FIFA World Cup 2018- The Marketer Handbook

Football is unarguably world’s most followed sport and world cup is the Mahakumbh (the grandest fair with highest religious value) of it. The once in a four-year event is showing the other side of Russia to world media with a high five start for hosts, quite literally. FIFA world cup is not just football, it has all glitz, glam, diplomacy and what not, in nutshell, a month-long eye glue for the world.

We as football fans, were mostly found on the edge of our couch during this period with varied screen sizes. This world cup was nervy like anything when biggies were taken for a ride by categorized minnows (though I don’t treat them minnows as they were in the top 32 nations of entire world) and our nails kept on getting shorter.

Post semifinals, at least I gained my breath to chalk what has happened during all that drama unfolded on lush green football pitches. So here it is, my learnings from this extravaganza event –

Leadership demands

A Broken fist, perhaps for many, when Germany couldn’t qualify for knock-out stages. Germany entered the world cup with top ranking and as tournament favorites. They were not alone, four of the last five World Cup winners have failed to get out of their group at the next tournament. Is It something to do with leadership, perhaps yes. To become a leader in such competitive market, you need to give your best and then the best is known to everybody.  while you can’t study everyone, everyone studies you as their first target. So, either you bring the best than your previous best or exit is open for normal and the complacent.

One shirt doesn’t fit all

Choose the right segment to market your product, even a star product in wrong segment won’t make required numbers. Lionel Messi, was playing central striker in the round of 16 match against France. Messi isn’t blessed with aerial threat, which is a basic requirement for a no.9, in the entire match he received just 3 passes in opponent penalty, he kept on going deeper and deeper to pick ball from his own half. In the same match he went on to deliver 2 assists.

Even a Star product requires marketing and right placement

Companies often relocate the marketing budgets of star product for new products, making them vulnerable to survive on their own. Isn’t that happened with Messi. Messi completed an average of 5.8 successful dribble per 90 minutes. Argentina couldn’t find right tactical support to get the average returns from him, forget the best. He was always surrounded by opponents and made him look invisible to attack.

Opportunities knock, be patient

Teams lost holding ball with them for over 70% of match time. Teams lost even after completing thrice more passes than their opponents. Teams won even after lesser than 10X shots on target. Teams, which were good at defense won most of the matches as they kept on frustrating the opponent attack and most importantly capitalized the slightest of chances, occurred as counter attacks. No matter at what size you are in the market, the market is fair for all. Look at the population of Iceland, Croatia, Uruguay or even combined does not equal to any of their mighty opponent like Argentina, England, Portugal. Look at the star-studded squad of Germany and they lost to S Korea and mind it, Korea scored twice and both in extra time. No matter what resources, experience or what not your competition has, its about sticking to USPs and capitalization of chances.

Too many changes isn’t a right tactics

Germany made 5 changes in their showdown match against S. Korea, same goes with Argentina not in nos but key unforced changes against their knock-out against France. Isn’t that we marketer do quite often, change our tactics by over reading the competition through our own study. We keep changing our media plans basis the competition’s occupation of spaces. Look at Croatia, they were a goal down in 1st half and in 2nd half they made change in tactics not in players, Rabic and Perisic started playing wide and England caught in their plan and the result is new entrant for the biggest stage.

Mind it, are you marketing competition

Predictions are predictions, but certainly when they give comfort to predicted winner they give double the hunger and energy to the predicted looser. English media took Croatia as minnows as to never cop-up to the standards of three lions and there grew the hunger of Croats, they played their hear-out, turned around and made one of the superb victory with the record latest goal against English in world cup finals. Many a time, even while marketing our products we keep comparing it with competition, by doing so – 1st we are marketing them, 2nd charging them for hunger 3rd making customer feel odd.

A marketer is known by his deep understanding of market and positioning of his own products, the smaller team managers has been better in doing that in this world cup.

This single event will add 1% to Russian GDP, and much more to our GKP (Gross Knowledge Product). The history would be created on 15th with finals, the best would win, and the rest will learn.

Finally, from 16th there would be silent living rooms, open palms and cleaner news papers, till the next world cup, see you Qatar!

That was crude excerpt of whirlwind in my head of FIFA world cup 2018, I am sure you also have had your own, look forward to reading them in comments.

Up for the third spot match, please excuse for the proof read.


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