“We sell dreams”– Verena Frenken from Infront Germany GmbH in an interview
Verena Frenken, Sales Manager of Infront Germany GmbH, has been working in the sports marketing company for five years. What 1. FC Köln has to do with the company and why “dreams” are sold there you can find out in this interview, leaded by our senior partner Alexander Hornikel.
Infront Germany GmbH is a full service provider for sports marketing. What specific services does your offer include?
With our services, we are active along the entire value chain of sports marketing – from the strategic sponsoring consultation to the acquisition and distribution of rights until the digital activation of the sponsoring engagement and much more Thus we can offer our customers and partners tailor-made and holistic solutions. In the football club business, like here at 1. FC Köln, there is a focus on the distribution component, but at the same time we also take care of the partner support as well as the assistant and implementation of the sponsorships. With our parent company in Switzerland, we have a global powerhouse behind us, which is also active in the field of media production, for example at World and European Championships.
As a leader in our industry, it is our aspiration to be progressive in all areas and to work with the latest technologies. Of course always tailored to the individual benefit of the partner.
Marketing in football, for example is about talking to a customer about his needs and goals. Is it about prominence and TV coverage, or should the focus be on communication via digital channels? Based on this we develop individual communication packages.
What special features arise in the marketing of sports events and clubs?
The special feature is that there is no standard, everything is very individual. If we take the individual clubs, then of course every club is different. Each event has an emotional character and therefore addresses different target groups. Each customer has a different target and thus chooses another package or partnership. Often customers decide on an emotional level, because the attributes of the club match the company / brand. On the other hand, there are also advertising agencies or marketing managers who look at the media offers and then decide purely rational. Especially for the customers, who make very emotional decisions, the quote of our CEO “We sell dreams” applies.
You are the official marketing partner of 1. FC Köln, a club characterized by high emotionality. How is this emotionality reflected in the work for the club?
The conversations are very emotional in all directions. When things are going well, they are all very euphoric, but when things are going badly, the partners & fans are also very sniveling. Infront has been involved for four years now and started with the ascent. I know the not so nice phases only from the press and stories. Now the renewed descent into the second league is imminent. But we have recognized that professionalism must be respected and that there is an organized administration. Due to that everyone is still very loyal. The demand for business seats and lodges and season tickets is still very high and we are working with waiting lists. A business seat costs in the second league for the whole season between 2,700 and 4,500 euros. Even in the second league, you realize that everyone puts his heart and soul into it.
How does your acquisition of sponsors for the FC work? Which measures do you use?
Sometimes customers approach us. But we also get inquiries from interested parties via our e-mail tool or via word-of-mouth propaganda and recommendations. Here we call that the “Kölsch Klüngel”. Of course, we also have to deal with cold acquisition, because there are numerous advertising spaces that can be marketed. Thereby we paid attention to the regional environment, for example, which companies are represented in our area? Here in Cologne are many big companies that have not come into contact with the FC yet. The distributors use all distribution channels and ideas here. We often visit events to meet new people and to maintain our network.
Of course, we also watch games of FC with interested parties, to demonstrate the great atmosphere and show the benefits of a partnership. Many of our guests have never been to the stadium before. If it is possible, we also organize guided tours with them, for example through the cabins. The experience is unique. Coupled with the presentation of advertising tools and a small consultation, we receive very positive feedback. The guests are always grateful and overjoyed when they visit the stadium for the first time and get real insights.
Which opportunities do sponsors get from FC?
The communication packages are individually tailored to the needs of the customers and form a mix of different advertising tools. In the packages are, for example, the band advertising in the stadium, a logo on the jersey, or print ads for the stadium magazine which appears on each match day. Social media content and digital activations, which are essential these days, can also be part of the package. You can also play video spots on the video walls. For example, Rewe presents the team lineup before the game as a so-called presenter in the stadium.
There are also promotions in and around the stadium. For example, flyers are distributed on the seats, or promoters in the public or VIP area are used, what varies according to the products. From a certain partner level, special advertising tools are also possible, like with Rewe, our main sponsor. As part of the sponsorship, a very individual video spot was filmed with some funny scenes, in which the team goes shopping through a new Rewe supermarket.
The FC describes itself as “sensibly different”. What does that exactly mean?
We call it the “Kölsche authenticity”. Anyone living here in the area, gets this feeling, through football, the carnival, but also simply through the city self. Partners and members are loyal because this Cologne feeling is lived. “Sensibly different” has emerged after many consultations. “Sensibly” here means the experience, the fascination of the FC. The word “different” describes the uniqueness of Kölsch authenticity that no other club can claim for themselves.
Thank you for the interview!
- Start KW27 / 2018
- “We sell dreams”– Verena Frenken from Infront Germany GmbH in an interview”
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