What happens when you combine a sport that millions of people are passionate about, with a marketing tactic that is out of this world?
You get what has become one of the most defining sporting events in India in the past decade!
The Indian Premier League (IPL) started with a blast, and 10 years later, it continues to reign supreme – in TRP ratings and viewership. The franchise is synonymous with huge brands and big stars, and the money exchanged is billions (Star Sports bought television rights to IPL last year for a staggering $2.55 billion dollars, an equivalent of Rs 16,347 crores).
So why exactly does IPL attract all the big guns and the money? Are there lessons to learn for us in marketing?
Fortunately the answer is YES! So let’s dive straight in (pun intended).
No need to reinvent the wheel
Did the IPL invent the game of cricket? No. Did it invent the twenty-twenty format of the game? No. Did it introduce the concept of franchising of teams, combining local players with international players, or using cheerleaders to grab eyeballs? Definitely not! So what then did the IPL do?
If you guessed, mixing ideas from successful sporting competitions across the globe to form a potent combination, then pat yourself on the back.
Good marketing doesn’t always have to begin with a unique idea. What’s more important is better understanding of your customer. A seasoned digital marketer keeps a keen eye on his audience, and turns his data into strategies that will work uniquely for his mix.
Go big or go home
The word synonymous with IPL is ‘Big’, whether it’s the stature of players, the sponsorship fees or the marketing budget. The folks at IPL like to keep it big, and lucky for us, we can take a leaf out of their pages for our own marketing efforts.
Remember, starting small is not a crime, but staying small is.
When it comes to content, thinking big is usually associated with virality, and making content go viral is about tugging the right emotions. According to Marketing guru, Neil Patel, this can be achieved in 3 ways.
- Research the web to see what topics in your space are gaining virality, and then create better versions of those topics, instead of creating entirely new ones.
- Once you’ve done all the hard work of researching and writing, promote. Use the 80:20 rule of content marketing which says, 80% of your efforts in creating content must be utilised in promotions, while the remaining 20% must be used for content creation.
- Lastly, be consistent with your content and release more and more fresh content, that’s high on quality.
Don’t please everyone
Even though the IPL introduced Indians to a whole new format of their favourite game and became an instant bestseller, there were still puritans who discredited the franchise. Cricket pundits claimed the game was pulling away the attention from test matches and one day internationals, and many opposed to international players hogging all the limelight.
The IPL was garnering attention far more for the controversies than for the quality of cricket involved, and this had some experts worried. But did all the bad press and criticism stop the organizers from going bigger with the game? No.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to marketing, and you certainly can’t please every customer. It is thus advisable to define a target audience, one that is tightly aligned to your brand’s ethos, values and emotions, than to cast a net that’s wide, thin and not meant for everyone.
Listen to the market
We are leaving you with one last snippet of wisdom that can be picked up from the IPL franchise.
The creators have always been receptive to feedback, and fine-tuned the series incorporating any change they felt would increase their viewership. Whether it is scheduling the matches in the evenings so that people can watch after office hours or introducing innovative photography techniques, the IPL always gave viewers more of what they wanted.
‘Customer is king’ is an adage that will be repeated time and time again in marketing, because simply put, without customers there is no business.
Incorporate consumer feedback into your daily marketing efforts and always be on the lookout for more. Give the consumer what they want, and rest assured, that they will return the favour.
There you go. Those are 4 little snippets of wisdom that every digital marketer can learn from the IPL franchise. Incorporate these learnings into your daily marketing efforts and watch your engagement ratings skyrocket.
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Sometime ago, Richard Thaler won the nobel prize for his contributions to behavioral economics. His book ‘Nudge’ talks about why people do what they do when spending money.
It’s not often that we can implement research by a Nobel Prize winner in our marketing strategy, but this one was too good to let go.
Research on behavioral science opens a window into a consumer’s mind, making us witness the thought process that made us buy those pair of skis, which we didn’t need in the first place (because it’s July and, do you even ski)?
Typically, we think we know what our consumer wants and we approach our marketing strategy accordingly. But do we really know what they’re thinking before they buy our product? If we did, we could even successfully sell a pair of skis to a non-skier consumer, during summer!
Here are 5 behavioral science principles that could help bring in more prospects.
#1. Less is More.
Research says that the amount of information a person can hold in working memory is four to five elements at a time.
Research also shows that people rely on unconscious processing and first impressions. To add to that, the first impressions are usually based on aesthetics.
This means, you can afford to cut back on information by limiting it to four or five words or sentences. (PS: that doesn’t mean you cut back on impact). This process is called Chunking.
Chunking: An approach for making more efficient use of short-term memory by grouping information.
Here’s a one line-story that made use of effective chunking, yet retaining impact.
Advertising in the digital media can be tough because people aren’t looking for ads, let alone your ad. But if you did manage to get their attention, make sure your content isn’t bloated with too much information. Further details on your product can be linked with a post.
#2. Don’t Confuse them with choices.
Research says that the presence of too many choices leads to either unhappiness, decision fatigue, going with the default option or deferral – which is the customer walking away from it altogether.
May it be an emailer, or social media post containing products you’re selling, just a few of the best products, or the ones that are trending, can be displayed. If these are appealing enough, your consumer can visit your main product page for more.
E-commerce giant Amazon is a good example for this strategy. It makes use of a clean display that avoids cluttering, confusion and too many choices.
#3. Create an impulsive shopper.
“The combination of loss aversion with mindless choosing implies that if an option is designated as the ‘default,’ it will attract a large market share. Default options thus act as powerful nudges.”
-Richard Thaler, author of ‘Nudge’
On the idea that we humans hate to miss out on things, it is pretty easy to make the consumer believe he wants something. By flashing time sensitive deals and using phrases like ‘while stocks last’, ‘sale ends at 5PM’ or ‘24 hours flash sale’, consumers will have very little time to rationalise.
Also by showcasing products that only have ‘few pieces left’ brings a sense of urgency, leading to impulsive buying.
#4. Make content disfluent.
Making content or matter that is disfluent, makes the person spend a bit more time trying to understand the matter, making it last longer in their memory.
We may think the age old idea of keeping matter easier for the audience to understand might get their attention. But the thing is, you already got their attention, and they might have understood your ‘easy’ content, but would they remember it?
The trick is to challenge them. Or better, let them challenge themselves.
When people see a word or point of matter they can’t comprehend easily, they tend to ponder around it, which is basic human instinct. Our mind tends to wander towards new or unfamiliar elements merely out of curiosity.
Disfluency causes people to process information at a deeper level, making the information more ‘memorable’.
#5. Personalisation rules hearts.
Behavioral science research shows that, in a world awash with generic content, personalisation makes us pay more attention to advertising messages that change behavior. The brain is also drawn to any information that triggers an emotion, be it negative or positive.
Also, the Jivox Benchmark report from 2016 shows that interaction increases significantly by adding geographic and time cues.
Relatability in content and marketing is quite hard because you have to put out a strategy that would hit everyone and still be relatable.
A marketing strategy which is interactive with the audience you’re attracting is the first and easiest way to their heart, and that can be achieved by relatability.
With personalisation, you will be targeting a smaller audience, but you will have undivided attention of the majority from that zone. It’s the kind of personal approach consumers would get drawn into.
Personalisation in content and marketing can also mean quizzes and tests, where the audience can take a quiz to know how much they’re updated on a particular affair, trend or field.
It may seem like behavioral science and digital marketing are worlds apart. They might be, but with the few tips mentioned here, you might just be able to get a bit closer to your buyers’ thought patterns, so as to let you plan your digital strategy more effectively.