As I said in my last article, Real Madrid is one of the most recognisable brands in sport, and no club better embodies our times, when sports, business and technology are in constant flux. This is in no small part due to their social media and mobile strategies.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Pedro Duarte, Mobile Marketing Manager at Real Madrid CF, about the clubs use of mobile technology.
Real have been working with mobile technologies for around two years and aim to implement mobile as a key tool in the clubs marketing strategy. For that purpose they have created the brand “Real Madrid Mobile” which involves all of their mobile activities.
Real’s mobile strategy can be broken down into two key aims:
- Generating extra revenue for Real Madrid through the distribution of their mobile content portfolio and creation of new mobile services and products
- Building a mobile community for Real Madrid fans, and the integration of mobile into the clubs communications with the fans.
Pedro summed up the clubs strategies well when he said, “our mobile strategy aims to utilise mobile as a way not only to extend the reach of our traditional services and products, but, also to implement mobile as a useful communication tool between Real Madrid and our fans.”
Real Madrid is one of the leaders in terms of mobile technology and sports here in Europe, explains Pedro, “one of the main things that separates us from other sports organisations in terms of mobile success is that we have a department dedicated to our mobile platforms and mobile marketing – that is the main difference between Real Madrid and many other companies, some of them have digital teams, but we specialise in mobile marketing and building a mobile community for Real Madrid.”
Building a mobile community of fans is something that Real are very keen to do, as they have found that fans are very responsive to mobile communication, “mobile generates in some cases a much better response that other forms of communication, such as email and traditional letters, “We get a great response to the content we put our via our mobile channels, for example; when we win a trophy we can send out video calls to all of our mobile subscribers and once the fans respond to the call they will see a video of one of our players saying “Madridista we have won La Liga thanks very much for your support!”
“We believe this type of communication is much more personal as well, for a Real Madrid fan if you receive a call from a star playing saying thank you for your support then this is great engagement and a great way to reach out to fans.”
In September 2009 Real launched their The MyMadrid platform – a multi platform and multi language community for fans – which has already reached an impressive 150,000 downloads. “We want MyMadrid to be the single point of contact of all of our madridistas that want to enjoy the “madridista” experience through their mobile device. So far the response we have had from the fans has been great and we are very proud of the amount of downloads which the app has had.”
MyMadrid offers fans real time news, access to the clubs official Youtube channel, minute by minute game updates, real time 3D goals from matches, access to ticketing, chat and MSN services and additional mini games services.
Real also have big plans for the future of this platform. “We are now working on integrating merchandise sales into MyMadrid and implementing the Real Madrid membership content into the mobile platform as well as Real Madrid Mobile Television into it. We are also working on more premium services for fans.”
“One of these premium services is Follow Me, a real time service which allows fans to see what our players are doing. For example if you subscribe to Kaka’s follow me you will receive real time updates of what he is doing including images.”
“We are also developing some more interactive features and games which will allow fans within MyMadrid to interact with other fans, one example of this is a Penalty Kick game which we are developing – this allows MyMadrid users to connect with one another and play as either a keeper or striker during a penalty shoot out. We want MyMadrid to not only be a mobile community but we also want it to create and spark interaction amongst the users and fans.”
“We also use our mobile platform to communicate exclusive special offers and ticket availability to MyMadrid users, so if for one game we have some tickets left we can let all of our mobile fans know and offer them the opportunity to buy tickets to a game.”
“Real Madrid has also created the first Subscription Content Club Service, which allows the fans to download the latest content from the club (mobile games, photographs of the matches…) paying a weekly rate card. More than 100,000 users have subscribed to this service, showing that our supporters are keen to pay if the Club offer exclusive and premium content in real time”.
Real Madrids mobile marketing activities have also opened up new opportunities for club partners and sponsors. ”Our mobile services have built up a permission marketing database which is being used by some of the main sponsors of the Club to promote their activities. In this way, Real Madrid has created a new marketing vehicle that allows the sponsors to get in contact with their customers in a more direct way.”
“In addition to this, over these past two years the club has reached agreements with the main media partners in Spain, in which Real Madrid launches monthly SMS contests in TV and newspapers giving the fans the opportunity to win special and exclusive prizes. As an example, in 2009 Real Madrid launched a super contest that gave the fans the opportunity to win the official AUDI cars of the players, those that had been used by the stars of the squad. Entries were via SMS, and 180,000 madridistas participated in the campaign, which made it a huge success in Spain. This is one of the drivers Real Madrid uses to show the “madridista experience” to the fans, whilst also giving the Club the opportunity to generate a permission marketing data base.”
Outside of Spain the Real Madrid mobile platform is ran on a licensing /franchise model which sees Real control all content centrally with local based partners acquiring a license to distribute the clubs content. This business model has allowed the clubs mobile business to spread worldwide in a short space of time.
“In terms of mobile content we are now selling worldwide, we close exclusive agreements with local partners and they acquire our mobile license for their territory, this way of working is the best to achieve our goals and maintain contact with all our fans. Due to this business model we are now distributing content to the US, Japan, Middle East, Latin America, UK, Portugal, Israel we have just signed an agreement for South Africa.”
“So we are now reaching a worldwide fan base and giving them the latest Real Madrid content direct to their mobile. Our mobile platform also offers further exposure to our sponsors and partners, and has opened up new advertising and marketing opportunities for brands looking to reach Real Madrid fans.”
I’d like to thanks Pedro Duarte for this interview and for sharing some great insight into Real Madrid’s mobile marketing strategies.
Pedro is also speaking at the following events throughout 2010: