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Using Digital To Drive Commercial Success For Clubs

Mon 28th Sep 2015 | IT & Technology

Digital holds many opportunities for football clubs; not least of all, the chance to generate additional income from existing and emerging revenue streams that supports their on-going ambition to be competitive both on and off the pitch.

However, the fast-paced world of technology and increasingly sophisticated online behaviour of consumers - including football fans - means clubs currently face the difficult decision of knowing what their next move should be.

Digital requires investment in both internal and external resources, so how do you ensure it delivers the short, medium and long-term results you require? In the next 6-12 months, the majority of professional clubs will be asking themselves this very question and, at Rippleffect, due to our extensive experience in football, we believe we have the solutions they are all seeking.

We’ve worked in football for over 12 years and in digital for over 15. In that time, we’ve seen club remits expand from simple microsites to all-encompassing digital strategies that incorporate websites, mobile, apps, social media, search, data, ticketing and email as well as more general information and important two-way fan communication.

We don’t just produce well-designed and -developed websites for our football partners, we help them create digital experiences they and their fans can be proud of; but which, crucially, have a big impact on their off-the-field objectives, such as ticket sales, merchandise, hospitality, sponsorship and community interests. This has led to several awards, including winning the Sport category at the Online Retail Awards for Liverpool and the UK's Best Sport's Website for Arsenal.

Fans who regularly feel valued, heard and rewarded are more likely to become advocates and influencers, part of a group of ‘the most loyal’ supporters who are regularly prepared to part with their hard-earned cash. Research by Gartner reveals that 80% of an organisation’s revenue comes from just 20% of their audience, so the value of engagement cannot be overestimated.

Ultimately, we believe that a club’s digital strategy should be led by engagement - now considered to be the single most important route to improving the size of the fanbase, increasing conversions and achieving success commercially. However, equally important in this mix is a club’s ability to maximise earning potential through the intelligent management of their own digital commercial rights. Many clubs have opted for a centralised approach in recent years but it is no surprise that the most successful are those who remained independent.

For clubs to build more meaningful connections, it’s crucial to have a complete, 360-degree understanding of the fans. That’s why we’ve invested in our team with experts in the fields of data analysis, strategy and planning and research to complement our traditional strengths across UX, design, development and digital marketing.

We have an extensive partner network covering all aspects of technology too, which means we can handle any digital requirements our clients may have. In addition, we’ve brought in Mark Rowan, previously Head of Media and Communications at Everton, who spent 15 years developing the club’s content, fan engagement, digital products, services and strategies. We believe that Mark’s extensive experience in communications, and working at a senior level inside a top Premier League club, can only add more value to our football clients.

By using in-depth research to gather data on fans, clubs have access to a unique level of insight about their audience. This, coupled with our collective experience of the sector, allows us to create roadmaps that shape their digital strategy, identifying the right platforms, tactics and channels to enhance engagement and support commercial ambitions.

Our approach has led to us becoming a trusted digital partner to Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton and, as of this year, Aston Villa. We are proud to have had successful relationships at all levels of the game including a number of Football League clubs as well as partnerships with the Premier League and The Professional Footballers’ Association. We understand football and we understand digital.

For more information, visit www.rippleffect.com or find us on Twitter @rippleffected 

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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