Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sports advertisers and marketers: 3 tactics to stay in the game in a tech-centric world

There are often as many interpretations and distractions during a live game as there are viewers. As a graduate student in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and an avid sports marketing observer, I have found two articles and three takeaways you will find interesting. 

In Ben Shields' Fortune.com article, "Tech Could Soon Take Over All the Sports You Watch," the MIT senior lecturer shares how the sports broadcasting industry is changing. The National Football League will be broadcasting 10 games on Amazon, which will be accessible to Amazon Prime members. He goes on to illustrate how tech companies can help sports leagues increase reach and revenue through their channels, such as capitalizing on the Amazon bundle. In addition, Shields shared one way in which brands will have to keep up with Amazon: "Amazon should test new user interfaces and experiences that will make fans want to watch games on Amazon over traditional TV." 

Photo credit: Tech Crunch
While Ben Shields discussed tech companies in this space, Wall Street Journal reporter Mike Shields addressed advertiser opportunities in his article, "Amazon’s NFL Streaming Deal Could Shake Up TV Advertising." Shields noted that with the Amazon streaming deal, brands will have an opportunity to go even deeper with targeting. "Because the games will only be available to Amazon Prime subscribers—who pay $99 a year for free, two-day shipping and access to music, movies and TV shows—viewers will likely need to be logged into their accounts to watch." The reporter also gae light to the idea that there is an infinite amount of data tied in to each Amazon user, and if the company unleashes it to brands, that provides an opportunity to learn more about the consumer. "Amazon could enable advertisers to run ads during NFL games designed to prompt viewers to take actions using Amazon’s voice-controlled home assistant Alexa, such as ordering a pizza," Shields said. 

From my graduate experiences in the Northwestern Medill IMC program and my review of the above articles, here are three action items to help you better build a stronger brand presence in these new game-watching experiences: 
  • Think action-oriented -  Use consumer research and findings to determine how customers could respond with your content - whether that is buying a product, learning more or sharing their experience. 
  • Observe other industries – Similar to the case of Amazon streaming NFL games and looking to e-sports for fans to communicate, look at how other industries are encouraging consumers to join the conversation or take action with your content.
  • Enhance customer experiences – Aside from trying to sell your consumer something, determine how your company or brand can enhance the customer experience for the better so they walk away with a sense of loyalty or want to experience it again.
And lastly, don't get too comfortable. Tomorrow is a new day, full of technological advances and another brand that is ready to combat your new idea. 

Abby Liebenthal is a graduate student in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at the Medill School at Northwestern University.

Follow her on Twitter @AbbyLiebs and connect with her on LinkedIn.

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