Social Media vs Traditional Marketing: Who Wins the Battle in Sport?

Social Media has changed the way marketing is utilised. The ubiquity of platforms like Twitter means that social media has become a basic pillar in brand communication. However, the focus is not conveying a brand message, but understanding your audience and using the information gathered to ultimately generate a ROI.

Social media is often misunderstood and is deemed to be supplementary to traditional media. Christer Holloman, author of the Social Media MBA series of books, says “senior executives generally lack understanding about social media”. Sports fans are more loyal than any other consumers, making it even more crucial for brands in the industry to communicate with their fans, something that social media provides the perfect opportunity to do with its real time nature. The graphic below shows how different traditional and social media differ, and how the latter is a better long term solution for sports brands.




The power of social media is increasing every single day. What is becoming more prevalent is that not having a structured social media strategy for marketing will negatively affect a brand’s reputation. 23% of brands do not have a strategy to manage negative social media comments, 26% of brands have a tarnished reputation due to negative social media comments, 15% lost costumers due to negative social media and 11% lost revenue due to negative social media.

The World Cup was the perfect opportunity for brands to showcase their social media marketing strategies and sports giants Adidas set-up their ‘All in or nothing’ campaign so that it was perfectly aligned with social media, asking fans if they were #allin and adding the hashtag to their promotions.


Traditional and Social Media marketing are two completely different processes that need to be understood separately. As the graphic below shows, the funnel for social media marketing is the opposite to traditional marketing , with the former looking to find new customers through word of mouth and through the recommendation of retained and loyal ones.

social media v traditional media

Richard Branson says: “Social media is not only more cost-efficient than advertising, but it also offers great opportunities for innovative engagement with your customers.”