Editorial Calendar Helps Brands Capitalize On Events

Cubs fans will take to the streets of Chicago on Friday to celebrate their team’s first World Series victory parade in 108 years, and brands have been eager to capitalize on the news event to promote their services and products.

Nike memorably played a congratulatory commercial immediately following the final out of Game 7’s telecast on Wednesday, followed by Budweiser’s re-airing of a 1984 commercial featuring Harry Caray, the long-time sportscaster for the Chicago Cubs.

These brands were able to capitalize on the historic victory -- and make news in the process -- by planning ahead, likely with an Editorial Calendar.

Matt Smith, vice president of CRM for Fanatics, chatted with Email Marketing Daily about the importance of “leveraging the moment” in email marketing.



Fanatics is a sports merchandiser that works with many professional and collegiate sports teams, including every team in the NBA, NFL, and MLB. In addition to its own designed fan gear, Fanatics also sells apparel from the major athletic brands such as Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour.

The company partnered with Uber this week to deliver Cubs official championship gear to fans who could purchase the apparel -- a hat or t-shirt -- through the Uber mobile application. 

Smith says that as an event-driven industry, an editorial calendar is crucial, especially when communicating on behalf of hundreds of partners.

“Sports is unique because there’s a news event nearly every day,” says Smith. “The World Cup, color rush jerseys, baseball in October -- these are all big story lines and its an easy editorial calendar to play with.”

Smith says the company sends email campaigns on behalf of over 300 brands with a team of five people. Fanatics partners with Salesforce to deploy personalized data-driven messages from the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

The challenge, he says, is to find the right product for the right customer.

Some events, like the World Series, marketers can plan for. For others, however, marketers need to be quick to pivot and take action on breaking news events.

For example, after Colin Kaepernick launched his protest at the start of the NFL season, his jersey became the #1 selling merchandise on Fanatics for several weeks, says Smith.

To capitalize on unplanned events, Fanatics leverages data to better segment and target their messaging.

Smith says that although there are all types of sports fans, Fanatics segments advertising into four key segments: rapid fans of sports, fans of sports gear, fans of a school or team, and fans of the fan, or customers making gift purchases for the sports fans in their life. Within each of these larger segments, Fanatics targets subscribers further with sub-segment targeting. 

For example, Smith says one sub-segment category is “band-wagon fans.” With the aid of predictive intelligence, Fanatics can pinpoint what products a customer is most likely to be interested in.

As sports fans are often based around a community and/or location, Fanatics also actively leverages geo-targeting in their outreach.

What Fanatics won’t do is congratulate fans on victories if they are not active followers of that team. “We purposefully do that in moments of celebration,” says Smith.

Sorry, Cleveland.


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