More platforms offer more chances to deliver engaging content to fans, says panel at IMG Sports Marketing Symposium
Advertising Week wasn't the only big digital game in New York City this week---the IMG Sports Marketing Symposium drew hundreds of industry professionals to discuss issues and trends in online sports media. Heading the highlight reel was yesterday's session on "Sports Media and Sponsorship in a Cross-Platform World," with an all-star panel of marketing executives from the NFL, IMG, AT&T, State Farm, Optimum Sports and Yahoo!
Here are some key points they quickly agreed on:
- Great content is the key to connecting with sports fans. "It's about engagement, and engagement is about content," said David Abrutyn, senior VP and Global Managing Director, IMG Consulting
- More platforms mean more opportunities to deliver great content to consumers. "Cross-platform marketing isn't an option, it's a core element," said Ken Fuchs, Yahoo! VP, Sports. "You have to be wherever consumers are."
- The fear that too many channels would confuse and fragment target audiences has proved false. "It's been exactly the opposite," says Mark Waller, CFO of the NFL. "If you produce a great product, cross-platform marketing just builds and builds audience."
Enough theory; the panel was asked for concrete examples of successful cross-platform marketing, and not surprisingly, two football campaigns were cited.
State Farm's "discount double check" commercial with Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers grew from a couple of 30-second television spots into a cross-platform phenomenon spanning mobile and social networks---all due to popular demand. "Fans have really taken to it," said Todd Fischer, manager, Marketing Communications for State Farm. "It's become synonymous with our brand. We're building on what could have been a one-dimensional television spot that's here and gone. The biggest push you'll see is into social, where you can get instantaneous feedback from consumers."
Yahoo! Fantasy Football, with sponsors including Toyota and Miller Lite, offers a seamless experience for nearly six million fans across PCs, mobile, tablets and connected TV, said Ken Fuchs, Yahoo! VP, Sports. The online fantasy football leader for 15 years, Yahoo!'s fans spent 17 million minutes (about 34 years) on the game last season, which gives Yahoo! ample opportunity to closely study their online behavior. Yahoo! uses that insight to design features and content that help make sure brands are putting the right products in front of the right consumers. Eye-tracking and other tests show that fans are loving it, and brands are benefitting.
"Awareness and positive sentiment scores are off the charts when you look at fans' relationship with the advertisers across all platforms," says Fuchs. "The most valuable resource consumers have is time, and that's finite. If you can get another five or ten minutes more of their time, that's great."
Yahoo!'s coverage of the 2012 Olympics shows the massive amount of planning and coordination required to execute a successful cross-platform sports marketing campaign at global scale, as Fuchs describes in this video.