With the curtains closing on Euro 2020 at the weekend, many have spent the last few days trying to digest the tournament and England’s upsetting ending. While I want to talk about the disappointment of Sunday’s final, I can’t bring myself to do it. Of course, losing in a final is crushing, especially when it comes to a penalty shootout, but if you told me at the start of the tournament that England would make the final I’d be over the moon.
Ali previously looked at the 10 reasons why SEO is like the Euros, but I want to take a reflective approach after the tournament and look at what digital marketers can learn from England’s successful Euro 2020 campaign.
There is no one size fits all approach
Throughout the tournament, we saw Gareth Southgate make small changes to The Three Lions lineup depending on the opposition in front of us. Whether it’s the use of a back three against Germany and Italy, or the rotation of the forwards depending on the opposition’s defence Southgate wasn’t afraid to make the full use of his 26 man squad.
When it comes to digital marketing, there is the same need to make the most of everything at your disposal. It’s very unlikely that the same strategy will work for all industries and clients, meaning you need to change up your approach accordingly. For example in certain industries, social media is a must-have while for other clients it’s more important to focus this time on your PR activity. Ultimately, it’s important to have a mixture of all elements, ensuring you get the right balance depending on the industry your client works in.
Of course, the core of your strategy will be consistent, just like the spine of England’s team, however, being able to rotate between various strategies as required is crucial for success.
Trust the next generation
For many, putting faith in such a young squad was a huge risk at the start of the tournament, however, this squad showed that age doesn’t necessarily relate to ability. England’s squad was the second youngest in the whole competition with an average age of 25 years and 3 months, showing Southgate has faith in the next generation.
Phasing out some of the older parts of the team for a more youthful setup can also be seen in the world of digital marketing. While many of the old school tactics may have paved the way for the industry, a lot of these are now outdated with new strategies taking their place. For example, link directories are generally useless today with tailored link building activity replacing the old high volume, low quality approach. Or the switch from keyword stuffing, to a more organic and natural approach to optimisation.
Respect the old school
So this might seem like a complete contradiction to the above, however, while new school tactics are leading the way, respect must still be paid to some of the old school methods. While England’s youthful side showed the world that the future is bright, there is a reason that Italy’s defence was a key part of their success. At 36 and 34, Italy’s centre back partnership of Chiellini and Bonucci were two of the more senior players at the tournament, but their experience was vital in the tighter games.
While in the world of digital marketing we’ve moved away from many of the outdated old school techniques, there are still some traditional elements that are crucial for success. One of the main examples of this is the importance of meta content when optimising a site for search. As mentioned earlier, keyword optimisation has changed dramatically over the years, however, the importance of well optimised meta content cannot be overlooked. Its importance in search engine rankings may have dropped, but a well written meta description is extremely important in attracting users to click through to your site.
Social media; the good, the bad, and the ugly
I really wanted to avoid discussing the fallout on social media after Sunday night’s defeat, but I couldn’t write an article about the Euros without mentioning the negativity. This tournament has shown the stark contrast between the positive and negative sides of social media, something that digital marketers need to be aware of.
As a football fan, I love to see the behind the scenes shots of the camp that we get on Twitter, especially when it’s in the form of Bukayo Saka joyfully playing on an inflatable unicorn.
— England (@England) July 4, 2021
However, the aftermath of the final defeat and the subsequent racial abuse a number of players have received online shows just how ugly social media can be. I won’t go into a full rant about this, but once again this shows that social media networks need to be doing more to protect their users and name and shame those responsible.
While I hope I don’t have to be as blatant as to say, don’t be abusive online, this does show the dangers of social media. A well planned and executed social media strategy can be the difference between a good and a great marketing campaign, while a poorly planned strategy will do a lot more harm than good. Using social media for the sake of it and because you think it’s the right thing to do will only waste your time and money. Here are just a few examples of when brands got it so wrong when using social media.
So that’s it, time to say goodbye to international football for another 18 months (and eagerly await the return of club football in a few weeks). It will be interesting to see how the world of digital marketing evolves ahead of the 2022 World Cup, however, these lessons we have learnt from Euro 2021 will help you put the right foot in front.
For now, it’s time to go and bring digital marketing home!