Mailbag: How does marketing an esports brand differ from a football club?
As I promised in my original mailbag-post, I am going to answer almost any question you put me to, and the first one was posted by the brilliant @saadsawar, CEO of Level99 (a kick-ass esports agency).
Saad’s question was:
How does marketing an esports team/brand differ to that of a club like FC Copenhagen
Before going in too deep, I have to point out that while I at times work with people from F.C. Copenhagen, I am not privy to their core strategy or business goals. With that said however, I have a good grasp of what they do and why, so with that out of the way, let’s get into it.
Tangible versus intangible assets
The first order of business in any marketing analysis, is to figure out what product we’re actually trying to market. And this is where the root cause for most of the differences between North and F.C. Copenhagen is found — in the actual product.
Overall one might differentiate between the two companies, by the amount of tangible vs intangible assets that they have in their product portfolio.
It ought to be noted, that a some of the tangible products that F.C. Copenhagen have on offer, are also in development or on the to-do list for North. It however goes to show that the upside of having a stadium of 36,000 capacity that is being used 2–3 times per month during the season, brings a lot of tangible assets with it.
On the other hand the intangible asset list looks like this:
*F.C. Copenhagen’s content-marketing partnerships are usually inherented from a sale of a tangible asset.
** International thought leadership refers to the amount of media and press coverage that North receives in and around the industry
The differences lies in the funnel
As might be obvious from the two lists above, F.C. Copenhagen is a lot more reliant on their tangible assets than North is. That truth creates a very different scope for the way your marketing strategy is effecutated.
An example: Whenever F.C. Copenhagen sells a product, it is with 99% chance a tangible product. Whether it’s a piece of merchandise, a sponsorship or a hotdog, the person buying it, the person selling it and the person receiving the outcome of that transaction, is in the same physical space.
With North, it’s exactly the opposite. In most cases, everything we sell is intangible — or at the very least it is sold through intangible means.
The derived effect of that, is that F.C. Copenhagen is trying ferociously to drive people down a physical sales-funnel, because their conversions happens mostly in a physical space. The equation is strikingly simple: The more people that attends games, the more people are exposed to the sponsorships, and the more people will buy food and beverage.
North is very different. We do not partially own the tournaments we participate in, we have no stadium where we meet our fans every second week, and while we have a physical and local root, it has not been culturally cultivated over a hundred years.
North’s sales-funnel starts and stops online (at least for now), which makes for a very different branding and marketing exercise.
Using content to drive business goals
The effects of these differences in product and sales-funnel, reveals themselves upon a closer look at what North is creating, and what means we are trying to utilize.
Whereas F.C. Copenhagen create content as a means of updating their fanbase, and keeping them interested in attending games, North must create content to let fans discover and meet the team. That difference is most apparent in the way our content is always used to drive business goals.
I think ROAR, our monthly documentary, is the perfect example of just that. In F.C. Copenhagen a project like this would be thought of as a branding- or even PR-opportunity, and subsequently shelved for when a partner would help realize it.
In North the content we produce is always with a dual goal — we have to be branding and marketing the organization, but we need to do so through products that could be commercialized.
The focus on being able to do both, while also having very few tangible assets, means that North needs to be on the forefront of the development (this is probably true through all of esports). It does not mean that F.C. Copenhagen are completely lost however, because their focus on driving customers down their sales-funnel, means that we have an incredible opportunity to learn from them. The way they use business-intelligence is far ahead of all but a very select few esports-organizations, and I reckon that both parties have already learned a lot from each other.
Originally published at phedemark.me on January 9, 2019.