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Selling the sizzle, not the sausage

Selling the sizzle, not the sausage

We had the opportunity to attend Goodform’s annual Sports CRM Summit yesterday, where a host of leading figures from the sports community gathered to debate effective audience engagement through the smart use of data.

Themes such as exploiting the value of supporter data and the growing role of compelling content were discussed amongst panel members and speakers, all hosted by Radio 5 Live presenter, Jonathan Overend. The event welcomed experts from the world of sport who shared insights in how using data strategically can attract, inspire and retain audiences. One of the speakers suggested it’s all about ‘selling the sizzle, not the sausage’ which neatly captured the way more and more sporting organisations are promoting their events.

For us, it was all about the concept of selling the experience around the sport, capturing the excitement and hype around it, rather than the game alone. It can be likened to creating a wave or movement amongst clubs who want an ongoing engagement and relationship with their audiences and so for them it has to be all about the experience. In football, an almost tribal community of loyal followers exists but moving outside of the beautiful game, what does this mean for sports organisations such as Badminton England, British Cycling or Formula 1?

Niels de Vos, Chief Executive of British Athletics, introduced the topic of engaging with audiences beyond pure attendance – how to communicate with them in a way to keep them truly connected. Shane Whelan, Digital Communications Manager at 6 Nations Rugby Limited, insisted, “Content is key, it’s above everything” and went on to discuss the role of ‘riveting’ content, from video, news and competitions, to engage their audience. Zara Al-Kudcy, Marketing Manager for the Rugby World Cup, stated how the game of rugby was at the heart of everything they do, “We’re all about creating unforgettable memories; it’s much more than a six week tournament.”

Although data and CRM strategies were at the heart of the event, the need for effective communication strategies and the development of compelling content came across loudly to us. Sports clubs and organisations need to be able to tell a relevant story – communicate the whole essence and ethos of the sporting experience that the potential supporter or participant will enjoy – to attract, inspire and retain audiences. The message and opportunity we took away is that sporting organisations need to first get savvy with their data but equally clear, if they want to play to their crowd, they then need the right content strategy.

Andrea Hounsham,
Director of Firework PR

Follow Firework PR on Twitter @fireworkpr

Posted: 17 September 2014

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