Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

World Cup Willies?

With the six week tournament just fifteen days away, there are increasing predictions of World Cup widowhood, absenteesim and excessive drinking (and that's just in my neighbour's house).

Seriously, I'm struck by the prevalence of the World Cup as an excuse for projected poor economic performance by a variety of businesses. DIY stores are prominent in those fearing a complete collapse in footfall and sales, but I find it all a bit rich.

Not only does the fact that the tournament is in Germany mean that none of England's games will occur during the weekday working day (one kicks off at 5 pm), but they will only play a maximum of seven games (and, in reality, will play fewer). However, if we were to accept their fears at face value, should we not ask where is the marketing reaction to this perceived threat to sales?

Locally, a restaurant has already announced itself a football-free zone for the duration, thus making it clear to footie-phobics that their meals will not be interrupted by the noise of a TV screen in the corner. Quite right too. Even if a large number of your potential customers were to be sidelined, why throw up the white flag? Businesses don't collapse every weekend during the regular football season, so why should they now?

Without being sexist, it's fair to say that there are a greater proportion of non-football fans amongst women so why aren't the DIY stores thinking of this as an opportunity? After all in the US, in reaction not to a sporting event but to their increased financial power, Home Depot and Lowe's made themselves more attractive to women by widening their aisles and brightening their lighting, thereby turning warehouses into "places of inspiration and education." Changes which incidentally found favour with men as well. Couldn't UK equivalents have anticipated this quadrennial event and planned to push for non-sports fans at this time?

As I will discuss in the near future, it seems that some businesses are stuck in stereotyped worldviews particularly in relation to women and are missing many a trick. The same seems to be true of the World Cup. Haven't the nuts and bolts marketing people heard about niches and segmentation?

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