Football is unique, both in its power to drive thousands of people to stadia across the country (and the world) on a weekly basis, and for a commercial model that almost every non-sporting business would envy.
However, the fast-paced world of technology and increasingly sophisticated online behaviour of football fans can mean that a football club’s digital presence doesn’t always live up to its full potential.
Digital should ideally sit across a complex structure with executives, managers and those in charge of digital on the ground all contributing at various touch points. In reality, the responsibility may fall to a handful of people who are often already overseeing busy press offices and social media accounts or commercially managing the club’s retail operation, tickets, hospitality and sponsorship.
However, clubs still have core websites that need maintaining, and fan bases that need constantly engaging, informing and entertaining through them. So, what is the best approach, when the focus on digital is increased but the resource possibly modest?
1. Work together: One proactive way of doing this is an internal working group with key stakeholders (content, media, marketing and commercial). This way, everyone has an understanding of what is trying to be achieved, and everyone gets an equal voice around the table and the ability to put forward their own ideas and to represent their individual discipline.
2. Secure your digital dream team: Appraise what resources you already have and identify potential digital resource assets. This could simply be a case of joining up priorities with other teams or simply revisiting marketing, communications and digital strategies. It can work to everyone’s benefit if approached sensibly. Introduce a resourcing strategy and implement it over a 12-18 month period in line with your digital road map.
3. Include your digital agency: Present in these meetings should be your digital agency of choice. They can be invaluable in driving the agenda forward, looking at top line objectives and pulling everyone back when you digress. They can provide the expertise that you may not currently have, manage processes and offer an informed, alternative view.
Collective digital ownership needs to be at the epicentre of a club’s culture, to be integrated into everyday tasks, routines and general psyche, to ensure the best possible digital experience for your fans.