A THOUGHT PIECE BY ALEX JACOBSON
Data's coming home. Right?
It’s no surprise that social media and digital channels are firmly part of
the marketing mix for most Football clubs.
With European clubs leading the way in social media traction, the sport is amongst the most followed sports on social media today. In fact, an impressive 159.9 million total followers belong to leading football club legends, Barcelona - making it, unsurprisingly, the most followed team in the world.
Whilst the blaugrana dominate in sheer numbers, they do have a very familiar social opponent.
The Barça-Real rivalry isn’t limited to the pitch – these two clubs regularly compete at the top of the
Real understand the importance of engagement, and are perhaps slightly better at knowing how to make the most of their global fanbase, sitting above them in the Forbes’ list of most valuable Football clubs.
Alongside the social revolution, traditional TV media investment is another favoured channel for
clubs and their goal-scoring legends. And it makes complete sense – people love watching sport.
In fact, according to Campaign, around half of the world’s population tuned into the 2016 Rio Olympics,
and 20 million viewers tuned in to see England reach the World Cup Semi-Final this year.
But I can’t help but think there’s a huge opportunity to be had for football clubs across the globe,
that doesn’t just focus on social, and/or TV.
An opportunity that isn’t yet being fully realised by these fan-based sporting giants.
The football fan empire
Fans are the best consumers a brand can have.
They are loyal. They have an invested interest that goes far beyond the usual brand-consumer relationship. How many businesses can say that their customer base love them?!
Fans are willing to provide insights about themselves to ensure they receive the most relevant news on their chosen team. They frantically register or sign-in to their teams’ sites to buy the latest football shirts, or tickets, or even to just hear the latest video clip of their favourite player talk about the last match – win, lose or draw.
It’s a marketer’s dream, right? But, are football clubs truly realising the potential of their fan data,
outside of their chosen marketing channels?
According to Stuart Flint, vice-president EMEA at Oath speaking with Campaign,
"Brands only have a small window where they can grab consumers’ attention while games are on, so they need to look beyond matches and engage fans seeking out supplementary information including stats, replays and interactive experiences. While some British fans will switch off from TV once their team is out of the running, they’re still likely to be keeping tabs on contextually relevant content throughout the competition."
Whilst I agree football clubs need to keep one-eye on their fan’s behaviours, I also sense the need for brands to take a closer look at the data they have already.
Truth is, much of the valuable fan data being generated is being lost, or at least, not harnessed.
We examined football clubs across the globe to get a sense of which teams were utilising what data.
Of those four clubs who have implemented a DMP, only two are using them with footballs main marketing communication channel; social. And what’s more, not a single club is using the best
DMP technology available for this objective: dynamic creative optimisation.
With so much focus being primarily on TV and social, there’s huge opportunity for clubs to
take back control through the power of their fans.
Unlocking the value of your fans
Today, our industry is re-thinking the value of relationship marketing, resurfacing to traditional influencer marketing - which is rooted in transactional partnerships between influencers and brands. The problem with this narrow marketing channel, is that it doesn’t account for the numerous ways that brands can tap into their own organic fan base.
In many ways, football fans are the ultimate influencer, and, by leveraging their value, brands will unlock the best influencer marketing tactic around.
Loyal fans have built an empire for football clubs – an empire packed with scale, premium content,
secured logins via multiple devices, assets and products, and long- term partnerships: football teams, strike again.
Like many other businesses and industry sectors, football clubs need a fluid tech-stack that allows them to harness, model and grow their fan data.
Bringing all this data together requires a lot of investment, but more importantly, skill.
Choosing the right data strategy and platform will allow football clubs to engage with their fan base, offering products and services they want from the club they love.
The right DataTech Solution for football.
There’s no 'one' DataTech solution for all football clubs.
Each club will have its own unique set of objectives, goals and needs that a DMP will have to compliment.
Businesses across all sectors are showing a lack of confidence around how they can utilise their
consumer data in the most effective ways. Here at SBDS, we want to change that; we want to help football clubs realise the full potential of their customer data sets.
To find out more about how SBDS’s DataTech experts and DMP specialists can help create boundless opportunities for football clubs, request our Football Club Playbook via our resource page.