Innovation. Ideas. Insight.


The (Sports Marketing) World Is Flat


In 2005, author Thomas L. Friedman released the critically-acclaimed best seller, The World is Flat. In it he posited that advances in technology – telecommunications, software and consumer-generated media to name just three – have created an environment where competition for jobs is no longer based on geography or industrial capital.  For the sports marketer, a parallel trend has emerged simultaneously and on no less global a scale. In fact, this flattening described by Friedman has helped to create an environment burgeoning with opportunity for the global sports marketer.


I’ve been fortunate enough to have been involved in a variety of global sports marketing projects, including the FIFA World Cup, Olympics, Formula 1, Cricket World Cup and more. Sports elicit a passion in consumers that is powerful and provides a unique opportunity for marketers. Increasingly, these opportunities arrive on a global scale thanks to the drivers described in Friedman’s book. While eyecube will feature Innovation, Insight & Ideas across a broad spectrum of marketing disciplines, categories and industries, the world of sports marketing will be highlighted often.


The question for a marketer has always been: how do you identify the right property and then exploit it to maximum efficiency? This is especially true when one must factor in the global reach of even secondary sports properties. The choices now are so numerous and the target audience often so hard to neatly categorize that a new set of criteria must be devised. Here are three key principles marketers must keep in mind:


1. Reach out to the world


Regardless of the property, fans around the world will be engaged with it and therefore with your brand. Is your communication relevant to your target audience, regardless of their location?


Whether it is the NBA, the German Bundesliga or the Brazilian Grand Prix, fans from around the world will view, listen, download, chat and blog it. How are you as a marketer engaging consumers across this matrix in ways that are relevant to them and their preferences?


2. Bring the world together


Even a globally distributed audience seeks an opportunity and platform for a shared experience. Pulling fans together is just as important as reaching out to them.


YouTube, blogs and text messages have allowed sports fans to shift the experience from a one-way communication to a multi-faceted dialogue where traditional media is just one of many channels.  To truly engage the sports consumer you must provide the tools for easy content dissemination. Provide the fan with a voice and they will be more likely to willingly hear yours.


3. Don’t just do it, do it well


Whether you are sponsoring the FIFA World Cup, a regional cycling race or a grassroots event, the consumer’s expectation level is the same.


The competition for attention is high and consumers no longer compartmentalize their time or what they spend it on. A successful entertainment franchise such as The Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter features print, video, online, and experiential elements in a 24/7 environment. Leveraging a sports property has to be treated the same way. At any time of the day or night someone, somewhere needs to be able to engage with your brand through your sponsorship. Simply leveraging an association via point of sale logos, even with premiere properties such as the FIFA World Cup or the Olympics isn’t enough to ensure success. With a pro-active marketing program that includes public relations, online interaction and consumer promotions, a relatively minor sponsorship can have effective global reach and engage consumers in a meaningful way.


The new, flatter world provides true opportunities to engage existing consumers in new ways and new consumers in existing ways. Regardless of the consumer or the channel through which your message is communicated, it must be the right message.


  1. Hey I just did find your blog. Good Stuff! Dont have time now to read trough all the topics but I will come back later to read more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: