Does your football club have supporters’ branches? It is possible that, that is the reason why your support base is not growing.
Yes, it may sound cruel but it is true. Those supporters’ branches that you keep opening could be one of the reasons why your support base is not growing because they make you abdicate your primary responsibilities of marketing to and engaging fans.
Branches are the Most Common Football Marketing Method in South Africa
In South Africa hardly a month passes without you hearing a football club talking about this or that supporters’ branch being opened up. But, in most cases it is a feel good trap for the marketers of these clubs and that is as far as it goes.
It all starts with a few, possibly ten to twenty fans of a certain club in a certain locality coming together and think that the best way they can help the club is to set up a supporters’ branch. They communicate this wish to the club headquarters, that often dispatches an official to officiate at the launching of the branch or possibly send approval. These supporters’ branches are supposed to be a marketing tool, a link between the club and the grass root support base. The problem with these branches is that:
Why Branches Do Not Work
The fans running these branches are never trained and often lack mobilization capability. The first contact with club is often the last.
People in branches are often engaged in their own day to day battle to survive economically to devote ample time to the task of growing a fan base or even engage existing fans. Sporadic meeting just result in sporadic results.
Often the club marketers forsake everything else they should have done, in the hope that the branches will do the marketing on their behalf. Empty stadiums are a testimony that supporter branches do not work.
Most of these supporters’ branches are scattered all around the country and therefore have no impact on the stadiums, it is economically and practically not possible for them to make it to games.
What Has To Be Done
Football is an emotional game. If you want to deepen your relationship with your supporters then you have to put in place a one on one relationship with them. Have a database of all your supporters paid up and unpaid up. Then utilize the technology (sms, email, websites, networking sites, printed material) that is widely available to create and deepen this one on one relationship. Supporters’ branches would be useful if they can help you reach those supporters that can not be reached technologically. The feeling that you care about fans individually is what is going to make them more loyal and more responsive to your marketing message.
The country wide spread of loosely organised supporters’ branches is also not very useful. That is as to why your home games are characterised by empty stadiums. Focus on your primary home community (where you play home games). Have as many community projects here as possible. This deepens your relationship with them and grows your fan base exponentially in a place where it matters most, home turf. These are the people you want most, because they are within close proximity to your home games.
This website is built for the benefit of football. The thinking behind it is that if football understands that the currency that runs football is fans then the game will be able to lure untold success. Players will be able to succeed economically right in their home countries.
If you know a club, organisation or any person who would find this work useful please past it on.