Term paper: Developing an Integrated Marketing Communication plan for AFC Bournemouth

According to the research available to the Advertiser, Bournemouth supporters may be described as male aged 25-44, white, married/living with partner and earning on average £40,881 pa. AFC Bournemouth can boast a 36% A/B and 47% C1 audience.

In terms of territory, the present marketing campaign will be targeted on the whole UK, with a focus on Bournemouth area (in accordance with geographical spread of club’s supporters presented to the Communication Agency by the Advertiser).

5. AFC Bournemouth’s Communication Strategy, Media Strategy and Message Strategy

The major goal of the communication strategy is to adapt the message and meet the needs of the brand’s target audience by communicating this message through the various media tools. The communication strategy needs to include the best marketing coverage for the brand by developing an effective marketing communications mix, to make the brand distinguishable, and to increase its competitive abilities.

It should be mentioned that the vital condition of the effective Communication Strategy is the emphasis on its long-term and integrated nature. The long time is required because some marketing objectives such as building the brand loyalty or even changing the public’s attitude may require a long time. Thus, a focus can be made on the long term marketing objectives. Communication Strategy involves the development of the effective communications plans and the use of variety of tools, techniques and media within the plan. (Hartley and Pickton1999, p. 97)

The model of the process of communication is presented in Figure 1. It demonstrates that the receiver of the information may take a different meaning that was initially planned by the sender of the information. Therefore, the Marketing Communication Strategy should be carefully planned in order to avoid such problems in encoding/decoding of the information.

Figure 1. Major elements in the communication process (Hartley and Pickton1999, p. 98)

In order to succeed the communication strategy should be planned in accordance with the integrated planning model for marketing communications shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. An integrated planning model for marketing communications (Hartley and Pickton1999, p. 99)

Considering the target audience’s preferences and the limited marketing budget, the following multiple channels may be recommended for brand’s Communication Strategy to achieve the defined marketing objectives: club’s web site, direct and context online adverting, social media and blogging, sales promotion, public relations and events, downloadable materials, and also the sponsorship of the sport columns in the local newspapers and sponsorship of the sport news on the radio stations. TV is excluded from this media mix because of the limited budget of the present marketing campaign.

Clark, Brock and Stewart (1997, p. 203) indicate that every advertisement whether print, radio, or television, exists in some context. One aspect of advertising context that is particularly unique is the mood state associated with the context. Such states are very important to advertisers, because feelings are intrinsically tied to the effectiveness of advertising. Authors note that despite the fact that consumers’ mood states may be influenced by many factors, that advertiser can’t control, mood states can be affected significantly by media messages. Therefore it’s really important to choose the right media and right communication for successful marketing promotion of AFC Bournemouth’s brand.

6. Identification of strengths and weaknesses of www.afcb.co.uk. Brand’s online and digital presence

Any big sport team has its own website and the website is a one more way to advertise the brand. It provides a point of contact with potential and existing customers. But pretty soon it gets to be more than that. The focus builds on ways for visitors to enjoy the experience and the site is used to try to build closer relationships with them.

A brand’s website is becoming much more than just a home page. Increasingly, for consumers, this is where they find a company so the Web becomes the company’s real home as much as, if not more than, its physical address. For a growing number of companies, the Web is the primary point of contact – the place where people know where to find them. It is the place where the company holds open house and where consumers know the welcome mat is always out. (Chan-Olmsted, 2002, p.42)

The significant increase of the digital media and the popularity of the online communications have resulted in the growing attention of the companies to digital marketing opportunities. The opportunities of the digital media should be used by sport organizations extensively but also wisely, depending on the specific characteristics of the brand, the marketing goals and of course the target audience preferences. The opportunities of interactivity and personalization provided by the brand’s digital presence and the advantages of digital platforms are clear now even for the management of the football clubs. They began to introduce their digital marketing innovations aiming to build a powerful digital presence. It’s clear for the biggest players in the sport industry that the brands with a strong presence in the digital world have obvious competitive advantages and are able to fight off the possible attacks of the new market entrants and also use it as an opportunity of market expansion.

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