Association of Marketing Theory and Practice Proceedings 2011


Social Marketing as a Catalyst for Building New Relationships between Sport Practitioners and Academicians

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Conference Track

Sport Marketing

Publication Date



Social marketing, conceptualized by Kotlar and Zaltman (1971) as a means to promote social objectives and causes more effectively, has the potential to be the catalyst for addressing the disparity and creating positive perceptions. Social marketing is a significant means to address communication, conceptualization, and intellectual gaps between groups, which often results in clarifying differences in product and value outcomes; and the need for change and shifts in paradigms associated with practitioner-academician interaction (Hanna, 2001).

In 2008, a roundtable of academicians and sport practitioners discussed the interaction of sociological theory and management sciences to identify the trends and issues that will affect the future of the sport industry. The discussion centered on five areas - the relationship between intangible and tangible forms of capital; the intellectual conflict and academic divide created by the divergent views of marketing and sociological theory; the connection between concepts of “brand equity” and “sense of community”; the association between traditional marketing and lifestyle marketing; and the correlation relationships and experiences in customer management.

The information collected from this roundtable showed that there is fragmentation within the sport industry between academicians and practitioners, resulting in a large intellectual gap. It was evident that a majority of practitioners understood the concepts of research and consumer behavior in a generic sense, but do not understand how to utilize these concepts effectively within the real world model of their application of promotions, advertising, and sponsorship. In addition, there seemed to be significant differences between practitioners and academicians based on the divergence of beliefs between sociological theorists who look at the big picture and marketers who only look at the application aspect. These findings led to the determination that there is a need for further analysis of theoretical research and application methods related to this interaction between academicians and practitioners. Through the analysis of documented research and current best practices, the goal is to help understand the disparities between academia and practitioners and provide a conduit that would serve as a catalyst to create real change in the sport industry.

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