Synopsis Jonathan Simpson Essendon Football Club

So part two of my notes from the Digital Sports Summit.

Jonathan Simpson had a great presentation which started out with us having a number of things under our chairs and he had people speak out each one and then related what each one meant for social media. He told us he wasn’t an expert at the beginning and like most of us has learnt on the run making mistakes but also wins along the way.

Note: Essendon Football Club is the only AFL club who chooses to remain outside the AFL/Bigpond/Telstra online network.

The Social Media Kit

Picture of Glasses

These represented vision and strategy. Essendon Football Club (EFC) set up Action Learning Groups who were given six months to work out two key projects set out by the board.

1)      Virtual Connection Strategy

2)      Match Day engagement

The best part about this was the involvement plus the mandate from the board when it came to implementation.

A letter of the alphabet ( I got H)

This is about the requirement for social media people to be multi-lingual.

1)      You have to be able to speak in ROI type numbers to the board

2)      Engage in two way conversations with Fans

3)      Deal with marketers and IT

4)      Educate all staff on the value of social media – why are you on Facebook again!

When you have 60k facebook fans you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth and respond to questions. Two way conversations mean you have to listen.

You have to explain to terms like CPM, SEO and what hash tags are and why they are important.

What is fan development how will help others  in your organisation reach their KPI’s and what it will bring to the business long term.

Key point  Content of Choice / Platform of choice – relish fans and the way they want to interact with you.

Toy Soldier

Be prepared for battle! With boards, staff and fans….

It’s time consuming, social media is 24 hours a day.

People will ask why are we opening up the voice of the fans?

You need to be able to harness twitter and facebook ( and other social media) to feedback to fans what they want.

For example EFC ask members what they wanted in their membership packs which helped develop the offering.


You have to make money!

While you have to show you are going to make money, social media is a long term vision for a long term sustainable transaction.

Collecting data through social media is vital to your success.

EFC gained 10k new contacts via social media and this was crossed referenced with their usual database sources. The value is in the data and understanding customer lifecycles.

EFC have done 20% offers to facebook fans and increased sales.

On Boxing Day they sent out an offer for merchandise to all members which resulted in a massive increase in merchandise sales online.


Remember your fans! Be fan-centric

This whole strategy is still about getting people to go to the football. You must have an offline presence which your online presence compliments and enhances.

Chocolate Heart


Be passionate, stay entrenched as a fan yourself!


Take Risks!

Social media is about taking risks, trying stuff out and being prepared to suck it and see. You will make mistakes but that’s OK as long as you learn form them.

Remind the board they asked you to go out and do this!

Make sure you do more than just PR on twitter and facebookyou have to engage!

Jonathan also explained the decison Essendon have made to stay out of the AFL/Bigpond/Telstra network. While they forgo significant revenue from the AFL, they believe their ability to service sponsors and their own advertising model as well as the flexibitily it gives them equals and outweigh the benefits of being on the AFL network.


About Behind the Line

Digital and online marketer, passionate about maximising customer experiences. Opinions are mine & not those of my employer.
This entry was posted in creating value, customer loyalty, customer service, Facebook, online purchase, social media and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Synopsis Jonathan Simpson Essendon Football Club

  1. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the report! I think Jonathon bought a really unique perspective and the fact that he got up and said flat out, I don’t know why I’m here, I think really endeared him to the crowd. His lack of slides and his emphasis on visual triggers really took his presentation to the next level, very impressive.

  2. I thought the way he went about this presentation was great too really enjoyed hearing what he had to say. Approach def endeard him to the crowd.

  3. Jonathan Simpson says:

    Great synopsis Anna, it was like you had my actual notes! Glad you enjoyed the presentation, it seems like the risk to have no slides may have paid off – it certainly helped that I was speaking in an early time slot.

    I’m more than happy to chat further and hope our paths cross again sometime soon. Do stay in touch and drop me a line at any time.

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