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Posts tagged ‘oldham athletic’

Abject marketing

I’ve ‘banged the drum’ for sometime about the inadequacies of marketing and commercial activities at many a lower league operation.  It was interesting to note this Week, Marketing Week’s article that suggested: “Football clubs have earned billions from sponsorship and broadcast rights but their approach to marketing is often as abject as England’s performance against Italy.”

Next Year is the 20th anniversary of the Premier League. Since BSkyB’s deals injected large sums into the game through broadcast rights, English football has changed.  But in my opinion, some still accept this as the status quo without any contingency should the deal be removed from the table.  Unlikely, maybe just yet, unless a rival bids (thus, monies remain) – but there were debates on the Scottish game with a refusal of New Rangers FC’s admission in to the SPL or even a move South of the border.  How quick would a return to the predicament of clubs post ITV Digital’s demise be seen?

Reliant on BSkyB, stadiums, ticketing, corporate boxes and especially players’ wages have spiraled. Even some of the “big boys” have seen some income reductions resorting to new tactics and territories.  I’ve just been offered a Contract with one to prospect and negotiate deals in a Middle Eastern terrain.

Despite the economy the call upon pockets of the fan-base will not be restrained. New kits, new seasons. County’s ‘Mad Hatters’ pricing failed – and personally I didn’t find the compromise an attractive marketing proposition.  BSP fixtures tomorrow, new kit the week after.  Hope it’s not along the 1883 leisure brand launched as casual wear.  Understand the reasoning but it could have been better IMVHO.  Why not listen to all fans – although a couple of branding novelties may have a role in modern day offerings.  What did you think? (1) Refreshing the Oldham Athletic badge for commercial propositions (2) a ‘real’ line for the Liverpool 3rd kit as Warrior clothing stamps its’ mark.

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Is Manchester winning?

I should have used the last blog photograph with this post as I’m banging on my drum again about the pitfalls associated with completely ignoring social media.  Naturally, I’m a convert but I’d like to think from a reasoned platform.

It seems to me ages ago since my colleague and brother-in-law, Bilen, wrote his thesis whilst completing his Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University.  It was titled: “The role of online communities in internet marketing: a study of three professional football clubs in the North West of England”.  Its compilation kindly assisted by the co-operation of three of my clients: Stockport County FC, Bury FC and Oldham Athletic FC.  I recall this subject, as still to this date some organisations are only just  awakening to the potential of its use in digital marketing strategies.

Some have said, Manchester is leading the way.  “United” is a key case study in Facebook Marketing’s intelligence.  “City” is on a pedestal with a selection of tactics scoring ‘early goals’ such as Flickr and Twitter.

We’ve had some great R.O.I (return on investment, not to be confused with Republic of Ireland) from social media.  I hope some of you are following me on Twitter and YouTube?  Or maybe Check In at my office on FourSquare (specials available!).  However you look at it, this social approach has merits and has to be considered.  There is no prescriptive solution but much best practice around.  Furthermore, when expanding into the use of  ‘social communities’ I buy in here also.  I think it was David Jones that wasn’t in favour of online fans forums – but you cannot be a serious marketer if you don’t embrace this methodology and communication channel.  It’s valuable in research, PR, polling perceptions and publicity.  Expect more from me on this subject at a later date.

Stereotypes

Not looking to antagonise anyone but time to ponder a few likes and dislikes from my time as a football supporter. 

Likes: 

Of course, ignoring in the main the obvious “Stockport County”; 

  1. Behaviour and attitude of Northern Ireland fans in welcoming Turkish team and its’ supporters immediately post the 1999 earthquake in Izmit, Turkey.
  2. Found friendliest away grounds, in terms of courtesy of staff to be Rochdale AFC and Huddersfield Town AFC.
  3. Nicest player met, David Ginola (ex-Tottenham etc) or Brad Friedel (ex-Galatasaray).
  4. Success of our first Conference in Turkey this Year.
  5. “County’s” Argentina kit 1979-1980.
  6. Going to Stockport fixtures with my Grandad, Bill and Grandma, Marion (R.I.P).
  7. Away games.
  8. The hymn “Scarf my father wore”.
  9. Rapport with Alex Kotler, CEO of Football Partnerships.
  10. The Events related to my Book “B&B: Friendship and Football beyond frontiers”. 

Dislikes: 

  1. Admission price paid for me and 4 years old son, Kaya, to visit Elland Road and watch a League One match.
  2. Aggression by Millwall fan – the only time received a ‘blow’ at any game.
  3. Losing so often at Wembley.
  4. When “Vernon Bear” was replaced by “Harry the Hatter” as mascot.
  5. Fearing loss of life when uncontrolled surge of fans after Kocaelispor versus Erzurumspor match.
  6. Waiting for England winning the World Cup again.
  7. Chorus of “Delilah” from Stoke City AFC supporters.
  8. Sticking out like a sore thumb as the only Englishman in a hardcore area of Fenerbache terracing.
  9. Challenge by a fellow ‘County’ fan for my assisting saving Oldham Athletic AFC (2004).  That’s my job and what I do for a living!
  10. Fan who sang for 90 minutes at Chesterfield (away) “I’ve got a song that’ll get on your nerves” (repeated over and over and over again).

Get your houses in order!

Today, Terry Venables (ex-England Manager) suggests in a ‘red top daily’ newspaper, that the current system of protocol and penalty against teams that enter financial administration is in need of an overhaul.  He goes on to stress that the only people that suffer are the fans.  In my experiences the suffering of supporters would always be an objective to minimise.  After all, it is not they who are usually to blame (unless perhaps they have been the owner running the club at that time). 

However, a stringent and rigorous punishment needs to prevail.  All too often I have witnessed mis-management by supporters that have been elevated to a Boardroom setting without having the skills or commercial acumen.  It takes more than just keeping the faith to succeed, football is a business not just a game.  The alternative misdemeanour, to poor supporters’ stewardship of these businesses, is that the wrong ‘white knight’ has been in place, whom should never have ridden over the hill nor even perhaps have got on the steed in the first place – or a similar ego driven appointment where an owner has passed his/her shelf-life and maybe lost interest – something that fans don’t often do. They say after religion that football is the next strongest ‘brand’ for loyalty. 

Barry Hearn who runs Leyton Orient has indicated rather than a ten points deduction for clubs that go into administration that demotion by two leagues be more appropriate.  Whilst, I don’t agree entirely, the sentiment I share is that ‘these clubs’ have failed and should face more severe sanctions than present.  At least this may go someway to ensuring that more football clubs get their houses in order.

If only, the likes of Stockport County, Chester City, Oldham Athletic had had better leadership the financial woes may not have materialised.  Maybe well run, fans-owned clubs will continue to be another way for the future aka FC United of Manchester, City Fans United (phoenix for Chester City) and AFC Wimbledon.  Certainly, this is a philosophy that Supporters Direct subscribes to.  Watch this space………..