SBD/October 6, 2011/Events and Attractions

IMG Sports Marketing Symposium: CMOs Stress Importance Of Social Media

Wells says 24 Hour Fitness clubs utilize Facebook to disseminate information to clients
Much of the discussion in the first panel of IMG’s Sports Marketing Symposium, “Chief Marketing Officers: Navigating the Ever-changing Marketing Landscape,” focused on how to use social media as a cost-effective way to interact with consumers. Scotts Miracle-Gro CMO Jim Lyski said, “Social to me is really just about enabling word of mouth on a large scale. ... If I can figure out a way to really facilitate word-of-mouth marketing via social, that’s where it pays off for us and that’s where we start seeing the performance on the shelf in our retailers.” 24 Hour Fitness CMO Tony Wells said, “We’ll have a Facebook page for every club, and we’re really viewing that as their local newspaper. I think there’s a trend to continue to go local and make that communication very individual. For us, it’s a tool for our clubs to keep their members informed of what’s going on.” Samsung Electronics America CMO Ralph Santana said for the ’12 London Games the company will launch “a program that’s called The Genome Project.” Santana: “It’s a Facebook app that will ... literally build for you a family tree that will show you how you are connected to different Olympic athletes. ... It was grounded in this insight that people really want to know how they’re connected to the Olympic movement, but they don’t really have the means to understand what that connection may be.” Santana said to mitigate company costs, Samsung on its website has “a lot of social tools that enable consumers to talk to each other, post questions, talk to experts and literally solve their own problems. ... So instead of calling the call center, which might cost $6 to resolve an issue, typically an e-mail resolution of the same issue might cost us 10 cents or a chat room might cost us up to 50 cents.”

I'LL HAVE MY PEOPLE CALL YOUR PEOPLE: The executives also talked about the value of using a sports agency. Santana: “There are three criteria: its insights, ideas and executions. So can you deliver the insights? If you can then you’re a valued agency. Can you translate that into an idea? Then ultimately, how do you execute it?” Lyski: “The primary reason we use them is because I’m not going to be able to develop and grow a talent base that can come anywhere close to what I’m doing with Wasserman (Media Group). So we use them for strategy and then actual event execution.” Lyski spoke of how the goals for using sports branding and social media are identical. Lyski: “You pick the sports that are going to flesh the brand out in a more personal way with an end consumer, and that’s the way we’re leveraging the social vehicles.”

See a full agenda for the conference, and get highlights and updates from the sessions via SBJ/SBD's running blog and Twitter feed.
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