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5 things you can learn about marketing from football

Now, you might be thinking ‘what on earth is going on here?’ Football? Marketing? Come on.

Football and marketing go hand in hand and football has certainly been heavily reliant on the power of marketing over the last decade.

Since social media became a well-used platform, the demand for football to keep up has never been higher. And, taking into consideration that the 92 clubs across English football had total revenue of £5.8bn, you can see the commercial interest too.

Whether you’re a fan of football or not, you can’t help but get invested once you start to see some of the activities taking place as clubs reach out to a wider audience. Given that football clubs typically lose money rather than make it, they have to make use of every single platform they can to optimise their brand value.

There’s much more to take from football than just 22 players kicking around a ball for an afternoon. If like me, you live and breathe football, you might pick up on some pretty interesting things away from the actual kicking of the ball – whether that is how football clubs utilise their marketing channels, or how players communicate with supporters or fan-led campaigns.

1. Understand the platforms you’re using

Developing your marketing strategy can take time. It stems from the very core of your brand and what you want to achieve. One of the main elements of a marketing strategy is how you communicate with your target audience. Whatever the platform you choose to do this, you must get familiar with it.

For example, social media is one of the most effective ways of interacting with your audience. Whether that’s through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. More and more brands are using social media as their way of reaching out.

Whatever you use, it’s essential you understand its function, how it’s used, and when it’s used. For example, many years ago, when Twitter was still a baby (in usage terms), it wasn’t always being used as intended. Take this tweet from Wayne Rooney as an example:

We know now that is not how Twitter works. But that’s through understanding the platform and how we engage with our audiences. Wayne Rooney, at the time, was still using it as an SMS service, rather than a way of communicating with a wider audience.

But it’s not just Twitter that you need to understand. You also need to know what your website will be used for, and how creating and emailing newsletters to your clients would benefit you.

There are many functions to an effective marketing strategy, and understanding what platforms work for you and your brand is an important first step.

2. Be creative

You don’t have to do things by the book.

Marketing is not only the process but also the creative aspect behind your brand. It’s a chance to demonstrate your personality and engage a wider audience.

Our native side, Nottingham Forest, is a great example of this. A fan-led campaign turned their home ground, the City Ground, into a sea of red following years of poor relations between supporters and the club.

In doing so, they created a series of spectacular displays that are not only visually striking but also create unity and camaraderie among supporters.

It’s a great example of being visually creative and all stakeholders buying into the same ethos.

3. Your website is important

Your online presence, regardless of industry or service, can have a massive impact on your success. In this day and age, some businesses still don’t realise that the majority of their customers will visit their website before deciding to get in touch.

A website is important for small businesses for many different reasons. From building credibility with potential clients to capturing leads and web visitors, your website should be an accurate representation of your business.

It’s the same in football. A website is almost always the end stop for supporters, whether it’s to buy a ticket for an away game or finding out which overrated striker their club is after now.

So, keeping it running smoothly and online is essential.

Sadly, this wasn’t the case at poor old Ross County from the Scottish Championship. Their website was unfortunately deleted, which had a hugely detrimental effect as it meant they were unable to sell tickets, merchandise and more.

Not having a working website can impact potential revenue as it can put off potential leads and turn away existing clients.

4. Build your brand

Showcasing your brand to your prospective customers is one of the most important things that you can do. By clearly establishing who you are, what you represent, and what you stand for, you increase the chances of your customers buying from you.

Forest Green Rovers are in English football’s fourth tier. Yet, their global outreach is in the billions. According to owner Dale Vince, their story has reached over three billion across the globe. But why is that?

Their brand, of course. Their ‘green’ values are important to them. They are ‘football’s first 100% vegan football club’. From a robot lawnmower to a vegan diet for the players, to plans for a stadium made from wood, they’re incredibly consistent with their brand values and philosophy.

And, that is having a huge effect on their audience. It’s been recognised globally as they become one of the most talked about football clubs in the world – even to the extent of them receiving an award from the United Nations.

This was all through their beliefs, incorporating this into their brand and sticking with it.

5. Be open with your audience

Don’t be afraid to engage with your audience.

Showing your willingness to engage not only tells people you’re approachable, but this leaves them with a positive, friendly perception of you. Even if you aren’t comfortable with a conversation online, just a ‘thank you’ for their time is enough.

Engaging with your audience can have a positive effect on your brand persona and your business.

Take England’s Lionesses as an example.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, they launched a simple ‘Keeping up with the Lionesses’ video series to engage with their audience while there were strict social distancing measures in place. As a result of this, positive engagement increased faster than any other FA channel.

Think of anything you might need help with?

It can be tricky understanding how exactly marketing can benefit you, or what areas of marketing you need help with.

We have a brilliant team that will get to the root of your issues, from building a new website to generating new leads.

Get in touch with us at or call 0115 8965 300 if you’d like to find out more.

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