We take a look at the astonishing story of Leicester City in the English Premier League and establish what lessons and findings can be taken from a Sports Marketer’s perspective.
When the 2015/16 Premier League season began last August, Leicester City were a club in crisis. They had narrowly avoided relegation in the previous season, sacked their manager following an internal scandal and appointed a man in charge who had recently been fired as the Greece National manager, following an embarrassing loss to the Faroe Islands.
In fact, they were 5000-1 odds of winning the Premier League in the pre-season. This was less likely than Simon Cowell becoming the next Prime Minister, Sir Alex Ferguson winning Strictly Come Dancing and Christmas Day being the hottest day of the year in the UK!
After defying all expectations and shocking the world by winning the Premier League last season, here are some key takings which are very relatable in the world of Sports Marketing.
Firstly, we have to look at the initial strategy of Manager Claudio Ranieri and his focus on “building the team around the characteristics of its players” rather than bringing in the tried and tested tactics and formations of the Premier League’s success stories.
This need for a comprehensive and all-inclusive Market Research strategy is emphasised by the background work done by the new manager in researching video footage of the entire prior season. In the ever more competitive landscape of Sports Marketing, this is reflected in the need to know your own brand values, history, USP’s, competitor landscape, targets and offering inside and out prior to bringing in established strategic approaches.
Secondly, was Leicester’s decision not to copy the old formula of ‘possession wins matches’ but instead use their Market Research and SWOT Analysis findings to focus on their strengths of: speed, passion and energy as their main weapon.
Taking into the Sports Marketing world, this can be replicated in a focus on what makes you stand out in the industry, why you are better than your competitors and how you can prove this (we call this The Hattrick Way). These strategic level questions are key to the success of any brand and so should always be asked prior to the implementation of any campaign.
Following on from the strategy level decisions, is the need to implement a set of tactics which use these answers to form the base for all campaigns to target your competitors market share, and in the case of Leicester City, Premier League points.
Leicester’s focus on closing down the opposition and counter attacking while opposition players are forward, is a prime example of using their pace, fitness and team ethic as a key tactic to reaching their strategic goals at an optimum time.
A business example of this is in using SWOT findings to establish when to attack the Market Share of competitors through aggressive discounting and when to run a promotion based on the likes of your market leading product offering rather than a price war which will ultimately drive down profit levels across the industry.
Further, Leicester City utilised the strengths of their best players, in Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez, by implementing tactics such as long ball and counter attacks to benefit from their pace and finishing skills.
As such, promoting your star products and top performers while demand is high (such as promoting Yoga classes while Yoga is extremely popular) and basing campaigns around these top sellers will give your campaigns a focal point and ensure marketing activity stands out within such a competitive field.
Finally, what Leicester have done so well is mixing their experienced players with young talent and also bringing in one of England’s hot young prospects, Damarai Gray, while they were already on top during the January transfer window to boost their squad.
Within today’s market place of ever-increasing technology from App’s and Mobile to Re-targeting and Social Media advertising, the need to follow this approach of Leicester is reflected in paying close attention to the latest opportunities and trends in staying ahead of competitors and implementing a campaign based on utilising these hot new technologies within an integrated marketing strategy.
If you need any help with your own marketing strategy and are interested in using the latest opportunities and trends to increase your market share, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with our campaign specialists at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us on 0870 609 3216