Tag Archives: soccer

Email Strategy for Soccer Fans

As I’ve written before, I volunteer as a referee in my kids’ soccer league.  Since I’m a pretty garbage referee, I like to add value by helping them communicate more clearly with the high volume of email they send out.  Since my fellow volunteers understand soccer well and email not-so-well, I thought I’d prepare this quick course in email strategy for them based on my admittedly limited soccer knowledge.

That’s my daughter.  If she were a SPAM blocker, there would be no such thing as SPAM.

We’re talking about community mailings, not a profit-seeking email marketing campaign.  However, the basics remain broadly the same.

First, think about goals.  Duh.

Just as soccer has a literal goal, community emails need to have a goal, too.  “Keeping the community informed” doesn’t give the email sender much of a clear goal.  Informed about what, exactly?  However, a goal such as “keeping the games civil” or “ensuring that games are safe, fun and fair” give the sender a better idea of what she needs to accomplish.  In my case, the league asked me to help them recruit more volunteers to the referee training class.  In soccer terms, that gives me a clear shot on goal.

No goals on Simon’s watch, either

Subject lines are like passes: have a target in mind

Once kids graduate from “swarmball,” passing the ball becomes a focus for coaches.  However, when they start passing, most kids just kick the ball in the general direction of the opposing goal.  Half the time, an opposing player will end up with it.

As with passes, subject lines need to have a target in mind.  Think of them as the opening of an offensive play.  Just as a midfielder would think about the positions of the players on the pitch, the email sender needs to think about where the recipients of the email are.

In my case of encouraging referee participation, I knew the email was going to parents who had expressed interest in volunteering as a referee, not simply every parent in the league.  As a result, I recommended a subject line of “Take the referee class so that no player has to miss a game.”  Poetry?  Not by a goal kick.  However, it does get the point across to a bunch of busy parents.

 

Hail to the Redskins!  I mean, nice pass, Leah!

Teamwork over star power

In the recreational league where I volunteer, each team usually has one athlete who plays head-and-shoulders above the others.  Once the other kids get ahold of passing, team offense usually consists of passing the ball to this star and letting her take a shot on goal.  Usually, the star roams the whole field, goal line to goal line, touchline to touchline.  However, once the opposing teams learn how to neutralize or isolate the star, her team suffers.

Just as a team can’t rely on a one player, the league shouldn’t rely on one email.  Over time, I’ve noted a tendency of volunteer-led organizations to stuff too much information into one email, such as asking for volunteers to bring the team snack, reminding parents to show up on time and to announce the date of picture day.

Instead of expecting one email to do it all, space out more focused emails and let each do its job.

Fortunately for Simon, someone got the snack memo

In the case of my referee class email, we had a goal narrow enough that we didn’t run a risk of overloading it with information.  However, we will need to plan run-of-the-mill emails sent during the course of the season around individual goals rather than as catch-alls.

So, in email as in soccer: keep your goal in mind, have a target for your passes and teamwork makes the dream work.  However, in email, you’re allowed to use your hands.  Play on.

More Lessons from the Stripe Life

A while ago, I shared some things about marketing that I’ve learned refereeing my kids’ soccer matches.  I wanted to add one more: how and why to spread the work across multiple channels and campaigns.

Soccer pitch with referee running routes; also candidate for a really cool flag

See that big orange S-shape in the middle of the pitch?  That’s roughly the route that the center referee (CR)–the boss on the pitch–runs during a match.  Those red and blue lines that each follow half the sides of the pitch?  That’s where the assistant referees (ARs, formerly known as linesmen) run.  This setup gives the officials reverse angles of play on either end of the pitch.

Last weekend, I worked as an AR with a CR who simply ran along one side of the field, the same one I was on.  Thus, during any play on my end of the pitch, the CR and I had either the same view or, worse, she blocked mine.

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Marketing Lessons from Referee Dad

As some of you know, I spend my weekends yelling at children, some of whom are my own, while pointing excitedly and wearing polyester.

Don’t laugh.  I will red card you into the stone age.

I think I’ve learned a few things as a youth soccer referee that translate nicely into marketing strategy.

Everyone has the potential to be great

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Facing an Army Of Steamrollers

My beloved New York Times ran an article today about Germany’s national soccer museum in Dortmund that focused on how the museum holds up a mirror to Germany itself:

Any soccer fan — in fact, almost any German — will tell you that the moment the country first felt able to return with dignity to the international arena after the evil of Nazism came with what is known here as “the miracle of Bern,” the 3-2 victory in Switzerland over favored Hungary to win the World Cup in 1954…

…But the museum does not shy from Germany’s past. The national team of 1941 is seen giving the Nazi salute before a game in Sweden. An infamous 1944 propaganda film runs, showing Jewish inmates at the Nazis’ Theresienstadt camp near Prague playing soccer and ostensibly enjoying a relaxed life. (In reality, most were about to be shipped to Auschwitz.)

The German Football Association’s ban on women’s soccer from 1955 to 1970 is also related in detail — as are the considerable achievements of Germany’s female soccer team since.

I’d like to argue that while the Cooperstown Hall of Fame may not hold up a mirror to America, baseball certainly does and that, perhaps, explains why Major League Baseball’s brand has lost some of its shine.

This image was decidedly not approved by Major League Baseball or its affiliates

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It’s Like When Your Grandma Got Email

Do you remember when your Grandma got on email?

I remember because I got a call from mine.  She said “I just sent you an email!”

In other words, her understanding of the technology resembled an email I got from AYSO, the youth soccer overlords here in the soccer-ambivalent US of A:

 

Screenshot 2016-04-30 11.38.14

My semi-communist Grandma would have spit out her martini over the date

I miss my grandmother dearly, but I don’t miss her ignorance of how digital communications work.

AYSO, let me break it down for you.

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It’s Not a Car Show: It’s Speed Dating for Brands

Once again, I accompanied my research assistants to the New York International Auto Show (#NYAIS) with an eye on evaluating the event as marketing.  Although I didn’t see any new exhibits that made me think differently about any given brand, I did recognize a hidden value of the show: speed dating for brands.

NYIAS Retro: Read My Posts from last year’s show

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

With over one million visitors, all of whom seem to want to slide behind the wheel of the same Corvette that you do, NYIAS has no room for subtlety.  In my personal case, my research assistants made sure that I had even less time to decide whether to visit a booth.

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My research assistants couldn’t even agree on which booth to knock over first

As a result, I started to see the similarities between the show and speed dating (as least as I’ve seen it in the movies; I last dated in the Cretaceous Era).

  • The room has a lot of potential matches who start to look alike after awhile
  • Everyone is trying his or her darndest
  • You always suspect there’s someone better for you…somewhere

So, let me point out the brands that would have merited a second date, at least with me (disclosure: I have not been on a second date since 2001, so YMMV) and why I liked them.

Ford Cars: My Kids Liked Her

The closest thing I saw to a home run was (mixed metaphor alert): Ford’s partnership with the New York City Football Club of Major League Soccer. Continue reading

And This, Kids, is Why You Test Offers

If you read my blog regularly, you know I strongly and frequently recommend testing.  I make the case that testing improves response by showing you what your audience responds to and what they don’t.  Sometimes, marketers get lost in the finer points and what, frankly, often amounts to a few percentage points.

Then, there’s this:

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Just what every dad wants for his daughter: a sport so obviously detrimental to her health that a first-aid kit serves as a throw-in for an order.

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