Making the Most of Rio 2016 with your Startup Marketing Strategy

5 minutes read
John - 11.05.2016

Everyone loves a good tournament. That’s not a generalisation; the London 2012 Olympics saw close to £10 billion pumped into the UK’s economy, alongside scores of other long-term economic benefits to complement the event’s feel-good factor.

There’s also a lot of evidence out there to support the Wimbledon Effect theory, and it was widely believed that when England missed out on the European Championships in 2008, the UK lost out on upward of £2 billion. Why? Because fewer people were buying football shirts and televisions to support England in the finals.

Sounds amazing, but it’s true. Big sports events generate a lot of interest, and retailers of all shapes and sizes like to align themselves with them in order to capitalise on the public’s fervent interest. Only, not all strategies go to plan. It’s not a simple case of success by association, and a lot of brands get it spectacularly wrong when jumping on the sporting bandwagon.

Over Stateside, Marmot was accused of being homophobic in its Super Bowl ad this year, while Cadillac’s ‘Poolside’ ad during Sochi 2014 was lambasted for its aggressive message. Sometimes it’s just not meant to be, as McDonald’s found out from a huge Twitter backlash after then-mayor Boris Johnson said the company’s food was “absolutely bursting with nutrients”.

In a few months’ time, not one but two international sporting events will occupy the nation’s time: Euro 2016 and the Olympics, held in Rio. For small businesses, these represent opportunities to appeal to new online audiences, but only if they get their startup marketing strategy spot on…

Be coy with your startup marketing strategy

Startup marketing can be tricky for small businesses and SMEs to approach, especially when they’re new to the concept. That’s what makes big events like Rio so attractive; they’re so big that the eyes of the world are following them. If just a small number of those eyes catch sight of their brand, the potential long-term benefits could be incredible.

Content-wise, the theme and the angle is already there – sport. It’s not too hard to relate a business to such a common theme. It’s still a fine line to tread, though, and you have to be careful about how you promote, sell and push your message; especially for smaller brands new to startup marketing.

The above examples we’ve highlighted are from multinational, global companies. Even they get it wrong on the biggest platforms, and the encyclopaedic nature of the internet ensures that the public never forgets these mistakes.

It’s so easy to produce a cheesy campaign, especially if you have no interest in sport and want to harness events like the Olympics to give yourself a growth boost. However, getting your startup marketing campaign and message right in the concept stage can be hugely lucrative, especially if you complement it with a dash of inbound marketing.

Win gold with our startup marketing agency

Retired England second row forward Ben Kay makes a great point about sports sponsorship, especially where the Olympics are concerned. The former rugby player is now an ad agency partner, and recently told industry publication The Drum how important insight is when it comes to campaigns - and how frivolous it can be to create ads with lots of style and little substance.

This makes sense. What’s the point of having a flashy image of an athlete representing your brand in an ad if potential customers don’t engage with it and dig deeper to find out more about you? That’s a problem inbound marketing can solve, and is something we’ve used with one of our own clients – gym software specialists Membr – to help them enter new, international markets.

You need to be able to create a meaningful link between your brand and events like the Olympics in order to build an audience. This is where startup marketing can show real results. Complemented by a proper inbound strategy that includes biddable media, social marketing and other techniques, you can effectively target people that aren’t just interested in the event, but who are also likely to listen to your brand and be attracted to your offer.

A startup marketing strategy that simply jumps on trends like the Olympics can indicate to people that there’s not much beneath the surface. Profiling potential customers and creating an ad that appeals to them though, will have you standing top of the winner’s podium every time.

The times are changing, outbound is outdated and in some cases, can be potentially dangerous for your brand financially and in a reputational sense. Big fines are being handed out to serial data offenders. With inbound you can avoid this and get the best from your leads so read our blog “How to create Inbound Strategy Masterclass” for more information.

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