AT&T is showing that it is playing hardball with local marketing efforts. They have built a New York centric marketing campaign around the forthcoming retirement of New York Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera, who is widely considered to be one of the best relief pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball.
AT&T & the Yankees have had a corporate sponsorship partnership for a number of years. This more focused Yankee centric promotion is a combination of digital and out of home in nature. AT&T has developed a microsite where Yankee fans are able to upload video, photo and text messages. Some of these fan induced tributes could appear on the Jumbotron at Yankee Stadium.
As a local marketing initiative, AT&T has found a good way to connect their brand meaningfully with one of the more positively perceived players. It’s a very subtle way to remind people of AT&T’s presence in the telecommunications space, and sports are very powerful in the product marketing equation. Marketers have known about the marketability of athletes for a long time, hence why athletes have often received very large endorsement deals. Sports and sports teams are way to build local bonds for sales organizations as well, and this idea has been implemented in numerous ways covering a variety of sports over time.
This is a true multichannel marketing campaign with a local twist. The local twist is New York oriented, but since the Yankees have a large fan base, there will be a spillover to other areas where Yankee fans can be found. As for the multichannel component, the microsite is the primary digital channel that AT&T is using to implement the campaign. Microsites are easy to build and this microsite will have a shelf life of another 3 months or so, until the end of the Yankees’ season. The AT&T logo will appear on the Yankee Stadium Jumbotron in relation to the Mariano Rivera campaign and AT&T will have a booth in Yankee Stadium to make it easy for fans in the stadium to record messages. Like many elements in marketing, there’s a degree of complexity involved.
In the 4th quarter of the year, it will be interesting to see if there has been material impact. Material impact can be determined in a number of ways. Is this a campaign that will be judged on metrics of awareness, buzz and interest, or will this effort be judged fully in terms of harder financial numbers such as market share capture, new sales, etc? It could easily be a combination of both factors. In terms of local marketing, the combination of a tie in with a one off local sports event and the ongoing relationship with one of the strongest team brands in all of pro sports should serve well both on the local level and the overall corporate level.