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How to Take Part in Super Bowl Sunday: Tactical Advice from 3 Global Sports Marketers

Portland Trail Blazers, Green Bay Packers and Houston Texans marketers share valuable insights that transcend the football field.

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Super Bowl, America’s biggest sporting event, is just around the corner, which means that it’s time for businesses to step up their marketing game. 

And who knows better how to do marketing during Super Bowl than the marketers building a brand for football teams. 

In recent interviews on the One to One Consumer Marketing Podcast, we spoke with Kevin Kinghorn of the Portland Trail Blazers @ the Rose QuarterGabrielle Valdez Dow of the Green Bay Packers and Doug Vosik of the Houston Texans who shared valuable insights that transcend the football field.

kevin kinghorn bio image
Kevin Kinghorn
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and Executive VP at the Portland Trail Blazers

1. Fewer audience segments lead to more consistent brand-building.

Marketers manage different audiences. But are more audience segments better? Kevin says that having fewer audiences to manage can lead to more consistent brand-building across segments and channels.

“It’s more important than ever to be brand-building and thinking about that brand promise and how we’re doing that across different channels. So what is the consistency? How are we representing the place and how are we representing the values of the fan through sport? Because that’s what keeps you from dipping super deep in that valley and that’s what allows us to really build peak-on-peak and be successful that way.

“So from a fan perspective, I think if you’re looking at more than seven, you’re probably too fractured and you’re talking very uniquely to one fan base. What you’re missing is the consistency and what’s resonating across your entire fan base.”

2. Think about consumer marketing beyond your core offering.

Marketers want to make sure their customers connect to the right product or service. But are there larger brand experiences that will help increase retention? Kevin talks about how to broaden your view.

“We also need to be thinking about different ways people consume that product. So when they’re attending a game, how are they experiencing that? Because it can’t just be the game, right? 

“Yes, we’re looking at those evolving behaviors and how are we shaping not only what we’re doing from a customer experience perspective, what we’re doing from a marketing perspective, but really how are we shaping the building that they’re in, what amenities are we providing, and what emotional connections are we trying to drive?”

💡 Tactical advice:

“Data is great. It’s the insights that are more important. It can be easy to get really hyper-focused on the analytics and what’s happening from a fan base perspective in your own database. 

“But do you know what’s equally important is understanding what’s happening in the marketplace and where you’re overperforming or underperforming and setting your long-term strategy on the opportunities from research. … 

“I learned that somewhat late in my career. I was really hyper-focused on digital, and I hired this great research person and it opened my eyes.”

Analyzing your data is just the first step. Take those insights and use them to inform your long-term strategy. Pull in industry data and you can see where you’re succeeding or lagging.

Gabrielle Valdez Dow
Natalie Miles
Vice President, Marketing and Fan Engagement at the Green Bay Packers

1. Define what success means to you across your various engagement channels.

What does success mean to a marketer? Of course, it depends on the channel. But you should have goals for success, and ways to measure your efforts so you know you’re meeting those goals.

“You have success from ticket sales and a sellout, or success from impressions and content that our fans are engaging with and that changes per medium as well. Or success based on our emails and who’s opening them and responding to them, or clicking through an email to get to a sale or a promotion. … So we have so many different avenues of connections and engagement, each one’s different and success is different depending on which one we’re talking about.”

2. Engage your fans and customers everyday, not just on certain days.

Don’t only engage with your customers at the holidays, or when you have a campaign to drive. Instead, find everyday ways to provide them value and keep their attention.

“The easiest way to retain fans, obviously, is to win, in our business. Winning cures all, but not everyone wins. The NFL understood that. So they created tentpole initiatives to wrap fandom around or to engage fans that are fans of, say, the draft, or they’re engaged in free agency, or we have OTAs and training camp. …

“So it has become a 365 days per year initiative. This giant doesn’t sleep just like every other business, and nor does the content that’s around all of that and the engagement that’s around all of that.”

💡 Tactical advice:

“That goes back to engaging our fans in a different way. That content might not be about the loss. It’s more about how to connect with the team in a different way or showcase something else about the team that pivots from that loss. …

“We have a press conference every single day. Every single day. So Coach is at the podium or assistant coaches. So for us, the business is a little easier for us because that message can change and we can kind of focus that content day-to-day on different people who are speaking from our organization, whether it’s players or coaches or other different initiatives that are going on around Lambeau Field.”

Be nimble with your messaging. Plan your content but be ready to change the messaging based on real-time events so that you can keep your customers or fans engaged continuously with your brand.

Doug Vosik podcast roundup article december
Doug Vosik
Senior VP of Marketing and Communications / CMO at the Houston Texans

1. Be aware and flexible enough to tailor your message to keep fans engaged and happy.

As Doug said in our interview, “We don’t control what happens on Sunday.” Yet you need to have a messaging plan whether you win or lose. And you may need to constantly tailor that message to keep fans engaged.

“We are here to capitalize on the good moments and to make the bad moments not as bad. You can see marketers do this in sports. When the team’s bad, you’re going to focus more on experience, connection, human interest, non-sports things. When the team is good, you’re doubling down on why this team is the best team ever and to get excited and to have hope and championships will come.

“We all do it because again, we are magnifying the status or at times manipulating the story to not focus so much on the negatives. It’s fascinating when you look at that emotional buyer that is the core of your revenue on the ticketing side, and how you keep them happy.”

2. Satisfying each fan's wants is challenging — but you have to try.

Every customer is different. Every sports fan is different. How can you learn more about them to deliver personalized experiences, both online and in person?

“Everybody wants something different to feel satisfied.

“Some want the best tailgate experience pregame in the parking lots. The party. Some want that as the core of their day. Some want perks and discounts. Some want the comfiest, best view in the building from a seat perspective. Some want the sense of community around their seats. The same people have been sitting with me ten years, this is my extended family. Some people want cool merch. They like to feel that team swag, right? Some people like the traditions and rituals and the songs and the chants. So some people are more concerned about traffic and parking.

“The complexity of satisfaction on any fan these days, let alone your core, is more complex than ever. And the best you can do as a marketer is be extremely data driven.”

💡 Tactical advice:

“How do you just accept where fans are and either dial back resources or come up with a new solution? That’s one. Will there come a point in time we’re all willing to look at ourselves and say, these are not important anymore and scale back?

“Two is, you can see, of course, where all the fans are and that’s social. But as you know, we only control our outcomes so much on those platforms. They’re not owned and operated. We can make the best content in the world. We can engage our fans, we can look at all the analytics, but we all know that without rather extensive paid efforts behind them, the organic reach of our posts are extremely limited.”

Examine your channels — are you using the channels where your customers are spending the most time, or are you still relying on “classic” channels and hoping they’ll come to you? It may be time to reevaluate your strategy to set yourself up for the future.

Want more insights on customer retention? Subscribe to The One to One Consumer Marketing Podcast for the full episodes with these amazing guests and more!

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