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6 things Football Manager can teach you about marketing

Football Manager, the famous sports simulation game, has had millions of fans worldwide for decades.

While it may seem like another video game, the in-depth nature of Football Manager can actually offer insights that can be applied to various aspects of marketing.

1. Understanding your target audience

In Football Manager, knowing your players’ strengths, weaknesses, and preferred playing styles is vital for achieving success. You don’t want to play a route one long-ball game with a striker with a “heading” rating of 6/20.

Similarly, in marketing, understanding your target audience is crucial. Identifying their needs, preferences, and behaviours will help you tailor campaigns to identify with them better.

2. Data, data and even more data

Over the years, football (and therefore Football Manager) has become increasingly data-focused. Long gone are the days when your stats were simply possession, shots on target and bookings. We now live in a world of expected goals, expected assists, expected saves, distance covered and much more.

Similarly, in marketing, there is an ever-growing amount of data at our fingertips. Simply hopping onto Google Analytics can show how many people visit your website, how long they spend on there, what pages they visit, where they came from to visit your website and much more.

Email systems will offer insights into open rates, click rates, click-to-open rates and more. Using this data, you can constantly improve your email marketing communications.

3. Building a strong team

A successful football team is not just about the star players. It’s about building a cohesive unit that complements each other’s skills. The same applies to your marketing strategy.

Assemble a well-rounded strategy with multiple successful elements to get the most from your marketing.

For example, it doesn’t matter how good your website is if you’re not working to get people to visit it. The reverse is also true, if you push hundreds of people to a website that doesn’t engage the audience, you’ll fail.

A successful strategy should be made up of many elements, all working together to provide you with the results you’re looking for.

4. Setting realistic goals and KPIs

At the start of every season on Football Manager you’ll have a conversation with your board about your objectives for the next season and onwards. This will then lead to you having a discussion with your team about these objectives.

It’s important to ensure that your board, you, and the players are all aiming for the same realistic targets. After all, you’re not going to be able to turn Notts Country into Champions League winners overnight.

The same goes for marketing. Establish clear and measurable objectives, such as increasing website traffic, lead generation, or conversion rates. Then, regularly monitor your progress and be prepared to adjust your strategies if necessary.

By looking at marketing basics, you should ensure all objectives are SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based.

Clear objectives provide focus and direction to your marketing efforts, ensuring you stay on track to achieve your goals.

5. Adapting to changing circumstances

Football Manager players often face unpredictable situations, like injuries, players requesting to leave or whatever else the game decides to throw you. The key to overcoming these challenges is adaptability.

In marketing, the landscape can change rapidly due to industry trends, technological advancements, or economic shifts. It’s vital that you’re prepared to adapt to these changes to stay relevant and competitive. Embrace innovation and be open to exploring new marketing channels or tactics that align with emerging trends.

For example, LinkedIn will regularly change how its algorithm works and what posts it will push. So, it’s important to ensure that you’re willing to adjust how and what you post on the platform to get the most out of it.

6. Learning from failures

In Football Manager, just like the real-life version, you cannot rely on everything to be positive. Teams will lose matches, and you’ll fail to meet your objectives and struggle to maintain promises to players.

Similarly, in marketing, not every campaign will be a resounding success. Embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. Analyse the reasons behind unsuccessful marketing projects, review insights, and apply these lessons to your future strategies.

A mindset that embraces failure as a steppingstone to success will help you continually refine your marketing approach and achieve better outcomes.

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Football Manager may be “just” a game (try telling that to our Head of Content and avid Football Manager player Nick Parkhouse), but it holds principles we can apply to marketing.

So, the next time you fire up Football Manager for a quick session (is there such a thing?), remember that the lessons learned on the virtual pitch can be translated into the winning playbook for your marketing endeavours.

If you’d like help managing your marketing gameplan please get in touch by emailing or call us on 0115 8965 300

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