The World Cup, A Total Market Opportunity

  • by , Columnist, June 12, 2014

Three things are clear. Total market has dominated the multicultural marketing dialogue this year; no one can agree on exactly what total market is and whether it’s the right approach; and the 2014 World Cup starts today.

I like to think of total market as using a singular insight to develop marketing communications that will resonate with a broad (total) market.

I understand why the total market approach is appealing to marketers. Many believe that the approach aligns better with the increasingly multi-cultural market and represents cost efficiencies. That said, the total market approach is not a marketing silver bullet. First, unearthing singular insights that resonate with a mass, multi-cultural audience is challenging. As Hispanic marketing expert Felipe Korzenny points out, “it is very difficult to have an overarching approach that touches consumers deeply without taking culture into consideration.”



Although the jury is still out on the total market approach, there is one instance where it is warranted: the World Cup.

Advertisers can score a rare ‘total market’ goal

Today, the world will shift its attention to the 2014 World Cup for a full four weeks. The soccer championship is an event that transcends sports and will reach a massive and diverse cross-section of society. In other words, it will reach the total market.

Consider these numbers from the 2010 World Cup: “The total audience reach” (people who watched at least 20 minutes of a match) for the tournament was 94.5 million in the U.S., according to organizer FIFA.
Looking deeper into those numbers, just over one-third of the audience was female. That percentage is comparable to an average NFL game, which is by far the most popular sport in the United States. The data shows that World Cup interest in the U.S. is catching up with the rest of the world. And viewers will be able to see and listen to the event wherever, whenever and however they want. Viewers can tune into the World Cup on TV, online, via smartphones and tablets and through the radio in English on ESPN and Spanish on Univision.

Using the emotions of a game to connect with the total market

Opportunities to capture the public’s attention for an extended period of time are becoming less frequent. The Internet’s unique ability to fragment content is increasingly fracturing the audience.

The World Cup is a highly emotional event that draws many non-sports fans. They are motivated by a desire to share in a communal experience with loved ones and as an expression of national pride. 

This is a singular insight that can be leveraged by marketers to connect with a mass audience.

Keeping these motivations in mind, the World Cup offers marketers a chance to connect with the total market on a deep emotional level. They can engage with audiences by relating to the communal and patriotic nature of the event. Making that emotional connection can successfully drive significant business results.

I will be tuning in to see which marketers capture this total market opportunity and also to see the world’s best soccer.

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