Welcome to Industry Insider by Behind Sport. Our latest guest is Marketing Manager for FC Groningen, Edwin Froma
Tell us about yourself, what is your current role and what roles have you done previously?
I’m Edwin Froma, 38 years old and currently Marketing Manager of FC Groningen. I’ve been working for FC Groningen for almost 8 years. Before FC Groningen I worked for the Dutch Chamber of Commerce and several marketing agencies. Just before joining FC Groningen I started as a freelancer but when there was a job opening at FC Groningen I was thrilled. Working for the club I support and doing what I like (marketing).
What do you do in your current role?
I started in this role in February 2013. Just as a Marketing Manager. In 2017 the Ticketing department also became my responsibility. Since 2019 the communication department and the Merchandise department were added and since 2020 also our Foundation and our Supporters Liaison Officers. In 2019 I also joined the management board of FC Groningen. My team exists of 17 people. They work very independent as I prefer.
My specific role, besides being a manager, is about: marketing, branding, product development, campaigns, etc. The more strategic subjects.
What does a normal week look like for you?
In the time I’ve been working in sports there has never been a normal week, but that’s something I like. I believe that considering my department there is so much we still have to do to become marketing mature. You know, for a long time, sports organizations thought that performing on the pitch was enough to attract fans. Nowadays luckily the trend of Fan engagement is more visible and more organizations look more strategically at marketing. But because of the old way of thinking we are not on a marketing level where companies outside sports are. Mostly because marketing budgets, for clubs at our level and in our league, are small. We still have a lot to learn.
Because marketing is connected to all departments of FC Groningen there is a surprise every week about what to manage. But besides that we do have a rhythm of playing games where we have to organize the event, ticketing, merchandise and communication.
How did you end up where you are right now? When did you know you wanted to work in sport?
As soon as I noticed the job opening I let several of my contacts close to the club to put an effort of getting me to an interview. That went well. I believe my second place in the International Ideas Brewery contest of Heineken was handy to get their attention and impress them.
When I was graduated I finished my studies with an internship at the Chamber of Commerce. After I got back from a one year travel through Australia I had the possibility to start at the Chamber of Commerce. Three days later my manager asked me about a dream job. Without thinking I answered FC Groningen. Before that moment I never thought about it. Not completely true. As a young kid I also dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player. Unfortunately I wasn’t good enough.
What are you excited about in your industry at the moment?
The belief that marketing is getting more important. If you call it Fan engagement or something else. You see that clubs can’t rely only on the performances on the pitch. Data, content, branding, experiences and all those subjects are becoming more important.
What is one piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to work in the sports industry?
Working in sports is about passion and the power of sports. But do know It’s also about working hard. But that may not be a problem I believe.
How to follow Edwin Froma on social media…
You can connect me with on LinkedIn.