The opportunity to increase sales exponentially via fan engagement is incredible, especially given that each action on the field and outside of it is a business opportunity.
For many sports fans around the globe, the most important annual event is FIFA World Cup, which is played in Russia this year. Business opportunity for all industries and segments, the World Cup not only involves the host country, and the countries participating in the cup, but also gathers audiences of devoted fans across the whole globe.
This mega event can be divided into three stages:
First: The previous stages, from the qualification stages, (the months before the start of the cup), to where we are presently.
Second: This stage is during the World Cup, in real time, are the months the cup lasts from opening to closing.
Third: After the cup.
How marketers can score engagement during the World Cup
For marketers, the first two stages of the World Cup are the most important because in those stages, we need to hone our strategy and consider each possible situation to be able to take the different actions, simplify, and automate processes. Considering the stock of fan products in case you should manufacture them, and anticipating orders with the necessary time to have the product available when needed is crucial.
The second stage (real time) is the most dynamic and fun, with fans experiencing different emotional states. This is the stage where the belief that every action is an opportunity applies most.
Knowing this, then what can marketers do to improve the CX and create fan loyalty?
Start by communicating with both customers and potential customers. A simple raffle can generate traffic, but most importantly will generate data, thus adding insights for the moment that a customer connects with your organization. If they later purchase, linking the times can provide insights into why they buy, and what motivates them to purchase.
When we talk about segmentation, we must consider that a global event such as this draws not only football fans, but also those who do not tend to watch football. This is a unique moment, as it brings together friends, family, and strangers in different contexts, but with a different mood: a fervor and an ideal moment to take different communication actions. Sports fans can become very emotional, and often that is the perfect time to engage.
Trends driving digital transformation in fan engagement
There are a few trends that have sparked transformation with regard to how we market to sports fans:
Digitalization and social media: Fans and their expectations have changed, and modern consumers expect modern service and 24/7 availability to purchase whenever they’d like to.
Going global: Internationalization has added complexity to the mix when it comes to messaging.
Data is the fuel: Knowing fan preferences is a prerequisite to unlock untapped potentials.
In-the-moment fan experience: Driving momentum 24/7 across touch points, real time messaging helps to seize the key moments of the fan journey as they occur.
Key challenge: Turning fans into customers
Though they might have many followers on social media, large clubs are struggling with converting those fans into customers, with less than 1% of fans making purchases. So how do you turn loyal fans into customers? The simple answer is “engagement,” but as with all answers, it is rather complex.
To increase engagement, multiple varieties of engagement tactics must be implemented to drive traffic to conversion sites. Most importantly, data is the fuel for your digital business. You must own this. You can’t outsource it. Data will also support you in your discussions with potential partners and sponsors, and it must be enriched in real-time as events occur.
Applying insights that you get from fans and creating a robust, 360-degree fan profile to engage fans before, during, and after an event makes all the difference. Sports fans live and breathe in key moments. Smart marketers know how to capitalize on the power of emotions during an exciting match, and are aware of exactly what to offer fans within each moment. Whether it is a customer you’ve known for long time, or a fan where you only know their twitter handle, the opportunity is there to drive conversions and gain customers. You’ve just got to get across the goal line.