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4 Winning Tactics The World Cup Can Teach Every Ecommerce Marketer

As every marketer knows, determining the ROI of marketing spends brings with it increased pressure. The dizzy array of channels and technology available, the shortage of skills, the pressure to prove their value, not to mention the data and GDPR speed bump.

According to a recent report by HubSpot, the second biggest challenge for B2B and B2C marketers is proving the ROI of marketing activities which came in at 40%.


Marketing is becoming an increasingly competitive space, especially in the eCommerce world. And just like a soccer team, eCommerce marketers need to be committed to their team, position, work hard, and endure the tough stuff to come out on top. In keeping at the top of their game, they must analysis past performance statistics, have clear KPIs, and create plans to constantly improve and progress to next the stage.

So with the World Cup 2018 in full swing, what winning tactics can the international soccer tournament teach every eCommerce marketer?

1. Smart Tactics & Goal Setting

Soccer is a game of tactics, tactics, tactics with the ultimate goal to win the World Cup, Champions League or the European Championship. However, it’s simply not enough to want to win, every team needs smart tactics, milestones and goals along their road to victory. Soccer game plans have evolved greatly in recent year from the development of conservative 11-men-behind-the-ball approaches, the growth of tiki-taka and passenaccio, the rise of the mythical 4-2-3-1, and the spread of gegenpressing and counterattacking. So simply put, there’s a lot more to soccer than having a great manager and some rock star players.

Didier Deschamps, the French head coach, counts on many talented players to win matches. But it’s his planning, tactics and goal setting that sets him apart from the rest, and connects the dots between the talented players at his disposal.

Similarly, marketers need SMART goals to know exactly where their “game” is going and to review and adjust tactics along the way for the best ROI. In marketing, when it comes to building a community and engaging an audience, we don’t always see the immediate results. This can result in a struggle to prove ROI.

But what criteria, or key performance indicators should you be measuring to showcase the success you have achieved?

The basic KPI’s such as device, channel, new vs. returning traffic, exit pages and keywords all play a key role in getting a better understanding of your customer base to help with future planning. However, to really excel and get ahead, more important KPI’s every brand should be measuring are:

  • Shopping Cart Abandonment Rate
  • Average Order Value
  • Customer Acquisition Cost
  • Customer Lifetime Value
  • Product Performance
  • Non-Branded Product Performance
  • Basket-Level Performance

So how many of these are you actually measuring? For more on this check out our blog 12 KPI’s Every Ecommerce Brands Should Be Measuring.

2. Never Underestimate the Power of the Underdog

You don’t have to be a big soccer fan to remember when Iceland, ranked 131st on the FIFA world rankings, shocked the world in the Euro’s when they bet England 2-1, knocking them out of the league.

Well the Koreans had been the powerful underdog of World Cup 2018 with their miracle win over the Germans. Disappointingly however, this wasn’t enough for them to qualify in Group F, but it was enough to stop Germany in their tracks to World Cup glory and carved out one of the brightest days in Korean football history. So what was it that delivered this Korean miracle?

Resolve, concentration, a strong back line and they thrived on small opportunities.

It doesn’t take a Soccer genius to know the Germans being World Cup 2014 champs, has a big advantage over the Koreans but unlike their counterparts the Asians made the most of every little moment- both on the back and forward lines. Winning headers, blocked shots, tackling sharply, and reading passes quickly. With every small win grew their confidence, eventually breaking down the German side.

Key learnings here? Never underestimate what can be achieved! eCommerce marketers should never assume bigger budgets means better results or that small brands can’t get the same ROI as big, multinational brands.

The secret tactic is knowing what works for your brand and even the smallest of budgets can deliver astonishing results. And always remember to test, test, test and then refine.

Think of it like England being the ‘Apple’ of soccer teams, with a huge budget and unlimited resources. Iceland the small, relatively unknown competitor, with a small budget and limited resources. Iceland, knew their strengths, focused on them and delivered exceptional results. Even the top premiership players couldn’t compete with Iceland’s secret weapon, Aron Gunnarsson’s long throws.

So now ask yourself, what is your secret weapon? Is it a piece of content that delivers above and beyond conversions? Is it a particular activity or channel? Or is it a specific partner retailer store?

3. Never Become Overly Confident

A classic example here is Brazil, the five times world cup winners who faced a humiliating defeat of 7–1 at the hands of Germany in 2014 World Cup semi-final.

The question on everyone’s mind was how did they let this happen?

Having won the World Cup many times before, it could be said, Luiz Felipe Scolari became a little too confident in his team being favourites to win. As cracks began to unravel throughout the tournament, his air of confidence soon dwindled along with the players. Then, to add fuel to the fire, their best forward Neymar went out injured. The team had become a little too ‘Neymar-dependent’ in attack and not having a Plan B in place, their attacking potential diminished. What can eCommerce learn from this?

While it’s good to focus on your secret weapons, Marketers need to understand the importance of not becoming overly confident in any one channel to deliver. Marketing teams need to have easy access to advanced real-time performance insights to ensure they avoid humiliating campaign results just like Brazil. And, having the ability to pinpoint under performance of campaigns can be the differentiator between qualifying from the group stages and being the world cup champ.

4. It Takes Multiple Touchpoints To Score

What makes a team great isn’t its tactics as a whole but a team’s ability to get numerous players working in sync. And, the team that wins the World Cup 2018 won’t do so because it has the best game plan but rather where every player understands their own role and the importance of this in contributing to the bigger picture.

Running with the ball, cutting, passing, shooting, and dribbling are some of the many, many touches a soccer ball goes through in every single game. But, even at that, a team may never score. However, every touch counts in an effort to win over the competition.

So just like soccer, to win in eCommerce all channels and technology must seamlessly connect. Every consumer touchpoint matters both on and off the pitch. So whether you’re the backbone of the defence (brand website), the striking star of the front line (digital campaigns) or the keeper of the goal (bricks and mortar store), every interaction counts.

In the age of the digital consumer, modern technologies such as digital experience platforms that link tools through open APIs to enable a seamless customer experience are indispensably a must.

A study carried out by the Aberdeen group noted that companies with omni-channel retail strategies retain on average 89% of their customers from channel to channel, proving that mastering omni-channel alignment can lift sales dramatically.

Want to learn more about how to start your transition to an omni-channel approach and make the most of every consumer touchpoint? You can find out more on that here.

So the next question is do you want your brand to become the next eCommerce champion? Do you fancy increasing eCommerce sales by up to 20%, average basket size by 30% and achieve a direct ROI of 10:1? If yes, get in touch with the ChannelSight team today.

Melanie Fitzgerald4 Winning Tactics The World Cup Can Teach Every Ecommerce Marketer

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