5:44PM September 1 2014
As any football fan knows, transfer deadline day is one of the most exciting days of the season. Between the rolling coverage of last minute wheeling and dealing, reporters outside of stadia being harassed by hyperactive fans, and Jim White’s treasure trove of clichés, it’s easy to forget the whole day would test the skills of even the slickest project manager. For the clubs concerned, each transfer announcement is a launch in its own right.
So what transferable (see what I did there) tips can we launch marketers take from transfer deadline day?
Preparation, preparation, preparation or it may end up costing you –
In last year’s transfer window, new Manchester United manager, David Moyes, failed to sign a host of targets during the transfer window and ended up paying £4m more than originally expected for Marouane Fellaini at the last minute. This was seemingly due to Moyes and Chief Executive, Ed Woodward, not being coordinated in their signing plans.
In an earlier piece on this blog our Creative Director, Martin, recommended that to have a great launch, one of the key things is to coordinate. If everybody knows and sticks to the plan, this makes for a smoother launch. In this year’s transfer window new manager, Louis Van Gaal, is landing big name signings and this is at least partly down to him having a very clear philosophy on the way he wants the team to be.
The unexpected may happen – have a backup plan –
The reason transfer deadline day is such a spectacle is that no one – not even a manager – knows for certain what’s going to happen.
This transfer window has given a brilliant example of this. Celtic had agreed a £2.2 million transfer fee, a four year deal and had arranged a medical and work permit for Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic. However, on the morning of deadline day, Scepovic decided not to go ahead with the deal leaving the Bhoys desperately scrambling for a new striker before the deadline.
At time of writing it is yet to be seen whether Celtic will sign another striker. But if the powers that be at the club are sensible, they will have had a back-up plan in place and a second or third option that they could pursue in the event that the Scepovic deal fall through. The same can be true with a launch campaign – the unexpected may just happen, and could throw your launch off course. It’s crucial that you walk through every detail of your launch – consider what could go wrong, agree a plan B, and make sure everyone knows how to put it into action. *
When it goes right you become a legend -
Back to Moyes for a minute; it’s arguable that a bad transfer window cost him his job and his reputation as a manager. An under strength squad was not properly revitalized and Manchester United dramatically underachieved leading to Moyes leaving the club.
On the other hand, when a player has signed on deadline day and gone on to make a massive impact for the club, it gives the manager who signed him a special place in the hearts of the fans. Players like Wayne Rooney, Carlos Tevez, Luis Suarez and Ashley Cole are examples of very successful transfer deadline day signings and whilst managers like Alan Pardew and Kenny Dalglish (the second time) may have had unremarkable spells at their clubs, the successes their signings brought have surely earned them places in the hearts of the fans (read stakeholders).
Our Creative Director Martin recently gave a presentation on ‘How to become an Unstoppable Launch Machine’ (you can watch it here). In the presentation, he detailed the difference between success and failure in a launch. Success has the potential to turn you into a ‘marketing god’ whilst failure can give you the unfortunate aura of a ‘drunken smelly santa tramp’.
Getting it right on a launch, whether that is a footballer’s career with your club or your new product can seal a person’s reputation for the rest of their career.
Business Development and Marketing Coordinator
Image source: Thepitchisback.com – bit.ly/Y62AIv
* After the time of posting, Scepovic signed for Celtic after a transfer move to Getafe collapsed at the last minute. This dramatic U-turn further proves that the unexpected can happen and your back-up plan should cover all potential angles.