Marketing is no longer about creating a product, the way we market is the product.

Every single interaction from our fans with our brand matters, being football just a secondary detail in many cases.

And, as our next guest explains, we are facing a mindset challenge. Thinking different to allow us stay relevant and profitable in a more competed sport.

Carmen Acebes, a sports marketing and communication executive with over 20 years of experience working in an international sports agency and sport entities, provided a privileged perspective about where we come from and where we are heading. Among her projects and clients, we can find WWP, Atlético de Madrid, FC Barcelona, F1, FIBA, Portuguese League, MotoGP, Audi, BMW or Cepsa.

Strong believer of the real opportunity for growth that agencies offer, Carmen also teaches sports marketing at different business schools and seeks to help building a more inclusive and diverse industry.

During the interview, we discussed about the rise of women’s football, the commercial disruption in sports and personal lessons about her projects and for career development, among other topics.

Here are the main takeaways from Carmen’s insights:

  • Social or nothing. The acceleration into both the digital ecosystem and more human objectives has become a must for sports properties. Any different approach will differ from where society evolves towards. And, being social doesn’t mean not being profitable, quite the contrary.
  • Digital as ‘new normal’. Within sponsorship proposals, digital assets have moved from specific activation areas to becoming central elements of partnership proposals. Besides, new and specific KPI’s are being implemented to measure content engagement or social media monetization.
  • First, mindset. Aligning stakeholders’ teams and partners to the existing challenges and potential revenue streams is now essential to build sustainable value propositions. Reactive decisions lacking the right strategy in the current context will just leave more room for growth to competitors.
  • Women’s football ROI. In comparison to sports such as men’s football, the women’s game delivers a less crowded commercial landscape, strengthening each brand impact and therefore the value of women’s football as a product. Being the first, also in specific market categories, matters more than ever.
  • Sales are relationships. Simple but not easy. In a market with many agencies and external teams ready to add value, proactively presenting new business opportunities with empathy, flexibility and creativity is just the starting point. It is no longer about supplying demand but to become a trustworthy team player.
  • Wanda Metropolitano. Managing the transition to the new stadium upgrading the presence of sponsors, across many areas like TV exposure, hospitality, branding or digital, while integrating them accordingly to the new clubs brand identity and image, proved to be a real “commercial engineering” challenge.

Remaining optimistic and flexible, according to Carmen, helps us to stay resilient in front of the challenges that any professional career entails. Among her top book recommendations, she recalled “Originals”, written by Adam H. Grant.

In the following link, the full interview with Carmen, in Spanish, to reflect about the tools and insights necessary to thrive in a changing sports and football industry:

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