Unlike physical product marketing, service marketing is quite unique. Marketing managers in service industry must be able to establish marketing features that will enable them identify customer needs and formulate strategies to fulfill these needs. The most important features of service marketing are the 4 Ps of marketing (Product, Price, Promotion and Pace). An example of a service industry if soccer league. This marketing essay seeks to discuss the four marketing Ps that can be used to position Wellington Phoenix services to its fans. The Australian Soccer League club has experienced difficulties in sustaining its budget due to declining revenues over the past few years.


The marketing mix for service industry is more or less similar to the product market, provided that the marketing manager must treat a service as a product. The 4 Ps of marketing that shall be considered for Wellington Phoenix include Product strategy, Promotional Strategy, Pricing Strategy and Placement Strategy.

Product Strategy

In order to develop an effective product strategy in a service industry, it is critical for a marketing manager to recognize the three sporting factors that determine the quality of product (service) offered to consumers. In the sporting industry, the core product that consumers expects to be provided is the entertainment that the sporting event (the contest itself) provides. However, the core product should be enhanced with extended service such as comfort of the consumers, safety and personal attention from the club staff. Other sportscape features can also increase the value of the core product. These include features such as retractable roofs on sporting facility, in-stadium restaurants and corporate boxes. As a marketing manager for a sporting club, a deeper understanding of the product (service) that the club should offer to its fans will facilitate formulation of effective product strategies that will increase service delivery and thus increased market share.

The sporting product that Wellington Phoenix will provide to its fans is composed of three components: the core product, the actual product, and the augmented product. The core product is an essential benefit that fans pay for when they decide to attend sporting events that Wellington Phoenix participates in. therefore, the core elements of a sporting product is the uncertain outcomes that fans expect from matches.  However, some experts argue that marketing executives have little to do with the core product in sporting industry (Lovelock, Wirtz & Chew, 2009). The reason advanced is that there is little marketers can do to influence the outcome of a sporting event and that such can be influenced by the technical bench. Nonetheless, reasoning from this point of view is erroneous because marketers can take advantage of draft system and salary caps to influence the uncertainty of sporting outcomes. On the other hand, marketing managers can significantly enhance their product components through influencing the actual product and the augmented product (Lovelock, Wirtz & Chew, 2009).

In traditional product marketing, the actual product is actually the tangible part of the product. However, service marketing is characterized by intangibility of the product being offered to consumers. This implies that a service product cannot be easily identified by its tangible elements. There are certain features that can be improved to ensure that the actual product of a sporting event satisfies fans. Although stadium architecture, seating and scoreboard features can be enhanced, these features are also closely associated with placement strategy (Lovelock, Wirtz & Chew, 2009). Wellington Phoenix will also be able to achieve financial stability and sustainable fan base if its augmented product is enhanced. Augmented product in a sporting industry includes additional benefits that are built around the core product. Wellington Phoenix soccer club will include enhancing the entertainment in general such as including live music in matches, buffering the cheering team and providing more dramatic instances in the cheering team. For instance, during the half time, a few fans can be allowed to place their requests and announce them from the center of the pitch. Such requests can include engagement and marriage proposals to be announced during the 15 minutes of half time. Other services that could be included to enhance the value of core product is introducing ruffle competitions in which winners are allowed to mingle with club soccer stars and the management team. An enhanced product will not only increase fan base, but it will also ensure that club loyalty and fanatics are developed among fans (Neale & Funk, 2006).

Enhancing Service (product) Quality

Branding is one of the strategies that will be used in enhancing the quality of the sporting experienced provided by Wellington Phoenix. According to Khamis (2012), sports branding involves the use of names, symbols and designs that helps a club to differentiate itself from its competitors as a sporting property. Sporting logos and symbols are powerful marketing tools that a club can utilize in appealing to the masses. For example, the English Premier League clubs such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool have very strong logos that often are used by corporate bodies to improve their product awareness (Khamis, 2012). With a strong club image brand, corporate bodies will express their interest in promoting Wellington Phoenix soccer club.

Although the club has been experiencing poor performance in the last few years (which is a negative attribute to its brand strength, it can still use other means of improving its brand perception. The club will appeal to its ‘home’ fans through perceived attractiveness of the sports and presentation of the team (Hopkins, 2013). There are some teams that do not post better results but the manner in which the players present themselves against their opponents boosts the morale of their fans. The perceived attractiveness can be enhanced by the type of sporting kits worn by players and those for supporters and the logos engraved on these kits, such as jerseys.

Service delivery can also be enhanced through behavioural segmentation. Bauer et al. (2005) found that aspects such as ticketing, club communication through email updates and magazines, services to members such as complain handing, on-field performance, club involvement, administration and home ground facilities contributed a lot towards the satisfaction of members (Kotler & Armstrong, 2010). As such, the team should take advantage of these factors, which can easily be implemented compared to the team performance.

When these services are effectively provided to club members, the club would benefit not only from increased revenue collection, but also from loyalty (Summers et al., 2009). In addition, attendance would not only provide the much needed revenue for the club, but it will also provide avenues for sponsorship deals. Therefore, by providing the associated services, the management of the club would tap into this crucial segment, which does not solely rely on the performance of the team. This is because of the fact the team currently suffers from performance weaknesses and improving the league performance may take a longer time to achieve. Thus, this makes the behavioural segmentation the best alternative strategy to implement.

Promotional Strategy

In service marketing, promotions have become a critical success factor in marketing mix. Due to the ease with which services can be duplicated, the marketing manager can ensure that this is mitigated through building a strong brand name (Khamis, 2012). In a service industry, a strong brand can be created through advertising, enhanced public relations, relationship marketing, direct marketing, sponsorship deals, and incentives as stated by Meenaghan (2013). Wellington Phoenix will extensively utilise advertising, incentives, and public relations in boosting its brand image and thus increase fan base.

Advertising can be looked at as a non-personal, paid announcements by an identified sponsor. Advertising a service product is used to reach a wide market audience, create band awareness, build a brand image and create a differentiated brand that can withstand fierce competition (Gallagher, Gilmore & Stolz, 2012). The advertising in a sports industry is quite different from traditional advertising channels. Apart from using other conventional media channels to reach the audience, the advertising strategy for Wellington Phoenix club will utilise other unique advertising avenues. Unique means of advertising that the club will exploit includes stadium naming rights, Banner ads on stadium boards and other websites, and use of cub logos, symbols and slogans.  The best appeal that the company will use is celebrity appeal. The club currently has very low ranks and thus securing a celebrity endorsement will have a great appeal to the target market.

Apart from advertising, public relations will also be used to create a positive public perception of Wellington Phoenix Soccer Club. The club shall exploit avenues that will increase its publicity. According to Khamis, (2012), there is a widespread appeal of sport in Australia and thus gaining medial attention to publicise a club will be pose a challenge. However, the main challenge will emanate from the manner in which the message will reach the public and whether it will elicit positive or negative reaction. Apart from the poor performance and ranking that the club has experienced over the past seasons, the club does not have negative attributes that will trigger negative perception. Therefore, the good public relationship that the club management and players have had in the past is expected to elicit positive feedbacks from the public (Gallagher, Gilmore & Stolz, 2012).

Lastly, incentives will be used as promotional appeal to the market. In traditional product marketing, incentives are referred to as sales promotion, and are short-term promotional activities that are designed to elicit instant response from the audience (Shaw & Merrick, 2005). The main incentives that will be used to entice immediate responses from consumers is the use of premium services. The club will design cards that will be given to loyal team fans who will attend four consecutive home matches. However, the marketing department is well aware of the fact that is extremely difficult to attain the set level, since fans will not attend more than two matches in which the team they support is continually defeated. Being so, there are other factors than performance in terms of goal scoring which can be used to entice this segment of market. For instance, the team could change its playing patterns and the manner in which the players present themselves prior to any match (Dix, Phau & Pougnet, 2010). A highly disciplined team would attract more fans that the reverse. As seen with the Richmond FC, the club has a considerable following in the league despite the fact that it has been underperforming for over 30 years. Therefore, the loyalty of supporters can be created and sustained through initiatives such as premium membership registration and subscription (Shaw & Merrick, 2005). Other incentives such as discounts can be allowed for supporters who subscribe for the whole year to attend all the club matches, then such individuals will always be in the stadium to watch the team matches. Similarly, the club can start a loyalty rewarding programs to enable the supporters who attend the club’s matches regularly to interact with their players and officials whenever they satisfy certain conditions (Shaw & Merrick, 2005). Some loyalists can also be allowed to travel together with the team to various playgrounds.

Pricing Strategy

Pricing is often the most difficult aspect to be manipulated in service marketing, especially in the sporting industry. Ticket prices are often fixed and a slight upwards adjustment may elicit adverse reactions from fans. However, there has been a trend of increasing ticket prices in Australian and abroad sporting events. The nature of a pricing strategy that a club will adopt will determine how the other 3 Ps of the marketing mix will be carried out. This is because pricing is the sole determinant of revenues that a club can realise (Davis, 2012). When prices are set higher than can be afforded by consumers, less people will fill stadiums and thus low revenues will be realised. Therefore, pricing strategy influences both internal and external factors. Internally, pricing strategy will influence other strategies such as product strategy, place strategy and promotional strategy. These strategies can only be implemented when there are sufficient funds to warrant so. Externally, pricing strategy will be influenced (rather than influencing) by factors such as consumers, competitors, and climatic conditions (Davis, 2012).

Some consumers are highly price-sensitive and would use the ticket price levels in determining whether to attend sporting events or forego them (Fetchko, Roy & Clow, 2012), on the other hand, some fans would cough out any amount of money to ensure they attend all sporting events undertaken by their favourite team especially when the team is on a winning streak. The pricing strategy of competitors will also determine at what level the club should price its sporting tickets (Gallagher, Gilmore & Stolz, 2012). However, Wellington Phoenix Soccer club shall shift its pricing concerns from ticketing and thus focus on other revenue generating avenues. Rather than increasing ticket prices, the club shall improve services delivered alongside soccer sport entertainment and hence increase prices of these services. In-stadium eateries, restaurants and merchandise sales will be targeted as alternative sources of finance for the club. The success of this strategy will allow the club to entice more consumers by lowering ticketing prices relative to other soccer clubs.

Placement Strategy

In sporting industry, the place where sporting events are held influences the type of placement strategy that a club will develop and implement. Sports consumers often watch live events from stadiums and thus product placement should focus on the stadium as a marketing channel rather than just a physical structure for service provision. According to Sotiriadou and Shilbury (2009), the key determinants of consumer behaviour in sporting marketing include the design of stadiums and its key features, physical evidence, people and processes. These four factors combine to create a positive perception amongst sport event consumers towards the facility. The authors state that the four determinants will shape the perception of consumers towards a sporting facility, which will in turn increase satisfaction levels and thus encourage the consumers to stay longer and spend more within these facilities (McDonald & Shaw, 2005). Their intentions to come and watch future events will also be increased with more satisfaction derived from the stadia.

The nature of sporting event does not allow consumers to evaluate the quality of service offered, compare it with other services from competitors and then arrive at a decision whether to engage a post-purchase dissonance (Fetchko, Roy & Clow, 2012). Therefore, as a sports marketer, it is critical to use physical evidence to improve the experience of consumers within sporting facilities and thus create more value. Wellington Phoenix soccer club shall engage in various strategies to improve the physical outlook of its stadium. The stadium has already been designed and constructed and thus the club can do little to alter its design in the short-and-medium-term. However, the club can revamp the stadium by providing better seating arrangements, fitting other cabinets and providing premium services such as VIP viewing bays and cabinets.

Apart from revamping the stadium, the marketing team will engage in aggressive promotional and branding campaign to increase the public perception of the club and its sporting facilities. Research has shown that some fans develop allegiance to stadiums just in the same way they do to sporting teams (Fetchko, Roy & Clow, 2012). For instance, “The Hill” at SCG, Anfield stadium at Liverpool and Stamford Bridge at Chelsea in England. The naming rights of our stadium shall be retained by the club in order to create a strong myth and associations with our club and heritage. For instance, the name of our club home field can remain “The WP Lane” (For “The Wellington Phoenix Lane”). In view of the fact that the core benefits derived from sporting events lies in the drama and emotions attached to the sport, the naming rights for the stadium shall remain intact. However, the club shall constantly engage in promotional campaigns to familiarise the name of the stadium through media channels such as television, newspapers, magazines and internet. In addition, any public awareness campaign associated with any product from the club shall feature the stadium name. This will create a strong association between the club and its stadium, which will encourage fans to attend sporting events held at “The WP Lane”.


The main aim of event managers is to satisfy customer needs. Unlike the goods industry, the sports industry entails provision of services. Sports club managers must carefully assess the needs of their customers and devise means of satisfying such needs. In order to conduct a comprehensive marketing activity in sporting industry, marketing managers must critically consider the 4 Ps of marketing. The product, promotion, price and place strategies are key success factors in service marketing. This essay has comprehensively analysed the 4Ps of marketing and applied the concept on Wellington Phoenix Soccer Club. Implementation of these strategies will not only increase the market share for the club, but it will also boost the financial strength of the club.


Bauer, H. H., Sauer, N. E., & Schmitt, P. (2005). Customer-based brand equity in the team sport industry: Operationalization and impact on the economic success of sport teams. European Journal of Marketing39(5/6), 496-513.

Davis, J. A. (2012). The Olympic Games effect: how sports marketing builds strong brands.

Dix, S., Phau, I., & Pougnet, S. (2010). “Bend it like Beckham”: the influence of sports celebrities on young adult consumers. Young Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers11(1), 36-46.

Fetchko, M., Roy, D., & Clow, K. E. (2012). Sports Marketing. Pearson Higher Ed.

Gallagher, D., Gilmore, A., & Stolz, A. (2012). The strategic marketing of small sports clubs: from fundraising to social entrepreneurship. Journal of Strategic Marketing20(3), 231-247.

Hopkins, J. L. (2013). Engaging Australian Rules Football fans with social media: a case study. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing13(1), 104-121.

Khamis, S. (2012). Brand Australia: half-truths for a hard sell. Journal of Australian Studies36(1), 49-63.

Kotler, P. J., & Armstrong, G. M. (2010). Principles of marketing. Pearson Education.

Lovelock, C. H., Wirtz, J., & Chew, P. (2009). Essentials of service marketing. Prentice Hall/Pearson.

McDonald, H., & Shaw, R. N. (2005). Satisfaction as a predictor of football club members’ intentions. International journal of sports marketing & sponsorship,7(1), 81-87.

Meenaghan, T. (2013). Measuring Sponsorship Performance: Challenge and Direction. Psychology & Marketing30(5), 385-393.

Neale, L., & Funk, D. (2006). Investigating motivation, attitudinal loyalty and attendance behaviour with fans of Australian football. International Journal of Sports Marketing & Sponsorship7(4), 307-319.

Shaw, R., & Merrick, D. (2005). Marketing Payback: is your marketing profitable. Pearson Education.

Sotiriadou, K. P., & Shilbury, D. (2009). Australian elite athlete development: An organisational perspective. Sport management review12(3), 137-148.

Summers, J., Gardiner, M., Lamb, C. W., Hair, J. F., & McDaniel, C. (2009).Essentials of marketing. Cengage Learning Australia.



Use the order calculator below and get started! Contact our live support team for any assistance or inquiry.