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

Social media strategy development is crucial for digital marketing campaign effectiveness, because as it was mentioned above, the target audience is very active, it likes exploring new things, including sport events. The social media provide the excellent opportunity of direct communication with the customer and this is their major difference from the traditional media what are able to build the coverage of the target audience but provide a little of interaction and involvement opportunities.

The social media space may be used much more creatively an experimentally than any other media and it also very cost effective (this kind of communication will cost nothing for AFC Bournemouth). McStay (2010, p. 37) claims that creativity in digital media is slightly different from creativity found in other spheres due to the constraints of marketing objectives and other factors. Therefore, AFC Bournemouth may be recommended to concentrate their digital marketing efforts on social media.

AFC Bournemouth already has Facebook page, but the amount of the loyal followers isn’t large (less than 500). The content of its
Facebook page isn’t engaging and involving into the football experience, therefore a company should pay attention to this aspect of online presence and create nice Facebook page for its fans.

Another interesting option may be starting a team’s blog or a Twitter account. These tools are tremendously popular these days and one of the players or even the whole team may participate in writing. The blog links should be shared through Twitter, Facebook. The team may suggest special contests or giveaway for their fans. It would be good to enable subscriptions to the blog via an RSS feed. The blogging is able to influence the target audience and involve it into interaction with a brand.

Advertising placement in the free game mobile game applications also may be suggested to AFC Bournemouth, because the goods that advertised like this should be available for immediate purchase, otherwise the marketing efforts would be ineffective. The football tickets may be effectively advertised this way.

There are no strict limitations in the usage of the digital marketing tools for sport brands, but recommendations may suggest what should be used in a first turn, and what should be used less intensively. The most effective results that were achieved by this category of brands in the digital marketing included not direct banner advertising but the cooperation with bloggers and the usage of social network like Facebook and Twitter.

But in case the banner ads still will be used by AFC Bournemouth, the recommendation will be to make them short, sharp and very compact.

The opportunities that may be provided by the direct banner advertising:
• help build brand awareness and perceived advertising presence by displaying the brand name;
• convey extremely compact, very simple messages that help in brand building;
• remind the target audience with already known brand messages. (McStay, 2010)

A conclusion could be made that AFC Bournemouth has already developed a well designed website and apparently effective web presence, but there are some opportunities for further improvements of the company’s web strategy, such as improvement of the website branding and the intense usage of the web banners and context advertising, the email marketing, as well as more creative usage of the social media (the direct interaction with the potential customer, any form of competitions or special promo campaigns may be suggested to gain better knowledge and loyalty to the sport club.

7. Creative Approach

AFC Bournemouth has a very distinctive branding in red colour and the unofficial name of this team is Cherries. It is a good basis for the further development of club’s branding and its usage in the marketing activities.

8. Single Minded Proposition

Single Minded Proposition is the essence of what the brand wants to say to its customer. It should have a directional character bur also have to be inspiring. (Rogers, 2001, p.81)

Single Minded Proposition for AFC Bournemouth fans may sound like “buy the tickets at AFC Bournemouth website to become a part of the real game” or “Become a member of Cherries’ circle!”

Single Minded Proposition for community may sound like “AFC Bournemouth plays a positive and developing role in the life of the local community”.

9. Timing Schedule, Control Measures and Budget Calendar

The estimated marketing budget for the present campaign is £500 000 per year. The campaign is planned taking into account the requirement of the limited budget and therefore is focused mainly on online presence as the most cost-effective media. Marketing budgets are going to be spend in a form of ad-hoc (when organizations spend their marketing budget on 2 or 3 marketing campaigns a year), on the contrary the principles of the marketing continuity and continuous flow will be adopted and constant marketing support of the brand will be used to build the confident brand’s knowledge.

Neely (2002, p.22) states that assessing marketing performance is an increasingly important task for managers and other corporate stakeholders. But it is a complicated task and in the contrast to the internal organizational measures of performance, marketing performance is significantly influenced by a number of external and unfortunately often uncontrollable actors, for instance, customers and competitors. (Neely, 2002, p.22) This author also indicates that marketing performance is actually plays an important mediating role in many organizational processes (for instance, between manufacturing, sales and finance). In addition, the following measures may be used by the AFC Bournemouth to control the process of marketing campaign and to ensure the integrated marketing mix is applied correctly:
• Customer Satisfaction Surveys. The information regarding customer satisfaction level in a form of surveys is an effective marketing tool. It helps to work on their loyalty and these efforts of marketing team regarding the customer satisfaction surveys will consequently result in revenue increase and lower marketing costs. (Neely, 2002, p.28)
• Brand equity, brand awareness and customers’ loyalty. Powerful brand is among the most important marketing assets and the strength of a brand represents its “equity” in the marketplace. Measuring this strength has typically taken two different approaches.

The behavioral approach looks at customer response to the brand, either in terms of perceptions or purchases. The financial approach to brand equity attempts to define the financial value of the brand to firms and their investors. A widely cited approach defines brand equity as the incremental cash flows that accrue to branded products over and above the cash flows that would result from the sale of unbranded products. (Neely, 2002, p.31)
• Benchmarking and competitors performance analysis
• Balanced Scorecard approach
• Control over financial performance (via financial ratios estimation);
• Control over the sales volumes;
• Marketing mix audit;
• Measurement of effectiveness of the chosen media channels on a quarterly basis.


Peetz and Reams (2011, p.9) argue that the new marketing and sport trends continue to emerge, and it is important to follow and investigate these innovations and adopt them.. Suggested Integrated Marketing Communication plan for AFC Bournemouth takes the latest trends of the sport sector into account and establishes the links between the tactic to the strategy, and to the marketing objective.

As the result, the Advertiser obtains the effective marketing campaign within a limited budget. Current competitors of AFC Bournemouth are other teams that play in League One.

A starting point of the present campaign is AFC Bournemouth’s website. It will provide a point of contact with potential customers. It is known that the Web is a natural home for advertisers who sell directly through the Internet and for information-intensive products that require active consideration before purchase. Therefore the website is vital for sport organizations. The opportunities of interactivity and personalization provided by the brand’s digital presence and the advantages of digital platforms should be used fully and they began to introduce their digital marketing innovations aiming to build a powerful digital presence

The major emphasis should be made on brand’s digital activities in social media, cooperation with bloggers or creation of AFC Bournemouth’s blog, the context advertising and website. Other recommended marketing tools include the banner advertising, sponsorship of various sport programmes and sport news on the radio or sport columns in the local newspapers.

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