In theory sports marketing should be simple.
People admire athletes and sports personalities.
If your guys win then all your key metrics go through the roof…in site traffic, shares, engagement - the lot.
But people are more complicated than that.
What drives someone to buy your sports gear or talk about your club online the rest of the time?
And how do you create digital marketing campaigns that drive new engagement?
To create content that resonates with people you have to know the people you are marketing to.
Know them really well.
(At this point I think about the die hard way in which some of the Realise team support their favourite Premier League club and the pain they wear on their faces when the club doesn’t deliver Champions League success – and the pleasure on their faces, not to mention the sheer joy in their voices, when they talk about the match day stadium experience at the weekend).
3 campaigns I loved that really understood women. (I am one, so indulge me).
(Ironically I probably Can’t).
Sport England did some research. They found a huge difference in the number of men and women playing sport. In fact two million fewer 14-40 year old women in total. And not because women didn’t want to compete with the best of them. 75% of women said they wanted to be more active. They were just afraid of being judged. So how did a digital campaign get these women into their gym gear?
By showing real women getting sweaty and jiggling as they jump.
By going against the idealised images of yore.
By using lines like, “hot and not bothered” and “I kick balls. Deal with it.”
And the results? 2.8 million women say they’ve done some exercise as a direct result of the campaign.
Under Armour had the same idea of empowering women.
But they took a different approach. We still see the beautiful, toned, athletic women. (The "How I Wish I Looked Women" in my mind).
But in a way that highlights their fierce attitude. These women don’t fear other people’s judgement. Or wait for their permission to go after personal goals.
Misty Copeland and Giselle Bundchen both featured. Misty showing you can be what you want with enough raw talent and hutzpah. And Giselle defying all the haters. In a neat bit of social media integration we saw Giselle knocking hell out of a punch bag while the comments – good and bad – flew past her.
Haters gonna hate. But you don’t have to listen.
It’s a message that resonates with every woman who’s ever posted, well, just about anything on social media.
And the results. 2.8 million video views on YouTube. $10 million free media coverage. And a 293% lift in brand conversation for Under Armour.
Or final thought, Ivy Park from Queen Bey.
A campaign which knocks the smugness out of women who go to the gym with their make up perfect and hair neatly done. It gives every woman the confidence to channel Mrs Jay-Z with a beetroot face and lycra you have to peel off afterwards.
So what can we learn from this?
Women aren’t invisible. They love to watch sport, play sport and get active.
Sports marketers have a huge opportunity here. After all women account for 85% of all purchase decisions.
By doing the research and gathering insights into how women want to see themselves reflected in digital content, sports brands could be onto a sure fire winner.
I’m now off to eat cake. I burnt at least 12 calories typing this.