A. GENERAL INFORMATION
Marketing is everywhere. It is involved in all aspects of the EMF and all matters concerning the Institutions of the Federation. The success of the Federation depends -to a great extent- on the existing proper marketing plan, the carefully designed strategy and the strict compliance by all members which is of course a prerequisite.
EMF focuses extensively on applying effective marketing efforts with the help of the know-how, experience and expertise of the EMF executives on complex marketing issues. Meaningful communication and interaction between EMF executives and sponsors is a primary objective. The EMF also engages in active relations with a plethora of various types of media. Furthermore, it carefully designs and implements a rich plan with below the line actions and related advantages for the sponsor. The main goal is to customize the plan to the sponsor’s needs and according to predefined guidelines.
Primarily, the center of attention is the Sponsors’ brand and product promotion. Eventually, the strategy executed for the promotion of the EMF events leads to direct Sponsor promotion. All in all, the Sponsors’ general satisfaction is of the utmost importance.
Needless to say, the EMF has its own special dynamic. Direct emotional involvement of the target group in minifootball as a sport and in the way EMF delivers, implies direct benefits for the sponsor’s brand. The huge number of players who participate every day, every week and every month in the national championships comprise a target group that is in love with the sport.
EMF marketing methods guarantee that no sponsor is overshadowed by another sponsor (different advertising spots or harmonic coexistence are secured). The marketing plan includes a number of major Sponsors, each one coming from separate industries.
Two different kinds of applied marketing are offered by the EMF:
I. DIRECT MARKETING
Direct marketing constitutes a significant competitive edge. An important weapon of the EMF is the fact that it has power in numbers. Soon the number of participants is expected to rise to over a million in all member states, the number of which is also growing at an impressive pace. These numbers are used to organize customized promotional activities for the sponsors including sampling, interactive distribution of promotional material through promo groups, special competitions etc.
EMF focuses on direct marketing methods because:
a. it has the possibility to have personal contact with all participants individually and
b. there is strong emotional involvement between the players and the championships they participate in.
So how does direct marketing work ad hoc?
1. Vertical management structures (from the President of the EMF to the local league secretariats), offer a unique opportunity for direct marketing actions. Obviously, this well defined structure of the operations and infrastructure of the EMF and its events, constitutes a network on many levels: European, regional, national, local (cities), local (sports facilities in every city).
2. The Sponsors (or partners) deliver their message to each one of the hundreds of thousands of players, individually, in the most emphatic of ways. Direct contact with a huge number of players who are all emotionally involved is accomplished.
3. EMF has the full management and authority to implement its decisions. All the national championships fall directly within the EMF jurisdiction.
II. RAISING BRAND AWARENESS
One of the Federation’s main targets is to place the sponsor in the spotlight of the events it organizes, making the sponsor and its brand the center of attention.
It is clear that whichever company connects its brand to that of EMF will have great advertising benefits concerning the preservation in the “”headlines” of the everyday lives of the participants. Preserving and raising brand awareness for the sponsors of the EMF is a top priority. This goal is achieved through offering the sponsor an attractive and effective “package” of benefits, which indicatively include the following: visibility of the sponsor within the sports facilities through branded banners, stands, flags etc, possibility to appear on the sports outfits of all participants, promotion on a local, national, regional and European scale through all types of media, special references on the websites of the national associations which have thousands of visitors daily, press conferences… etc.
B. Target Groups
In a broad sense, the EMF aims at two different categories of target groups.
I. CORE TARGET GROUP
Players/Team members. The EMF offers a guaranteed direct approach of a huge target group: The largest target group in sports events in the world. Hundreds of thousands of people participate in the EMF national championships, a fact which proves their love and appreciation for the event in many ways. All these people are fully emotionally involved in the EMF’s championships in all Europe and this is the great advantage of sports marketing vs all other kinds of marketing and advertising.
The core target group comprises of males, aged between 18 – 55 (94,5 %)- average age 28,5 years- from all over Europe. More specifically, 28,4 % is aged between 18-24, 32,7 % between 25-34, 22,4 % between 35-44, 11 % between 45-54 and 5,5 % is in the 55 plus age group. Moreover, about 30% of all the participants are students in colleges and universities (age 18-24). Some National Associations (eg. Germany, Greece, Cyprus) focus extremely on the age group 18-24.
II. PERIPHERAL TARGET GROUP
Spectators. Most games on a national level are attended by a significant number of spectators. This number increases from the pre – finals and on, reaching a peak point during the national Finals each year. Spectators in the miniEURO matches in particular are some thousands of people who are emotionally involved in & love this event which takes place in their own country.
Direct social circle of each player. Each player has an immediate social circle consisting of 6 people on average (family and close friends). These 6 individuals come into direct contact with the EMF brand, events and its sponsors. This adds up to a total of approximately 3.000.000 people.
C. Sponsors / Official Partners
It must be made clear that the European Minifootball Federation itself as well its events (e.g. miniEURO) maintain their individuality and exist as independent entities. The events which are organized under the auspices of the EMF are not customized ones, not tailor-made for a particular sponsor etc. Instead, they are and must be considered as separate institutions, with an enduring character. Nevertheless, the way EMF operates but also its branding philosophy, offer the sponsors/official partners/affiliates a great number of benefits which normally only a customized event offers. Of the Federation’s main targets is to place the sponsor in the spotlight of the events it organizes, making the sponsor the center of attention. Heightened visibility of the sponsors raises brand awareness on the one hand, and on the other a sponsor can serve specific goals through the benefits we offer.
In general, even if EMF and its individual events do not exist for the sake of sponsors they can only develop through such lucrative on many levels co operations. The presence of sponsors will be dominant and depending on the hierarchy or kind of sponsorship/partnership, a suitable strategy will be formulated and implemented for the sponsors’ promotion.
Cooperation with the Federation and with the individual events which are organized by the Federation
Such partnerships can be implemented on two levels:
1. Federation - the EMF
2. Individual event - eg the miniEURO
A company which is a main sponsor or an official partner of the EMF automatically participates proportionately as a sponsor/partner in the individual events, ie the miniEURO or any future project of the EMF eg miniCHAMPIONS. This does not work though the other way round, ie, an official partner or sponsor of an individual event is not necessarily an official partner or sponsor of the EMF.
Types of Cooperation
The hierarchy of partnerships with various companies is categorized into 3 different scales. The main sponsorship strategy EMF is based on this categorization. The scales are the following.
1. Full Sponsorship / Νame sponsorship
3. Official Partners
The success of the EMF regarding its outward communication lies in the professional formulation of a very specific strategy. Our main goal is to maintain the Federation, its individual events and other actions permanently in the spotlight at both a national and European level. This requires correct branding, targeting and positioning. The programming of this strategy is centralized and formalized by the Marketing Commission.
There are two general categories of media sponsors regarding the EMF i.e. media sponsors on national and European level. The strategy followed by the EMF and its members regarding the communication of its activities is particularly specific and therefore there are a number of rules which are strictly applied.
Obviously, the activity of the EMF is not communicated solely through the media sponsors. Press releases etc are promoted to all media on national level. The main difference is that national media sponsors play an advanced role in communicating the EMF on the basis of a specific media plan and have the right to be advertised through all the promotional material of the EMF on national level. In other words, EMF offers media sponsors the opportunity to reach out to their target groups and promote this activity as part of their corporate social responsibility. Finally, it is our main target to secure -in the middle/long term- partnerships with globalized media sponsors, which promote the EMF and its events.