How To Use March Madness To Raise Brand Awareness

When you think of sports playoffs, you think of the big dogs in each sport. For example, when you think of Major League Baseball, you probably think of the Yankees. When it comes to the NBA, perhaps the Lakers comes to mind.

But when it comes to the NCAA mens basketball tournament, it’s a little different. Obviously there are the typical favorites in Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, etc. But thanks to the one-and-done NCAA tournament, anything can happen, and that opens the door for the the little guys. I guess that’s why they call it March Madness.

In a sense, it’s the same thing with digital marketing during March Madness. While the bigger businesses own a big stake during tournament time — There are 19 brands that own 60 percent of the available promotional sponsorships — there is room for the little guys. So here’s some tips on how to take advantage with your digital marketing efforts during March Madness.

Timing Is Essential

From the opening tip of the first game to the final buzzer in the national championship, there’s plenty of exciting moments that keep fans at the edge of their seats. With today’s  technology and expansion in social media, fans enjoy talking about these moments as soon as they happen.

As a digital marketer, it’s important to pay close attention to what is happening and jump into these conversations . One of the best examples similar to this scenario was during the 2013 Super Bowl. During a 34-minute power outage, Oreo Cookie sent out a tweet nearly minutes after the power outage with an image and a quote, “You can still dunk in the Dark.” Pretty simple, right? The tweet was retweeted 12,600 times and nearly favorited 4,000 times. It garnered 19,000 likes and 6,500 shares.

This goes to show you the power of real-time marketing. Only a few minutes of work and Oreo struck gold.

Bracketology Is HUGE!!

Perhaps even more important than the outcome of the tournament itself is where you finish with your bracket tournaments. Even people with little or no interest in the tournament will probably fill out a bracket. We’ve all heard the story of someone who doesn’t watch basketball pick their bracket based on mascots or favorite colors and still manage to come out on top.

The American Gaming Association estimates that 40 million Americans will fill out more than 70 million brackets and wager approximately $9 billion on this year’s NCAA tournament.

So what does that tell you? Not only are American’s obsessed with filling out brackets, but they typically fill out more than one. Many businesses, big and small, are starting to try their hand at creating their own brackets geared around their brand.

For example, a very popular bracket was the athletic apparel bracket, which stacked up businesses like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour against each other. Fans were given the opportunity to fill out a bracket and win a prize.

Even if you’re not a major company like Nike or Adidas, this can still be created with your brand on a smaller scale in order to gain brand awareness.

Is It Right For My Business?

In the end, you have decide whether or not you are going to get in on the March Madness mayhem. Perhaps it’s not for you and your business. Not every business is going to be able to take advantage of this 3-week craze fest, but a great way to decide is by looking at what other companies have done in the past. Thankfully, the NCAA Tournament doesn’t change much. Instead, the way people are branding and marketing is where the change happens from year to year. So try to think a little out of the box and maybe you will start a new marketing trend around the Madness of March.