So, Your World Cup Marketing Campaign Is Failing… Now What?


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Sporting events provide much more than entertainment value — they are ripe opportunities for marketers. The World Cup, which reaches a passionate global fanbase over a four-week timeframe, is a no-brainer. In 2014, the stakes are higher for digital marketers than they were just four years ago. Customers today are engaging with brands in myriad ways and also in real time. So if your World Cup-related marketing campaign isn’t working, changes need to be made quickly or you risk missing out on a massive opportunity.

Luckily, as digital marketers, we’re empowered to update our campaigns on the fly. Here are five ways you can adapt an underperforming World Cup marketing campaign with minimal resources and time:

1. Speed up your site.
New campaigns = new bugs. It’s likely you’re not running World Cup campaigns often and are using a lot of new images, content and frameworks that can lead to longer load times on your site. Longer load times can cause people to abandon your page and slow page speed can negatively impact your organic search rankings. Try enabling compression, leveraging caching, and resizing and optimizing images to solve most issues.

2. Communicate with your audience, not at them.
Don’t just slap some FIFA logos on your content — you need to be authentic with your messages. When U.S. Soccer engaged our partner VML to create a new digital hub for fan interaction ahead of the World Cup, they focused on content that their audience would find most relevant: pre-and post-match perspectives, team profiles and player bios.

3. Tie your campaign to what’s current.
Timeliness matters, so prepare your team and your website to respond and publish quickly. As teams get eliminated from the tournament, update your content accordingly. Premier League powerhouse Manchester City Football Club, for example, ensures that their editors are both ready and technically equipped to maintain the website in near real-time during games and key events.

4. Use data to build the best experiences.
Harness data to develop personalized, engaging experiences that will impact your bottom line. For instance, 56 percent of mobile users say that Twitter content influences them when buying a product or service. Adapt to your customers as you experiment with seasonal campaigns like the World Cup.

5. Make your content mobile-ready.
Customers are using mobile devices more than ever before, and according to Google research, 67 percent of people are more likely to make a purchase from a mobile friendly website. Even if you don’t have time to build a mobile site for the World Cup, produce content that will perform well on mobile devices. Specialized, rich content — like videos optimized for mobile — convert particularly well.

Even if your campaign is off to a slow start, you still have several more weeks of World Cup madness in which to turn things around. Fixing performance issues, tailoring your content for your audience, tracking current trends, leveraging data, and optimizing for mobile will help you create better experiences for your customers that lead to immediate and long-term results.

What do you think? What tactics are you using to bring the World Cup into your marketing campaign strategy? How are you adapting as you go?

James Smith
James Smith is responsible for all marketing in North America. With more than 20 years of global marketing and technology experience, Smith brings to Sitecore a rich and varied background in both B2B and B2C marketing across lead generation, campaign management, and brand development.


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