Mixed martial arts, having grown so fast and still doing so on an annual basis, is fulfilling its potential for media content. More shows, in new countries, on high-paying networks are a testament to that. China, Russia and the Philippines are some of the major national markets embracing the new sport, while globalised networks including the internet and social media enable viewers from around the world to indulge in the product. It is a great feeling for the MMA fan. The sport has endured hard times, notably when PPV wouldn’t even air the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Now we, the viewers are spoiled for choice every week.
With MMA’s explosion onto cable television, larger audiences and target markets have necessitated the output of more promotional material into the social mainstream, and this blog will examine how to this effectively using content marketing.
Modern mass media attributes to the advancement of technology. New mobile interfaces, like smartphones and tablets, are being integrated into the daily lives of their consumer-owners. The access granted by 24/7 screen-time and wireless internet services is having a profound effect on the success of marketing strategies. MMA talent are more accessible than any athletes of previous generations. In a sport that highlights the accolades of the individual, the option of a personal social media account not only allows talent to profile their sport or ‘home’ organisations, it enables fighters to establish their own brand. Touchscreens today offer a window into the daily lives of athletes and this new degree of exposure offers a wealth of opportunity; providing it is effectively capitalised on.
Dynamic variables including the ease of recirculating information and the variety of material available online have rapidly increased. Collectively, these elements have minimised the time a viewer (and potential consumer) dedicates to mentally digesting a marketer’s message. The ultimate result? Target market consumers are less receptive to overt, blatant and lazy promotional tactics than at any time before.
The MMA audience is a loyal one; one that rewards MMA talent with their attention on the merit of their accolades inside the cage or ring. But a failure to capitalise on this interest with consistent engaging content will be punished by the nature of social media. Too many profiles, not enough time. It is inevitable that the mis-users and abusers of these platforms will fade into the background. Marketing departments, agencies and individuals within MMA are not only competing with one another, they are competing with the wealth of distractions offered by this new digital environment. Changing the channel, opening a new tab, hitting the ‘skip’ button or switching to a new application are just some of the instantaneous reactions digital users adopt, consciously or subconsciously, to avoid a feed or campaign that lacks attractive or engaging qualities.
Joseph Benavidez (@joejitsu) has developed a comprehensive model for using content marketing to build his individual brand. The Jobe Awards combine humour and a working knowledge of the MMA industry to endear the sport’s fans. The benefits of catering to a loyal community of fans range social media followers to media exposure and permeation into the casual fan’s awareness.
The new digital landscape brings us full circle to David Ogilvy’s outlook in 1973, when he suggested: “What really decides consumers’ ‘to buy or not to buy’ is the content of your advertising, not its form.”
The term ‘buy’ is flexible. It could translate into merchandise sales, ticket sales, seminar attendance or even something as abstract as a viewer’s genuine interest. The sentiment behind Ogilvy’s message is still shared today. In the US alone, business marketers plan to increase their content marketing spend by 64% over the next 12 months.” (Content Marketing Institute, 2012)
Stay tuned for Part II, which will look closer at the talents and the fans behind the MMA sensation.