Sports and Glitterati have always defined the Indian Premier League as a marketing saga since its inception in 2008. Over a while, IPL has become a household name with people irrespective of age group and social strata. Cricket in India is hugely popular not just as a sport but as a powerful cult for expressing human emotions. 

Right from incorporating a regional tint to the messaging to the entertainment part, every aspect of IPL has been designed to conquer the hearts and minds of people. For those in Digital Marketing, the Indian Premier League truly is a case study.

The Great Social Saga 

The IPL is nothing short of the great Indian Sports Opera where every aspect- right from the player auction, regional team branding, indoor and outdoor channel communication to team-specific merchandise- everything stands a unique character in the drama of the IPL. Each of these aspects played a pivotal role in unifying multiple social groups under a single umbrella of sports and entertainment. Nevertheless, to say, IPL is truly a social media marketer’s dream project come true.  

So, let’s deep dive to understand the mammoth digital marketing landscape that went on to become the foundation of IPL

1. Multi-brand affair - IPL will continue to remain the greatest brand conundrum in the history of marketing and advertising. With multiple teams and corporate biggies sponsoring them, it's truly an affair to remember.. It would not be a surprise to know that 2018 IPL alone had 34 brand names and the amount of enormous visibility each brand received with the association.

To be able to have this multi-brand strategic approach, you need to have a solid social media and digital marketing experience. The best way to polish this acumen is by enrolling in a professional course such as Executive Programme on Digital & Social Media Marketing Strategy by IIM Calcutta. The course curriculum is strategically developed to give all-round exposure to proven methodologies in digital and social media marketing.

2. Influencer marketing - If as a marketer you want to explore the potential of influencer marketer, then IPL would be your just case study. IPL truly displayed a great deal of ingenuity in terms of harnessing the power of brands and celebrities to hog the limelight. Also, the brands leveraged the platform to enable greater reach to their target audience.

3. Timing the matches - Winning in any endeavour calls for a great sense of timing. IPL too displayed considerable wisdom in terms of timing the matches. Scheduling the matches during the summer break for kids and college goers sometime around April and May when the parents plan summer holidays for kids.

Also, on weekdays matches are mostly scheduled around 8 pm so that people can plan their work and come back or chill with their family and friends over dinner. On weekends, the matches are scheduled at 4 pm and 8 pm giving an optimum window for the audience to watch both of them and yet wrap up the chores before the onset of the new week.

For any digital campaign to get noticed and become viral, it's important to have the perfect blend of timing and the audience that needs to be targeted, which is done seamlessly during the IPL season.

4. Social media marketing - Social media handles like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube were pivotal channels for marketing the entire event. Almost every team has their contest and fan pages thereby engaging the audience in a very interactive way.

Intel interestingly used the campaign "Museum of Me" to create a personalized memory experience With this social media strategy, Intel could reach out to almost 10 million people across the globe.

5. Contests and games - Engaging the audience in a truly effective manner and that too in age-specific ways was one interesting marketing gimmick of IPL. While online quizzes were revolving around the game for teenagers, there was an option for an age group above 20 to form their virtual teams and play virtual IPL. So, IPL was much more than what just happened on the field.

IPL has been path-breaking in terms of experimenting with and implementing innovative marketing strategies. What are your plans for IPL 2020?