Five things marketers can learn from UFC fighter Conor McGregor

May 26, 2016 8:53 am Published by

What makes marketing amazing is that there is often a chance to learn a trick or two from situations that aren’t really related to marketing.

UFC Fighter Conor McGregor recently created one of these situations marketers can learn from when he used his social media profiles to prove why he does not need to do as many press conferences to market his fights. McGregor wants to spend more time training and less time doing press, so he cooked up a social media storm.

With just nine social media posts Conor McGregor reached far beyond MMA media. Some of his tweets were retweeted close to 90 000 times and he reached major news publications like The Guardian and The Daily Mail.

Reaching 20 million plus people in one week is no small feat, and by taking a closer look we can learn few things about marketing in the digital age from Conor McGregor.

1. You are not going to sell without marketing

No matter how good your product is, even if it is a fight between two of the best fighters the UFC have ever had in their roster, you will not sell anything without marketing. Even though the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz is one of the most highly anticipated fights in the history of MMA, McGregor knows that the UFC needs marketing to sell tickets and Pay Per View buys.
McGregor also understands that if he is not going to do traditional marketing like press conferences he would have to prove that he can generate the same marketing effects via his social media channels. Something he not only set out to do, but did.

As this Snapshot Report by Webfluential shows with just nine social media posts McGregor reached over 20 million people worldwide. Hundreds of news articles were written about every new tweet or statement McGregor would release digitally. To such an extent that his social media posts completely overshadowed the UFC’s own 197 event that was happening in the same week.

Even if you have the best product, you will only sell it if you are smart about your marketing efforts.

 

Conor McGregor vs UFC 197

A graph showing the trending searches in the week of UFC 197, Searches for Conor McGregor outweighed the UFC 197 event event with it’s massive press conference.

2. Know who you are marketing to

Yes, you might not even be a MMA fan, but you know of the UFC and you have likely heard about Conor McGregor. But those that follow him on Twitter and Instagram, those who like his Facebook Fan Page are the people who will buy the tickets to see him fight. Conor McGregor is perfect to promote his fights, because he speaks directly to the people who would want to see him fight.

Some might even buy the ticket because they want to see McGregor loose. McGregor is vocal, but so are the people that don’t like his “big mouth”. Regardless, all of these people fit directly into the UFC’s target market.

For the rest of us that don’t really want to see anyone fight, at least we see the buzz going on around Conor McGregor and the UFC. Are you marketing to people who want or need your product?

3. Your marketing message means nothing if it’s coming from the wrong person

UFC fans don’t want big corporate marketers telling them how awesome a UFC fight is going to be. The fans want to hear it from the fighters themselves. Conor McGregor knows that he is the perfect marketing tool for not only the UFC but also his fans.

Conor McGregor made a perfect example of how powerful Influencer Marketing can be, by simply being the ultimate influencer for his fans. McGregor has been very vocal all the way to the top and he is good at gauging what his audience reacts to best. Influencers know how to speak to their audience, the key is to let them do it. If the UFC were to get involved in how Conor McGregor tweets, his influence would immediately drop. Nobody knows his audience like Conor McGregor does. Using influencers is a great way to share your marketing message, without having it sound like a marketing message.

 

Conor McGregor Quote

 

4. Controversy is not always a bad thing

Conor McGregor hypes up his fights with his smart mouth and witty responses. Interlaced is a bunch of foul language and in your face behaviour that would scare most brands into hiding, he get every one talking, love him or hate him. McGregor is fully aware that this is what his fans want, and what keeps his haters talking.

Insert Conor McGregor Press conference video, ad language warning in heading above video

He has become the king of pre-fight controversy and he has also become the UFC’s biggest draw, making them millions. He can be salty and yes, it is not for everyone but it’s been a great marketing tool for Conor McGregor. Walking the controversy line can be scary, but if done correctly it can pay off in huge ways.

5. Out with the old and in with the new

Gone are the days of traditional press and media channels being where you should spend your marketing budget. Flying UFC fighters in from all around the world and hosting a massive press conference must cost the UFC millions, to reach millions.
With a couple of tweets, Instagram posts and a Facebook post Conor McGregor single handedly generated more hype and conversation for the UFC than any of their previous press conferences that cost millions.

It cost Conor McGregor nothing other than a bit of creative language and sharing of some images and videos to set the whole world alight. Maybe it’s time for the UFC to invest in more content creation like UFC Embedded, while using their roster of fighter’s social media followings to market their events to the masses.

Influencer Marketing is not new, but it’s paying off in big ways for brands that find the right influencers to work with. Don’t get stuck in a rut with your marketing efforts. What worked in the past might not work as well now, try new marketing tactics like Influencer Marketing as soon as possible.

 

Please note the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not those of Webfluential.

 

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