ST. PETERSBURG, FL, USA - The WTA has announced a new three year plan for 2014 to 2016, designed to transform the marketing organization into a digital and mobile centric editorial and publishing organization to better serve its fans, partners, players and tournament members as the consumption of sport entertainment is rapidly changing worldwide.
At the end of 2013 the WTA defined a new vision, "To be the most inspirational and exciting sports entertainment experience on earth." The new content driven marketing strategy is the first step to setting the WTA on course to achieve its vision.
Changes in the strategic marketing direction include the creation of an Integrated Marketing Team, which will enable an internal content news calendar and shoulder programming organization across all WTA owned and controlled media. Website, mobile and social media content will shift from a marketing channel to a publishing channel, allowing the WTA to drive content, narration and engagement across all its media and informational platforms.
"As we begin our fifth decade, this new marketing strategy will provide fans with exclusive behind the scenes access that will allow them to get closer to their favorite players and tournaments," said WTA Chairman and CEO, Stacey Allaster. "We will be the fan's destination for the inside stories where our players will share their personal stories and interests during their annual Road To Singapore for the BNP Paribas WTA Championships presented by SC Global."
In 2013 the WTA engaged Conn Fishburn, the CEO and founder of F3 ideas, to work with management to develop a three year plan to transform the marketing organization from a more traditional marketing structure to an organization that can better meet the evolving needs of today's tennis fans, sponsors and ultimately set the gold standard in promotion and access for women's professional tennis.
The three year plan drove the creation of an Integrated Marketing Team with three areas of focus: Content Strategy & Publishing; Communications and Brand Marketing; and Marketing Solutions. To lead this marketing transformation Emily Wright has been promoted from within the WTA to VP Marketing Solutions, and two new content marketing and global communications experts will join, Richard Libero and Heather Bowler.
Wright will oversee all of the WTA's sponsor partner programs and will proactively be responsible for generating activation ideas and programs that will be leveraged by WTA's partners.
Libero will join the team on April 14 and will be based in the St. Petersburg office. Libero comes to the WTA with a journalistic background and almost 20 years of digital and content production experience. Having been a part of building nhl.com and NBC Sports Regional Network, he will lead the transformation of wtatennis.com, wtachampionships.com, wta.cn, and all digital, mobile and social assets of the WTA, while working closely with the WTA's broadcast team, our rising stars and partners.
Bowler will lead communications and brand marketing efforts in her role as Senior Vice President of Communications. Bowler will join the WTA on June 2 after serving as Global Communications Director for Eurosport and will be based in the WTA's London office. Bowler will be responsible for the WTA's strategic communications, media and public relations, advertising and will support the WTA's player and tournament members in driving earned media across all channels.
As the first quarter of 2014 ends, the new marketing strategy is already paying off. Since the beginning of the year, website traffic has increased 26%, video consumption is up 200% on wtatennis.com; and many new fan promotions such as WTA Draw Challenge, WTA Insider and WTA TV developed by Xerox have been introduced, providing fan friendly experience across the WTA digital platforms.