As part of a new partnership with CIMSPA, Sport England will offer free digital marketing training to the sport and physical activity sector. Ali Donnelly, Executive Director, Digital, Communications & Marketing at Sport England writes about why this is an important move for sport organisations across the country.
Free digital marketing training is being made available to the sport and physical activity sector as we look to encourage more people to play sport and be active.
Our Digital Marketing Hub will be delivered by the Chartered Institute for the Management of Sport and Physical Activity (CIMSPA) using learning content provided by a consortium of partners.
It's the result of a collaboration between us and CIMSPA and has been developed using £450,000 of National Lottery funding.
The idea for the hub came as a response to findings highlighting a significant digital skills gap within the sector and it'll include online courses, webinars and resources with the aim of helping people and organisations delivering sport and physical activity to improve their skills.
Research conducted by the Digital Marketing Institute, on our behalf, found 63% of the people surveyed – more than 1,000 people involved in sport and physical activity marketing and communications – said they don’t have a clear plan to attract new audiences through their digital channels.
It also found 81% said attracting new participants was very, or extremely, important and 25% rated their organisation as ‘not at all’ effective at adapting to new trends and insights – with just 10% rating their organisations as ‘very or extremely’ effective.
The hub aims to improve these figures and could be in encouraging people back to activity following the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
More than ever before we are competing for people’s time and attention with sectors that are far ahead of ours in how they market their services or activities.
Done well, digital marketing has a huge role to play in making grassroots sport and physical activity reach and engage more people, ultimately driving up participation numbers.
As things stand, and as our research bears out, we know that many people and organisations who are working to help people to be active are doing so without the necessary knowledge or confidence when it comes to digital best practice.
While we throw all our energy into getting people back out there and involved in sport and physical activity, it is important that this skills gap is also addressed so that the sector can emerge in an even stronger place than it was prior to COVID-19.
A key part of our strategic ambition to tackle inequalities and ensure every single person in the country has the opportunity to be active, the launch of the Digital Marketing Hub will play a major role in upskilling the sector with a view to helping every person in the country see sport and physical activity as both accessible and relevant to them.
In addition to bite-size modules and a live webinar series, the hub – a part of our ongoing work to help the sector recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic – will also offer peer networking opportunities.
The hub will be tailored to small businesses, self-employed professionals and volunteers at frontline organisations and clubs, as well as marketing and communication professionals at larger organisations.