West Ham ramps up marketing to counter sales dip

West Ham United is ramping up its marketing activity to maintain match attendees and appeal to new supporters, following the club’s relegation from the Premier League to the Championship.

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The heightened focus on marketing is being led by Tara Warren, who became the club’s first ever marketing director this year, reporting directly into vice-chairman Karren Brady.

Warren says the club has become “much more customer focused” since the arrival of its new owners David Gold and David Sullivan in 2010 and also under the leadership of Brady.

She adds: “Karren has brought about a complete cultural change at the club: now everyone is brand and commercially focused. That doesn’t mean we’re not fan focused, it’s much the opposite, as we need to retain fans and attract new ones [following relegation].”

The club currently has more than 800,000 fans worldwide registered to its database, who are being contacted regularly via a CRM e-mail programme to encourage them to attend games with price and experience-led incentives.

West Ham’s average match day attendance has dipped slightly from 33,426 in the 2010/11 season to 28,390 so far this season – still the highest in the Championship – according to the Premier League and Football League figures.

Part of West Ham’s marketing strategy for the remainder of the season will focus on “making football affordable” and includes seasonal cut-priced games and special regional campaigns focused on demographics who may not be able to afford full-price tickets.

West Ham is also set to launch a new product for overseas fans, dubbed Official Supporter Clubs, which will include tailored membership packages featuring customised pennants to hang in club houses, a mobile app containing match day programmes and prioritised access to tickets.

The club’s first Facebook shop will open this month in a bid to drive merchandise sales from fans at home and abroad and encourage further supporter engagement.

Warren says marketing creative is focusing on “moving forward with an eye on the past and [the club’s] roots and values”, to reflect the regeneration of East London due to the Olympic Games and also West Ham’s close proximity Canary Wharf, which homes many of West Ham’s corporate partners and customers.

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