“When a youth sports organization faced a participation crisis, its one-person marketing department deployed martech to create a campaign raising awareness with key audience segments.
Who: NC Fusion is a nonprofit youth sports organization operating in the Greensboro–Winston-Salem–High Point (“Triad”) region of North Carolina. Its origins are in soccer, but it now runs field hockey and lacrosse programs as well.
“We believe we can create intentional sports experiences that can change people for life,” said Chris Barnhart, NC Fusion’s marketing director/department. “Any child or youth player who plays a team sport gets huge life lessons in everything from how to work together to working with people with different backgrounds than you toward a common goal. All those things we need in life. How to win, but also how to lose and how to have fun.”
What: Nationwide research has found that by age 14, girls drop out of sports at two times the rate of boys. The pandemic exacerbated the problem, with more 12th-grade girls dropping out of sports than any other group. NC Fusion needed to know if this was happening to them.
“Of course, we said, ‘Not us. No, we’re running a great program,’” said Barnhart. “But no one was satisfied with just opinion. So I started collecting all the data from all of our different sources. Using Microsoft Power BI, I accessed all those different data sources and brought them into one place.”
Data: Barnhart first looked at the age and number of female players, compared them with the same for boys and how they changed over time.
“What we found is that at the age of 13, exactly on the national average, we start losing some girls and by the age of 17 we’ve lost half the girls,” he said. “You’re always gonna lose players, but losing them at that rate was not acceptable.”
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