CMO Q&A: Andrew Walker, Women's Tennis Association

Andrew Walker of the Women's Tennis Association speaks with PRWeek about winning new fans and managing cultural differences.

What are the main goals in your multiyear campaign?
It's all about promoting women's tennis by focusing on the stories about our players. Our objective is not only to reach our existing fans, but also the next layer of casual fans, those who might pay attention during the Grand Slam events (i.e. Wimbledon and the US Open), but don't follow the sport regularly, or those who follow an individual player.

The campaign has a life of two to three years and includes television spots, video for online usage, and print advertising. It will provide marketing and advertising collateral to our 53 tournaments in 33 countries that give our events marketing consistency, provide real value, sell tickets, and support sponsors and fans.

Given the various locations of your events, how do you juggle the cultural differences in a campaign that features female athletes?
We are sensitive to cultural mores. When we had the tournament in Doha, Qatar, in 2008, they wanted us to use silhouettes of the players because they thought the photographs showed too much skin.

Officials there have since changed their minds for the last two years of the three-year tournaments and allowed us to use the same photographs we were using elsewhere.

What role does PR play in the integrated marketing push?
The beauty of PR is that it generates an excitement you don't get with straight advertising. PR carries much more of a credibility factor. That's not to say advertising isn't credible, but PR is akin to word-of-mouth marketing and, thus, very effective.

How has your media outreach evolved?
We can always improve our sports coverage, which will always be our bread and butter, but we can expand beyond the traditional sports media.

For a number of years, we have been focusing our energy, resources, and attention away from the tennis media and general sports media to business, lifestyle, fashion, technology, and other trade media.

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