What: Portada spoke to JP Carter, CMO at SOCCER.COM, about the soccer-ecommerce site’s new image and why now was the right moment to renew its look, before the 2018 World Cup marketing strategies start.
Why it matters: Las week SOCCER.COM launched its newly revamped website, a platform that highlight’s the company’s core values to inform, inspire and innovate in the sports industry. The new offering intends to capitalize on soccer’s increasing popularity in the  U.S.

J.P. Carter
JP Carter, CMO at SOCCER.COM            (Photo: LinkedIn)

Portada: Why was now a good moment to redesign your site?
JP Carter, CMO at SOCCER.COM: “Our customers deserved a better digital experience. We are committing to always continue to improve that experience and this was a perfect time and opportunity to prioritize that before the 2018 World Cup.”

Portada: What is the market environment that made you renew your image?
JP Carter: “The primary driver for us is  the fact that this is a mobile world. We wanted to enhance our entire presentation, but the driving force was that we wanted to give that same high-level experience, regardless of device. Our mobile engagement figures since we flipped the switch are showing us that this is a move that is very well received by the core customers of our brand.”

The primary driver for us was the fact that this is a mobile world.

Portada: What challenges do you face?
JP Carter: “With every new site, there are technical hardships, but nothing that we were not prepared for, challenges such as coordination with all of our vendors and digital marketing partners was a task our team was thrilled to take on.  However, every transition presents challenges.  Something as simple as a new site layout can be a challenge for customers to get acclimated towards, but the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we are thrilled to have shared this with ours.”

Portada: Do you promote via social? How?
JP Carter: Social media is one of our strongest marketing channels. We are rapidly approaching 4 million followers on Instagram and our other channels have great interactions as well. This is a channel that we focus not only on the e-commerce side of the business, but also where we spend a great amount of effort to reinforce who we are as a brand, and how much soccer really means to us.

We are approaching 4 million followers on Instagram and our other channels have great interactions as well.

Portada: Do you sell third party advertising on the site?
JP Carter: “This is something that we are very protective of.  We do sell advertising space in many of our primary marketing channels; including our catalog, emails, social media, as well as on our site.  As an industry leader in the soccer specialty industry, we are very picky with who we sell that digital real estate too.  It has to be based on the game of soccer and speak to our customers who live the game.”

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Portada: What trends do you see in sports e-commerce?
JP Carter: ‘Sports are life, and soccer, in particular, is not just a game to our consumers.  As we speak with our customers, we understand how much this game consumes every bit of their day.  From their home life to school, to obviously on the field, this game is everything to people around the world. With that being said, we need to treat it that way from a business perspective. We put the same passion into the e-commerce portion of this business as our fans do into the game so that we can provide a world-class experience with our new website.”

We put the same passion into the e-commerce portion of this business as our fans do into the game.

Portada: How are you getting ready for the 2018 World Cup opportunity?
JP Carter: “World Cup 2018 marketing starts for SOCCER.COM in June of 2017.  This event requires an “all hands on deck” mentality for us and we are thrilled about it. From an editorial content perspective, we will be a leader in learning everything you need to know about the history of the tournament, the locations, the teams, the players, and of course, the equipment that will be used.  We will carry every team’s jersey, the footwear that all the stars will be wearing and the balls that will be used in the tournament as well.  We are very excited about next summer and what it will mean for the beautiful game.”

Sports Marketing will play an Important Role at Day 1 of PortadaLat: We have added new Ticket Types to Meet Your Needs!

GENERAL PASS: Attend the overall PortadaLat event on June 7 and June 8. All sessions, keynotes, networking, food and beverage included! (US$549)
VIP ATTENDEE: Meet up to 5 high-level brand, agency or media executives of your choice attending or speaking PortadaLat. These 10 minute meetings will take place in a separate room during the first and second day of PortadaLat and are designed to help you build valuable relationships. General Pass offering is included. (US $ 1,999).
The first day of PortadaLat will focus on how technological innovation is impacting key segments of business and marketing with emphasis on Travel and Sports. All sessions, keynotes and marketing-tech showcases are included as well as light food, sandwiches and beverages. (US $199)
The second day at PortadaLat will celebrate Brand Innovation and showcase how leading companies are boosting brand equity and increasing their relevance in a disruptive environment in Latin America and the U.S. Breakfast, Lunch and Evening Reception Food and Beverages included. (US$ 549!)
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MODERATOR: Brian Cristiano, CEO, Bold Worldwide
MODERATOR: Brian Cristiano, CEO, Bold Worldwide

The first day of #Portada15 put together top Marketers, Media Executives and Influencers in Sports Marketing. The first session discussed Sports Properties. Brian Cristiano, CEO, Bold Worldwide opened the panel by saying that the amount of dollars invested in sports sponsorships has increased by 40% between 2010 and 2014 to approximately US $15 billion a year. Cristiano also highlighted the role Hispanics and soccer play in this growth story. As MLS is now the third league that is most watched in the U.S. (more than the NHL), while stadium attendance has increased to an average of 19,000 per match.

Pattie Falch, Director Sponsorships & Events, Heineken USA
Pattie Falch, Director Sponsorships & Events, Heineken USA

Pattie Falch, Director Sponsorships & Events, at Heineken USA whose company places substantial investments on soccer noted that to engage Hispanic and general market audiences through soccer content it is crucial to be authentic to the fans and to the sport. “It is important to give something back she noted.”

Jimmy McIntyre, Director of Consumer Marketing at Sports Endeavors’  Soccer.com and the largest soccer online retailer in the U.S. said that one key advantage of is that “the American consumer has the advantage of being able to watch all important soccer leagues in the world,” and that increases the awareness of soccer.

Brands really need to take the time to study the sports audience.

Russell Sargeant, Director, NBC Sports & Telemundo Global Sports Sales,  emphasized that it is important for brands to take the time to really study the sports audience.  He pointed out that in the past that has not always been done and that this behaviour drove results that could have been much better.

A new edition of the Hispanic Sports Marketing Form will take place on Sept. 21, 2016.

Soccer online retailer SOCCER.COM and Makita USA last week announced their Seventh Annual El Tricolor Contest. “Makita’s active sponsorship of the Mexican National Team (MNT), as well as Major League Soccer (MLS), is a key part of the company’s effort to integrate the Makita brand into the life and passions of the Hispanic contractor,” says Raquel Portillo, senior marketing specialist, emerging markets at Makita. We interviewed Portillo to ask her how Makita uses sports to reach and engage its customer base.

Hispanic Customers and their Passion

Mexico FansMakita, the Japanese manufacturer of professional and consumer power tools, realized the importance of the Hispanic PRO contractor in early 2006. Raquel Portillo tells Portada that Makita noticed that “they would be buying more tools tomorrow than today. During our long investment with Hispanics, it became clear they are passionate about soccer. Here at Makita we engineer best-in-class power tools, and we also integrate our brand in areas of passion for our customers off the job site. We engage our customer where they work on jobsites across America, where they learn through dealers and various media, and where they play — and this is where soccer comes in. Many Hispanic contractors are passionate soccer fans, so Makita is an active sponsor of the Mexican National Team and also Major League Soccer. And just as we help contractors build their dreams with tools that help them be more productive and work more efficiently, and therefore have more time off the job site, we also use Makita’s involvement in soccer to deliver one-of-a-kind experiences to Hispanic contractors, like getting on the playing field with the Mexican National Team.”

DOWNLOAD Portada’s 2015 Soccer Marketing Guide!: Portada’s 2015 Soccer Marketing Guide!

We engage our customer where they work on jobsites across America, and where they play — and this is where soccer comes in.

World Cup Insights

To Portillo, “World Cup Brazil was a clear indicator of the Mexican National Team brand’s high profile. The Mexican National Team has some of the most passionate fans in the world and, even at matches far from the home country, fans fill the stands to cheer on their team. Leading up to Brazil 2014 we witnessed a true case of “soccer fever” as the team’s loyal fans filled football stadiums across the USA at pre-World Cup matches. Portillo is particularly interested in the opportunities related to matches (friendlies) and other events leading up to the Soccer World Cup: “There’s an abundance of opportunity that can be done leading up to World Cup and we will continue to investigate areas where we can leverage the world’s most widely viewed sporting event.”

REGISTRATION AT SUPER EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT EXPIRES TOMORROW TUESDAY 6/30/COB! Combo Ticket (Hispanic Sports Marketing Forum and 9th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference for only US$ 399! Register at Super Early Bird by using the Code SMF.

Retail Promotions for Copa Centenario

makitaThe Copa America Tournament currently being played until July 4 in Chile is the prelude to Copa America Centenario next year in the United States. Copa Centenario will be a celebration of the centenary of CONMEBOL and Copa América, and is to be the first Copa América hosted outside of South America. Guillermo Abud, VP Digital Director, Head of Programmatic for Multicultural at Mediavest noted in a recent article that “Copa America Centenario is an intriguing opportunity for advertisers. The games will air in prime on the Univision family of networks and take place within the United States which allows for large video audiences. “For Makita retail promotions will be important. “As the Official Sponsor of the Mexican National Team Makita Power Tools plans to maximize this tournament by doing promotions that are lucrative to our customer in retail,” says Portillo.
Portillo adds that Makita has been a “proud sponsor of the Mexican National Team and Major League Soccer for over eight years now.” Throughout the period of the ongoing partnership, Portillo has seen Hispanics migrate. “They are no longer residing in the traditional Hispanic markets but we’ve seen a change in new emerging markets such as North Carolina, Minnesota, Atlanta and more. We see the Mexican National Team as a vehicle that touches Hispanics because when the Mexican National Team is playing this unites Hispanics in the United States for 90 minutes and for Makita this is vital as we want to continue to integrate our brand in areas of passion for our customers.”

Product Placement in Off-Road Racing

Like Makita does for targeting the Hispanic segment, the company also uses off job-site activities to target the “general” population. Says Portillo: “We reach contractors through action sports and live racing, like the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series, and through cooperative efforts with other dynamic brands in these spaces, like Rockstar Energy. In the case of off-road racing there is real synergy in our sponsorship efforts, as Makita tools are used in the pits by the skilled mechanics of top race teams on race day, in clear view of race fans. This is genuine and authentic product placement that resonates with anyone who uses power tools!”

…and the role of Social Media and Influencer Marketing

For Makita, influence and engagement takes place at several points of contact. Portillo notes that these points of contact include, “Dealer partners who sell Makita tools, and top contractors who use Makita on job sites. Both can exert influence and advocacy through example and word-of-mouth. Another influencer is a sponsored athlete like Brian Deegan, a true action sports icon and currently a top off road and rally car racer with a large and loyal following, and his race teams use Makita Tools. Of course, print and online media and social media channels are vital points of contact with our audience.

We also see blogs and independent online tool reviews continuing to grow as an important source of influence.

Note: Wayne Hart, Communications Manager, Makita USA, supported Raquel Portillo, Senior Marketing Specialist, Makita USA answering some of Portada’s questions.

REGISTRATION AT SUPER EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT EXPIRES TOMORROW TUESDAY 6/30/COB! Combo Ticket (Hispanic Sports Marketing Forum and 9th Annual Hispanic Advertising and Media Conference for only US$ 399! Register at Super Early Bird by using the Code SMF.

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