Marketing strategy is a process or model which allows a company or an organization to focus limited resources on the best opportunities to increase sales and there by achieve a competitive advantage. An effective marketing strategy helps to define the vision, mission and business goals and outlines the steps to be followed to achieve these goals. Your strategy should articulate how you are going to deliver your products or services in ways that will satisfy your customers. Marketing strategy is a way to make sure that you are getting the maximum output from the limited marketing time and budget.
“AT UNITED, WE STRIVE FOR PERFECTION. AND IF WE FAIL, THEN WE MIGHT JUST HAVE TO SETTLE FOR EXCELLENCE.” SIR MATT BUSBY
Understanding about marketing strategy and plans lets consider the case of the world’s well known Manchester United Football Club. The UK based club has managed to enthrall the world not just with its success on field but also with the different array of sponsors associated with the club. As of today the club has 70 major brands associated with it which contribute to a major chunk of the revenue generated.This has resulted in a 30.5% compound annual growth rate in sponsorship revenue from fiscal year 2013 through fiscal year 2015 (the growth rate from fiscal year 2013 to fiscal year 2014 was 49.4% and from fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2015 was 14.0%). During fiscal year 2015 the club announced five global sponsorship partnerships, four regional sponsorship partnerships and two financial services and telecom agreements.
The Marketing strategy for this club has been pretty simple and straight forward as sponsors have a plethora of star players at their disposal to improve brand reach. The club visited American Continent in 2015-16 season and had their Kit launch done there which resulted in improved revenue from merchandise sales. The largely untapped Asian Continent was the place for kit launch in 2016-17. There are numerous ambassadors of the club who travel to different parts of the globe to engage in commercial activities which eventually result in revenue for the club.
The club has had 38 Nationalities represent them till date and this has given them a foothold in getting sponsors from these regions making efforts to be associated with the club. From having star players endorse Ceat Tyres in India, Nissin Noodles in Japan, Singha in Thailand, Aperol Spiritz in Italy and Gulf Oil, Adidas and many other brands accross the globe.The social media engagements with fans and sponsors alike has been well taken care of.
The club uses a ‘Focused’ approach as the cornerstone of their marketing strategy and plans. The results on field notwithstanding it is the consistency in ideology and ethos of the Organisation that has made them a giant in the Sporting Industry.
The marketing environment in the sporting industry is fiercely competitive with sponsors having a wide array of options to choose from. But in spite of this Manchester United has been successfully renewing existing contracts and also getting new deals due to the sheer tactical acumen of the clubs focused approach. The revenue generation by means of all the sponsorship deals, ticketing and merchandising , memberships for fans has resulted in the economic aspect of the club to keep growing. The fans have been kept as a major stakeholder in marketing strategy and keeping them appeased year after year has been the cornerstone of financial success. Technology has been well used by having a dedicated channel subscriptions for fans to watch their stars in action and having regular interactions through social media forums like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
The Strengths with this organisation is its positive and well structured engagement with all the stakeholder s alike. The performances on field have a major affect in any teams fortunes but this Club has garnered record revenues even after a worst season. The clubs poor performances on field would be classified as the Weakness in our analysis. The Opportunities are countless with improved marketing in the untapped locations and with the social media reach the organisation can easily cross the 100 mark in the Sponsors column associated with it. The threats associated would be any other organisation offering better engagements to the sponsors and building a dedicated fan base by on field performances and fan interactions.
The foundations of the marketing strategy are so strong and in depth that no matter a season or two of under achieving success the club still makes it into the top 3 sporting brands year after year.
Mohammad Riswan Asharaf