On Friday we saw Sir Alex Ferguson sign Michael Owen on a 3 year contract with a salary based on appearances and results on the pitch. In the media it’s dividing opinion considerably. It’s either a crazy step backward for Man Utd after selling Ronaldo for 80 million, or a stroke of genius that could bag 20 goals a season if he can keep himself fit. My opinion, for whats its worth, is simple. Who are we to question the most successful football manager in recent history (arguably ever!)? A few bum signings apart (sorry Mr Veron, that does mean you) its hard to argue against the fact he tends to get things right.
Anyway, to the point of this posting. Other than the genuine footballing reasons for signing Owen, I believe there are a 2 other marketing based factors that have come into play.
The Owen ‘brand’
In 1998, Michael Owen burst onto the world scene by ripping through the heart of the Argentinian team to score a wonder goal. This moment of excellence catapulted him into the hearts and minds of the watching public. A baby faced, wholesome youngster that every kid playing in the street suddenly wanted to be. From this point on, regardless of his well-reported injury problems, he has maintained his relationship with the public, scored goals at each club he has played for, settled down with a wife and 2 kids and kept himself out of the front pages of the press.
Its hard to argue against the fact that the Owen brand is strong and it has marketing leverage. Manchester United will be well aware that he fits their brand values. His name will sell shirts-a-plenty, both here and in the Far East, success will bring plaudits along the lines of ‘its a gamble but it paid off’ and they have a ready made public figure to put in front of the cameras that wont let them down. It shouldn’t take too long to cover his 20k a week and get a worthwhile ROI.
Michael Owen Summer 2009 – The Brochure
2 weeks ago, if that, the marketing machine behind Michael Owen got a battering. They produced a sales brochure for their product.
I know… crazy isn’t it?!
I’m curious to know what part the brochure may have played in securing him a job at the Premier League champions. The decline of the print industry highlights the fact that online is ‘where it’s at’. We (The Escape) are producing more e-commerce websites than we ever have done. But should we be neglecting the value a quality brochure can offer in the marketing mix? I don’t think so. Don’t rely on it, but don’t neglect it either.
A good brochure needs to be engaging and contain all the important information your audience needs to know about your product/service to make an informed decision. This information can often be different to what ‘you think’ it should be, so be careful, sometimes you can be ‘too close’ to the subject to get the sales message right. Its also about the quality of imagery and the way its finished. Invest in professional photography, good paper and some specialist finishes. A little added-value here can be covered by a sizeable bit of business there.
I’m sure this was the case for Michael’s brochure. It will have been packed full of statistical information and glamorous imagery, I’m also convinced it will have had a considered ‘make me an offer’ call to action. Lets face it, he wasnt in a position to be too choosy was he? But hey, he’s landed a contract at the biggest club in the world so maybe, just maybe, the much laughed-at piece of literature, coupled with some good timing (which is always needed in the marketing mix – there has to be a ‘need’), landed on Sir Alex’s desk at Old Trafford at just the right time. It may have highlighted Michael’s availability enough to make him get in touch to express his interest. Suddenly the ‘fancy brochure’ doesn’t look like such a waste of time does it? Strange how those who were critical a short time ago have fallen so silent.
So, perhaps its worth considering the value a good brochure, and I state ‘good’, could still have as part of your marketing collateral? It may just lead to that call you never expected to get.