Speaking to ‘Business People’, AC Milan‘s Chief Revenue Officer, Casper Stylsvig, shed some light on the marketing aspect of the club since 2019 and how it evolved:
“The experiences required are very different. From fashion to e-games, passing through music and new social media, the Milan brand must not only be present but guide and set new trends.”
On the club’s strategy to use algorithms, data and statistics to sign talented players and also using the same strategy in marketing:
“Our approach to analytics and innovation means putting data-driven decision-making at the heart of everything we do, in order to make better and faster decisions across the club on or off the pitch. This year, for example, we launched the new e-commerce project, internalising the activity following two key factors: on the one hand, having a greater opportunity to realize the full potential in sales, on the other, guaranteeing the ability to capitalize on a trend that has greatly accelerated during the pandemic.”
On the importance of the 19th Scudetto:
“Winning the Scudetto was a huge sporting achievement, which allowed the club to strengthen the positive perception of the brand and tie it to the fans, generating effects that create commercial value and increase its reputation. The analysis conducted in the days following the end of the Serie A championship allowed us to record several records in terms of digital interactions. For example, over 3 million people followed the celebrations live from Casa Milan after the victory over Sassuolo, while the May 23 bus parade through the streets of Milan was among the trending videos on YouTube in Italy. Even on social networks, whose user base has grown exponentially after the Scudetto, the results have been exciting: for example: AC Milan’s TikTok channel acquired 900,000 more followers in a short time, Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s locker room speech was the most viewed video globally on Instagram between May 23 and 25, and “WeTheChamp1ons” was the visual with the highest number of interactions on Facebook among the top 20 European clubs. These are very important numbers but, just as sporting success does not arise overnight, these incredible results too were made possible by the work done by the club’s official channels in the previous months: over time we managed to create a solid connection with the Rossoneri community, involving and fueling the passion of millions of fans all over the world on a daily basis. A connection that is not only virtual, as evidenced by the recent AC Milan Trophy Tour.”
Ticketing, purchases in stores and e-commerce portals, social pages and dedicated applications… There are other sources or partners you rely on to learn more about your 500 million supporters around the world…
Stylsvig replied with:
“Yes. the club is going down various avenues to get to know its supporters better. For example, AC Milan has invested heavily in digital infrastructure, which allows us to have a complete overview of our fans, in order to make the best commercial decisions. Our strategy is to convert an increasing number of anonymous fans into Crm users and provide them (online and offline, in Italy and abroad) with a unique experience, while at the same time drawing commercial benefits for the Club.”
Stylsvig on if the analysis of information regarding your supporters allowed you to improve your communication campaigns, perhaps declining them according to geographical areas?
“We constantly monitor our audience and fan sentiment, and react through our team of social media managers, riding trends and adapting our tone of voice. We differentiate content across channels, by audience and by geography, ensuring an individual approach to each of our target segments. The goal is to provide personalized experiences; a trend destined to develop further. For this, we, marketing professionals, must constantly commit ourselves in this direction to offer the best digital experiences to all consumers. From a football club, Milan is evolving more and more towards an entertainment company.”
How important are new technologies in this sense for analyzing and choosing which “non-sports” sectors to move into?
“Football is evolving and running more and more in the direction of the entertainment industry. For a company like AC Milan it is essential to keep up, know how to adapt and play an important role in the sector. It’s about involving the fans of the future and at the same time increasing our popularity and the number of fans. This means capturing a good percentage of the time they spend on platforms, but it must be considered that the time spent on digital media decreases their ability to concentrate. For this reason, only original, creative, unique and interesting content can allow us to achieve our goal. We have to attract attention and be present, creating high-level content capable of engaging those who follow us. The fans almost no longer passively follow the match, but through content they want to be part of the history of a club like AC Milan, from Monday to kick-off. We also need to differentiate content according to the channels on which we offer it, which is why we have a clear strategy for Twitch, one for TikTok, etc. We are a media company, and for this reason we have invested in ‘The Studios’: a new model that allows us to manage the entire content production and dissemination process, to position the Club as a protagonist in the evolution of international sport-entertainment.”
Stylsvig, on the occasion of the transfer of ownership to RedBird, the founder and Managing Partner Gerry Cardinale also emphasized the experience of the American fund in sports entertainment, data collection and analysis to keep AC Milan at the top of world football. What added value will the new ownership bring in this sense?
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