Who Will Win the World Cup? Marketers.

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Tonight, the United States will take the pitch and begin its quest to win the World Cup. Though which of the 32 teams will claim the title is in doubt, one group already knows they’ve won.

World Cup 2014 Marketing

Brands have invested a lot of money to sponsor the World Cup and get their products in front of 3.2 billion fans, an audience roughly 30 times larger than the Super Bowl. For $75 million, brands like Coca-Cola, Nestle, AmBev and Hyundai purchased 1,120 “video insertions” from Globo, the Brazilian TV station showing all 64 games.

It’s easy to say that it’s money well spent because half the world will tune into the games, but that’s not the only reason. Sports and other live events are marketing gold mines, especially as other entertainment has become on-demand.

“It’s hard to get people off the couch,” said Jeff Bliss, the senior VP of partnerships for DC2024, at Demand Success 2014.

“Passionate fans become passionate customers,” he says. “If you want to reach a consumer, there’s really not a better way than to use digital media and the power of a big bang event.”

Tapping into that passion becomes more important as digital efforts have cluttered the Internet super highway. Combining digital, mobile and a big event, though, can help you stand out, Jeff says. He notes that Visa spent about 40 percent of its Sochi budget on digital marketing.

Of course, not every brand can afford to do official World Cup marketing, but even smaller events can pay big dividends. Chris Brogan points out that Reebok has done well for itself by marketing to the fanatical runners of Spartan Races.

Coca Cola - World Cup Marketing

The key, like with any sports or events marketing initiative, is to find an event, athlete or team that fits with your business in terms of shared demographic, culture or inherent message, Jeff says.

Here’s a few quick tips from Jeff for how to do marketing with events:

  • Identify marketing objectives and budget.
  • Do your homework to target the right event for your business.
  • Leverage every asset and resource.
  • Assemble the right team with the right skills.
  • Understand customers’ passion and create content that draws on that.
  • Build contingency plans. The unscripted nature of sports can throw a wrench into your plans.

One concern that may come to mind in terms of partnering with athletic events is whether the strategy has a long-tail effect and there’s good reason for that. The Super Bowl lasts about two weeks from the end of the conference championships to the main event. The Olympics and the World Cup have about a month’s worth of games.

However, Jeff argues that long-tail strategies are no longer as effective as they once were.

“You need big bangs, big hits to make a dent,” Jeff says. “If we have a big enough event and enough passionate fans interested in that event, it’s a great opportunity for those fans to reach out and draw them in.

“Once you find out what they’re tied into, their loyalty is beyond belief.”

Want to read more great ideas from Demand Success? Click here!

Image: Celso FLORESMike Mozart (Creative Commons)

About Brian Conlin

Brian Conlin is a content marketing manager for Cision. A former journalist, he enjoys researching and developing accessible content. When not writing, you will find him watching baseball and college basketball, sampling craft beer and enjoying Baltimore. Find him on Twitter @BrianConlin13.

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