, Physical Activity Service Development Manager, Macmillan Cancer Support
“All the work I’ve done with Make Sport Fun – I know more about the segmentation than my comms team do.” Lorna Leach, Coaching and Volunteering Officer, London Sport
Can I hire a marketing agency to help with this?
Most marketing agencies can very competently deliver the marketing elements of a sport and activity marketing campaign, but they won’t be able to deliver the behaviour change elements. Getting hard-to-reach groups physically active isn’t easy, it’s not something you just give a go.
Can I hire a behaviour change agency to help with this?
This is probably the next best thing to working with us. However most behaviour change agencies are very expensive to hire, and they will typically not have processes in place for delivering this exact kind of project. They will also not know all the tips and tricks of the trade, so you still won’t get such good results. It will also probably take them 2 months to go through all the research and get a strategy figured out, whereas we can get going on day one.
How will you deliver the project when you’re not based locally?
All of our work with your target audience is done online, by post or by phone as this is the most cost-effective way to reach the audience. So our location isn’t relevant for delivering the campaign itself.
For project management – we provide weekly project updates at the start of a project so you know exactly what’s going on and that everything is on track. We then provide you with monthly updates once the project is up and running to reassure you that everything is running smoothly.
“I guess the distance issue could have stopped us hiring you if we weren’t so convinced by John that you could do an amazing job. It did feel at the time that we were taking a bit of a chance hiring an arms length organisation to deliver a local project but as I said we were so impressed with John that we couldn’t not give Make Sport Fun a chance to see what could be done.
My contact with the rest of the team is usually by email but my queries are always answered quickly and efficiently so any concerns about Make Sport Fun being at arms length are long forgotten. The regular updates I had by phone at the start of the project left me confident that the project was being delivered well.” Elaine Thomas, Wellbeing Lead, Chichester Council
How can I afford to run this when I have a limited budget?
One of the key findings is that you don’t need to spend money putting on new activities. You’ve already got enough. So a marketing and behaviour change campaign can be used instead of spending the money on coaches and equipment for new activities.
If we find we work particularly well together then we’ll even work with you to bring in more funding to run the project.
Surely what I need is more activity classes for people to attend?
People in sport and activity work very hard to improve the quality of the activity classes. And you’ve done an incredible job. There are hundreds of high quality activity classes in your area that aren’t full yet. You know that you don’t need more activity classes, you need to fill all the current ones.
In a project we ran in Chichester we identified over 300 activity sessions taking place every week that were appropriate for over 65s, most of which the council hadn’t realised were even taking place. We ran the project for over a year before finding a need for one new activity session.
Can you help with research?
Yes. If you need to know more about your audience and how to reach them or influence them then we can help. We work with our research partner – Optimisa Research – to run research projects.
However we often find that people think they need new research when actually the research into the audience has already been done, and you just need to know what research has been done and what was learnt and what that means for you.
Surely what I need is better facilities?
Since 1994 Sport England have put £5 billion into sport, with a lot of new facilities, and participation rates haven’t gone up. That doesn’t mean that good facilities aren’t important, but they’re obviously not enough.
Getting new facilities or equipment, or improving current ones is fantastic. But it’s incredibly expensive. In this world of reduced budgets it makes sense to first of all focus on making sure that your existing facilities are fully used.
We did an analysis of the top participation studies from the last 15 years, and their recommendations for how to increase participation in sport and activity. Improved facilities came out 7th in the list of recommendations. Improved marketing came out top.
How many people can you reach with this approach?
Using this approach we can engage large numbers of people. For example – we set up the Greenwich Get Active campaign for the Royal Borough of Greenwich, and so far the campaign has engaged over 4,000 people.
What audiences can you reach?
We only run campaigns for adults, and we will always make recommendations to you of the best audience to focus on to reach your objectives.