عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: In a competitive environment, businesses should look for ways of being constantly informed of the needs and wants of customers so that they can take a step towards differentiating themselves and outperforming their competitors by providing innovative services tailored to customer needs, thereby achieving a superior performance. Service businesses are more customer-dependent than manufacturing ones, so they are more dynamic in terms of type, variables, and the relationships between them. In addition, sports businesses such as sports clubs provide a lot of economic benefits to their managers and have a large turnover in the sports industry. Also, in terms of the health of sport, sports businesses are known as white businesses. In order not to cause too much pollution in the society, they have provided the ground for people's health and healthy living.
Methodology: This research is a field survey of a descriptive type in terms of data collection and applied in terms of purpose. The statistical population included all the managers of sports clubs in Guilan Province. The statistical sample was selected according to the Morgan table for the target population of 252 people. A 47-item questionnaire based on the five-point Likert scale was used to collect the data. The questionnaire included questions on digital marketing, customer voice marketing, differentiation strategy, and business performance. In order to evaluate the content validity and face validity, five sports management professors and four experts and managers of sports clubs were consulted. According to the Kolmogorov-Smirnov test, the distribution of the data was abnormal. Therefore, to investigate the relationship between statistical hypotheses, the structural equation modeling method was used by the PLS software. Also, to evaluate the construct validity, confirmatory factor analysis method was done. In addition, to analyze the main research hypotheses, path analysis method was used in the PLS software.
Results and Discussion: According to the descriptive data, 60.45% of the research participants were 29-20 years old, 61.53% of them were men, and 50.37% of them had a bachelor's degree. The factor loads of all the measures in their respective structures were higher than 0.4. The output results of the model indicated the appropriateness of the convergent validity criterion. Also, the divergent validity of the model was confirmed. All the variables had a Cronbach's alpha value above 0.70 and a hybrid reliability above 0.80, indicating that the model had good reliability in both Cronbach's alpha and hybrid reliability. The variance inclusion index also showed that digital marketing (16%) and customer voice marketing (55%) indirectly affect the performance of sports club businesses through the mediation of differentiation strategies. This suggests the partial mediation of the mediators. According to the obtained value of SRMR (0.09), the measurement and structural model had a good fit. It was also found that digital marketing (0.22), customer voice marketing (0.21) and differentiation strategy (0.36) had significant effects on the 95% significance level with business performance. Digital marketing (0.12) and customer voice marketing (0.73) had a significant effect at 95% significance level with a differentiation strategy. According to the results of the present study and the great effects of digital marketing and customer voice marketing on the business performance of sports clubs through differentiation strategies, sports club managers should focus more on online advertising and hearing the voice of customers. Introducing services in clubs and providing their needs will cause customers’ loyalty and their return. As a result, the club will perform better than its competitors. The Sobel test showed that the digital marketing has a significant effect on the performance of sports club businesses through the mediation of differentiation strategies. Customer voice marketing through the mediation of a differentiation strategy also has a significant effect on the performance of sports club businesses. In today's competitive market environment, which is characterized by increasing competition as well as unpredictable and knowledgeable customers, the effort to build customer loyalty and satisfaction through advertising and product promotion and delivery to the customer has become more important and may be one of the most important strategic factors to take into account for success. Given that social media are the most important elements in digital marketing and companies and clubs are gradually moving towards marketing, neglecting the importance of the club's customer can lead to the failure of clubs. So, it is important for a sports club to be able to easily achieve its customer retention goals by performing its duties. Many sports clubs and businesses have now accepted that, in order to succeed in a competitive world and compete with the competitors, they must use a digital strategy such as social media.
Conclusion: Sports business executives are not familiar with new techniques such as digital marketing and customer voice marketing to improve their business performance. They also cannot use differentiation strategies to excel and create a competitive advantage with competitors. Therefore, measures should be taken to train sports club managers in modern marketing and customer orientation methods and to familiarize them with the strategies of having innovation and differentiation. For this purpose, managers can use the customer voice marketing technique by inviting loyal trainers and have private meetings to use their comments and suggestions. In this regard, the customers' comments and suggestions are also needed for providing the facilities and programs desired. The research on sports businesses and the marketing of sports clubs has shown that sports clubs do not make good use of marketing programs and specialized marketing teams to better manage themselves, so it is recommended that the managers of sports clubs in the country use marketing programs such as digital marketing and hear customers' voices and feedback to familiarize the public with the quality and variety of their club services.