What's caught my eye... Under Armour.
The #sportsbiz industry doesn't sleep. There's literally so much going on at any given time that it's impossible to keep up. And if you're anything like me, you rarely have enough time to even try. That said, to both ensure I keep pushing myself to get across industry news and insight, and to do what I can to help others, I'm going to regularly share what's caught my eye, and why I believe it matters to our industry. The remit is wide, and hopefully the resulting commentary insightful. At the very least, it could prompt a great conversation!
So let's dive in...
This week, Under Armour caught my eye.
After a disappointing 2019 that resulted in its share price dropping following release of results, Under Armour is planning to increase its marketing spend for 2020, and more importantly shift where it will be spent. Stating that awareness of the brand is not an issue, CEO Patrick Frisk suggested that a substantial reason for its underwhelming sales results was because they'd struggled to explain to enough consumers 'why they should consider Under Armour'. In light of this, 2020 would see more of their marketing budget put towards top- and middle-of-funnel, rather than end-of-funnel, to address the leak in their sales funnel between awareness and interest / consideration. Coinciding with this was the release of their 2020 brand campaign, The Only Way Is Through.
What can code and clubs take away from this?
If you're a big league, or a big club, it's safe to say that most people are loosely aware of you (at least when prompted). But if they're not interested, they won't be considering you... and certainly won't be consuming you.
When tackling the week-to-week in-season proposition of getting bums on seats, it can be hard to look up towards the horizon and focus on anything but the 'right now'. Any go-to-market effort that doesn't deliver (or at least set-out to deliver) conversion via an immediate result (such as ticket sales) is often seen as wastage. But here's the kicker, the longer you ignore driving interest (which then drives consideration to play, watch, attend), the smaller the pool for conversion becomes year-on-year. Which alas, those much needed sales for each week's game that majority of budget and resource is thrown at, gets harder and harder.
5 Key take-aways:
Build your brand. Lift your heads above the horizon and invest in brand to drive reach, salience and emotional connection. Doing so will fill your pipeline (helping drive sales in the future). Yes, this requires investing in broad reaching mediums to connect with as many people as possible.
The sales funnel is not dead. And anyone that says so is kidding themselves (or doesn't actually understand it). Awareness, Interest, Consideration, Conversion. Label it however you want, even customise your own sales funnel if it helps. But have one that everyone in the business is bought into and always remember and remind yourselves that people will not go from straight from awareness to conversion. Our job as #sportbiz pros is to nurture people through. And invest in every part of it.
Plug the holes. Quantify each stage in your pipeline and find where the biggest and most concerning holes are. You can't tackle all of them at once, but you can plug (or reduce the size of the hole) one by one. Under Armour found their gaping hole before Consideration, and whilst they could have gone harder and invested more in performance focused channels (such as digital advertising) to drive immediate sales, it wouldn't deliver the return achievable over time if the leakeing hole further up the pipe wasn't fixed first.
Ask questions and don't assume. Research and ask the market why they're not interested or considering your product. Too many of us assume that we undertand the barriers and motivations of the market because we were once one of them (and worse yet, still think we are).
People can be interested in more than just the game. Working within Australia's most popular and highest attended sport, it's hard to comprehend that people don't love the game as much as I do - however the reality is that there are many Australian's that couldn't care less for it. But that's the best thing about working in sport - it doesn't, and hasn't always been about the actual game. It's everything around and between it. Each sport and each club within are so multi-faceted that there are so many other pillars to leverage interest. Find out what they are and communicate accordingly - the on-field offering doesn't have to be the most relevant to consume and hand over their hard earned dollars and free-time.
Find this piece interesting and keen to hear more? Hit me up on Twitter or via the contact field below and let me know. I've been thinking about pulling together a regular newsletter and if there's a growing interest, I'll get it up and running.
Yours in sport.