At the 2014 U.S. Aquatic Sports Convention, I had the opportunity to talk to the athlete representatives of USA Swimming. This is my favorite presentation of the year as they have tons of energy and get extremely engaged in the marketing of the sport of swimming. Below is an excerpt of the talk entitled “20 Tough Love, Tweetable Tidbits That Inspired the SwimToday Campaign.”
These research facts helped shape the campaign which can be found at SwimToday.org/assets.
- Buck Stops Here: 79% of parents don’t consider joining a team after learning to swim.
- Kickin’ It: Parents view soccer as more fun, easier to learn, cooler and more enjoyable as a parent. That is, until they TRY swimming, then it beats soccer in all categories.
- There is No “I” in Team: Only 16% of non-swimming parents see the sport as a builder of teamwork vs. 60% for soccer, baseball, football and volleyball.
- No Google for Goggles: Word of mouth is top way parents find a team. Internet search is #5.
- It’s Not Me, It’s You: After kids quit USA Swimming, 86% continue to swim recreationally.
- Quittin’ Time: #1 Reason kids quit because it is no longer fun and they want to do other sports.
- Coaches Are Respected: Parents see professionalism of coaches (background screens and certification) as top USA Swimming benefits. Opportunity to compete in events is #1.
- Coaches Are Trusted: Parents see swim coaches as more trustworthy than soccer, baseball, football and volleyball coaches.
- No Need for Speed: At the entry-level of team swimming, parents make swimsuit purchases for their kids based on: 1. Comfort; 2. Durability; and 3. Price. Brand name and speed are priority #8 and #9. The need for speed comes later.
- Mom is Driving the Bus: For non-swimming families, mom is the #1 influencer in choosing a swim team for the family. The child is #2. Dad is (a distant) #3.
- Millennials Part 1: Millennials will be 50% of the workforce in the next five years.
- Millennials Part 2: Millennials check their phones an average of 45 times per day.
- Millennials Part 3: 87% of millennials donated to a non-profit. Many of them $100 or more.
- Go Mobile: 50% of the traffic to swimming web sites is coming from a handheld device, so SwimToday.org is enabled for mobile users.
- Mamarazzi: Mom blogs, non-traditional media are becoming more influential in reaching moms.
- Paying Their Dues: 67% of parents say they would consider a swim team if it was more affordable.
- All Swimming is Local: USA Swimming parents drive an average of 15 minutes to get to the pool.
- Parents Don’t Want to Talk: After visiting SwimToday.org and searching for a club, 88% visit the team web site and only 7% email and 5% will call.
- Youth Sports is Getting Competitive: Competing for kids’ attention just got more heated. There are now industry campaigns to grow participation in golf, tennis, hockey and more.
- Smells Like Teen Spirit: Top competitors to swimming include: Boys – Basketball; Soccer; Baseball; Lacrosse; Football. Girls: Basketball; Soccer; Volleyball; Dance; Softball & Gymnastics.
Research Source: 2014 State of the Competitive & Fitness Swimming Industry Report, commissioned by Sports Marketing Surveys, the official research provider of the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Research commissioned by USA Swimming.