As Wimbledon begins, so too does its online marketing campaign.
But industries that don’t live and breathe internet marketing aren’t always caught up on the latest trends and strategies.
So how does the Wimbledon fare in the world of online marketing? Is it keeping up with the times and the trends? Or is it relying on name alone to maintain viewership?
In this article, we’ll explore the answers to those questions by exploring the Wimbledon’s marketing strategy on the major trends that define marketing in 2015: mobile, social, and video.
Wimbledon Begins Its Foray Into Online Marketing
Like every other major sporting industry, from NBA to golf, Wimbledon is moving forward with its online marketing strategy.
But how well is it keeping up with the major industry trends?
Let’s find out.
Every online marketer knows that mobile has been one of the leading technology and online marketing trends for the past several years.
Wimbledon apparently knows this too, having partnered with IBM to create mobile apps that offer:
- Live scores and live blogging
- Player information
- Player alerts
And the iPad version of the app also contains some features that are leaning towards AR and VR trends, such as 360-degree panoramas and videos, as well as live time-lapse cameras.
Today’s sports fan is online, all the time. Streaming and on-demand video have made companies like Netflix and YouTube such enormous successes. Other major tech companies, from Twitter to Instagram, are following suit by adding video platforms to their social services.
Sports fans are gradually moving towards this online streaming model. The challenge for sports companies has historically been monetization, since only 9% of sports fans want to pay for what they see.
Regardless, Wimbledon is plunging forward with its video plan.
On June 29th, Wimbledon will begin offering online video through its “Live @ Wimbledon Video” portal. Keeping up with the times and the trends, Wimbledon recognizes the need to keep the tech-savvy viewer in touch at all times.
Perhaps one of the biggest advances in technology came with Wimbledon’s use of social media, by partnering with IBM on a project called Wimbledon Insights. In 2013, IBM introduced a “social sentiment tracking system,” which measures the volume and geographic origin of tweets, measured whether tweets about players were mostly positive or mostly negative, and so on.
This data could then be correlated in real-time and linked to match play, demonstrating fan sentiment. This correlation was then updated and displayed on live feeds on the IBM Wimbledon Leaderboard, and the top players were rewarded with 3D-printed souvenir trophies.
IBM’s goal with this technology was to demonstrate how real-time data analytics can benefit businesses by allowing them to make more insightful decisions and deliver more added value based on customer sentiment.
And in 2014, Wimbledon continued its social media partnership with IBM. Not only did the sporting events offer updates and coverage through its own social media accounts, it promoted user-generated content. Fans’ tweets, pictures, and votes, for example, appeared on the big screens on Henman Hill.
Wimbledon further engaged fans by encouraging them to participate in match-based questions on social media, then compare their answers to audiences watching from home. Gamification was also part of the plan last year: fans who tweeted hashtags at certain times received digital prizes, such as personalized photos of players.
IBM helped Wimbledon pilot their Social Command Centre last year. IBM’s Softlayer crunched social data, such as fans’ responses to the games and questions, to add insights to the social media conversations happening at home and at the court.
Wimbledon Begins in 2015
Details of this year’s marketing plan have yet to be revealed, but Wimbledon continues to partner with IBM and will continue to push the boundaries of social media and digital marketing.
Earlier in June, Wimbledon and IBM hosted a hackathon, which gathered developers, designers, and entrepreneurs from around the UK. A press release from the Wimbledon team claimed that “the focus for 2015 is the redesign and redevelopment of Wimbledon.com.”
The website, they stated, is responsive across all platforms, allowing viewers to follow Wimbledon “wherever they are, and on any device.”
The Evolution of Online Marketing and Sports
Despite the fact that sports is an established industry that has been around much longer than digital technology, many industries are clearly pushing the boundaries of technology. The U.S. Open, for instance, is making use of advanced video technology, drones, and virtual reality to create a stellar experience for fans.
And Wimbledon, with the help of IBM, has clearly placed its emphasis on omnichannel compatibility, social media, analytics, and big data insight. As Wimbledon begins this year, we can certainly expect to see more on the social media and analytics front.
This type of analysis can certainly give Wimbledon an edge when it comes to finding out what their fans like and want.