SBD/October 5, 2012/Events and Attractions

Sports Marketing Symposium: Xfinity's Subtle Approach To Social Media Marketing

To establish a presence in the sports social media space, Comcast launched a contest to become the voice of Xfinity. Comcast Dir of Digital & Sports Marketing Strategy Matt Lederer explained that they wanted to reach consumers on social media in a subtle way, without shoving the product in their face. He said that everything they execute through the social media strategy goes back to three objectives: to change perceptions, drive product sales and keep a consistent message platform. The winner of the contest, Austin Schindel, then shared what it was like to make the plan a reality and boost Xfinity's Twitter account to more than 8,000 followers, while also seeing his efforts indirectly cause an upshift in sales.

QUICK HITS:

-- Lederer, on the company’s key objectives: “I’m a big believer that anything we do in sports marketing must tie back to our objectives. There’s just too much fun and cool stuff that we can do in sports marketing that would allow us to go off the track and deviate from what we want to accomplish.”

-- On the beginning stages of launching a social media strategy: “We have tons of messages out there, tons of tactics. In the area of sports, I had a fear that we would start crafting different messages because of the subjectivity of sports. We always want to have a consistent message platform. Social media scared me in that way. “

-- On branding the NFL RedZone: “I remember watching that first Sunday it was on, and my only thought was, ‘Please don’t suck.’ And if you have it, you know it doesn’t. But the name NFL RedZone does it a disservice. It’s so much more than plays that occur in the red zone. But how are we going to get that message out there? Where to do it? Social media. The next day Facebook and Twitter blew up. “

-- On recognizing the need for social media: “Yes, our competitors and peers are active in social media, but none specifically are dedicated to sports. So we felt there was a competitive void that we could fill.”

-- Schindel, on considering himself an ambassador: “While I’m a person, I have to represent a brand. And believe it or not, my opinion doesn’t matter and nobody wants to hear my opinion. Because as a brand I have to make sure I’m talking about our services, while at the same time still seeming like a real person.”

-- Schindel, on the sports social media story he will be following in the next year: “There’s millions of people on Twitter, but not all athletes are on Twitter. Tom Brady is not on Twitter. Peyton Manning is not on Twitter. But guys in high school are now on Twitter, guys who are the No. 1 recruits … which creates incredible problems for universities. They’re trying to create brands for themselves, as one-and-done players, yet they can’t because they don’t want to get in trouble.”
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