The Big Dance: March Madness and Marketing


Sr. Manager , Activation

This week, much of the country is consumed by March Madness fever as four iconic basketball programs — Ohio St., Kentucky, Louisville, and Kansas — head to the Final Four in New Orleans.

You’ll undoubtedly hear a lot of sports talk in the next few days. And interestingly, you’ll hear a lot of the same expressions in corporate board rooms. Expect to hear: “He hit it out of the park!” “The ball is in their court now.” And of course, the new classic, “The Big Dance.”

These metaphors help to bring the language of sports to the world of business. Marketers would be wise to take more than just phrases out of sports’ play books. They should also study how sports teams engage their audiences across multiple platforms in creative, entertaining ways. Social media is a natural outlet for teams with vocal fanatics, but successful marketing for the teams goes much further than Facebook and Twitter.

More and more, sports leagues and teams are demonstrating how to build successful brands through 360 marketing. Sports teams have an inherent advantage over most businesses in that they already have loyal fans and regularly scheduled physical events. They are also able to easily align with various digital and broadcast platforms, engaging the audiences before, during and after the games.

Unlike a baseball team, most businesses dont have 162 physical events to engage their audiences, and thus this it is even more important to have a thorough, well-rounded game plan to effectively engage audiences.

Marketers have to try a lot harder to build their brands than sports teams. But this shouldn’t stop them from trying.

Check out this great interview on sports marketing and how sports marketing concepts can translate to the business world.

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