What do you think of when you hear the phrase March Madness? Perhaps it’s the premier-level competition, upsets, and buzzer-beaters. Whatever the cast, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament has become an iconic part of past and present sports history. It is a desirable marketing opportunity for related brands to get in front of a significant portion of their target audience.
The NCAA landed its first television deal in 1960. Since then, their marketing strategy has expanded to air the tournament on multiple channels. Sports fans, young and old, can choose how to consume their favorite basketball marketing content. And the tournament averages over 10 million viewers for each of the 67 tournament games. That’s quite impressive!
From taking advantage of the spike in viewership to reaching fans on multiple platforms via ads, here’s how brands capitalize on basketball fans during Marketing March Madness.
Tournament-Specific Content Marketing
In 2022, March MadnessNCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament runs from March 13th to April 4th. As mentioned, it’s one of the most anticipated sports seasons of the year. It is a 64-team tournament that carves down to 2 college basketball teams in the championship game. Businesses can use this seasonal event to build hype for their brands and increase sales.
For starters, many athletic brands develop tournament-specific content marketing strategies. This includes marketing departments creating brand-specific tournament brackets to maximize on search intent and showcase branding, and develop month-long business deals on products and services.Media outlets are all over the NCAA tournament promotions, generating a massive buzz, sharing insights into the season champs, past basketball buzzer-beating shots, unbelievable wins, and more highlights during the madness.
Brands Maximize on the Spike in Viewership
Basketball marketing departments would be foolish not to maximize on the spike in viewership during one of the most-watched sporting events in sports history. NBA players, NCAA fans, and the news media weigh in on the schedule, insights, and games. They reflect on each university, their ability to expand upon the success of their season, underdogs who’ve made it for the first time, and the strategy of each team’s coach.The NCAA Tournament is a strong marketing opportunity to compare two teams, showcase your business, increase your brand awareness in the industry, and boost sales.
Focus on Increased Engagement Driven by the Tournaments Popularity
Fan’s around the world are much more interested in engaging with basketball content created during the NCAA March Madness tournament. Games are televised from dawn until dusk, and for many sports fans, their minds immediately go to basketball.
Because this is one of the most-watched sporting events, it is wise for basketball marketing teams to focus practically every element of their strategy and increase social media engagement driven by the tournament’s popularity.
It is important to understand consumers’ search intent and fill in content that relates to that. For example, sports fans may want to see a marketing emphasis on personalized education designed specifically for tournament fans.
March Madness is also a strong marketing opportunity for basketball marketing madness interwoven with the success of a specific team based on region.
For example, businesses located in West Alabama should focus on region-specific marketing if their team does well. The same applies to Michigan fans as Michigan State advances each game. Customers are interested in branding related to the NCAA, their university team, and basketball marketing.
Marketing to Basketball Fans Across Platforms
In the modern age, there is marketing emphasis to meet fans where they are already spending their time. In other words, in order to play an effective marketing game and maximize on the NCAA basketball marketing madness, businesses should exist on multiple platforms, from social media, to on-demand streaming platforms, and more.
In addition, marketing departments should consider targeted ads on Google and Facebook as an effective basketball marketing strategy to connect with sports fans and play on their excitement for the upcoming NCAA event.
Google Ads is an online advertising platform developed by Google. Advertisers bid to display their advertisements to users online, including service offerings, product listings, videos, or other content. Ads show up in the results of Google and on non-search websites, mobile apps, and videos.
Google is an excellent platform to place NCAA-related ads as it’s the most popular search tool in the world. The site is tailored towards each specific user and the perfect tool at an affordable cost. Consider implementing a marketing game, such as personalized education designed for basketball fans.
Remember to showcase your brand identity, oversee messaging, and create creative, fun, and engaging content.
Another excellent tool at an affordable cost is Facebook Ads Manager. Facebook Ads Manager is a form of social network advertising or social media targeting. The phrase describes online advertising/digital marketing that focuses on social networking services.
Marketing teams can oversee messaging, reach consumers’ minds immediately, and showcase their specific business related to the NCAA. Develop your creative content in advance, search other companies’ comps, and schedule your ads based on the games.
Another idea is to develop marketing flows and prepare practically every element of your campaign ahead of time—plan for buzzer-beating shots, unbelievable wins, and career goals. Develop multiple ads and then publish the most relevant ones to the games as they unfold. You can also leave gaps in your written messaging in advance and fill in the blanks once you determine the winner of the schedule.
Examples of Companies that Have Profited from March Madness
Total Wine is a stellar example of a company taking the classic March Madness tournament bracket and tailoring towards a specific brand identity. Their business created an industry-specific bracket showcasing top wines in the coming year and allowed users and fans to vote on their favorites, ultimately declaring a champion.
Buffalo Wild Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings is another perfect example of a company that has profited from March Madness. Their slogan in 2022, Overtime Wingtime, allows fans to win free wings when a game hits overtime.
Capital One decided to take their company to the next level in 2015 by becoming a Corporate Champion Partner of NCAA’s March Madness tournament. Capital One’s executives had career goals to be the most famous, talked-about brand in the tournament. Their #RoadToOne social campaign accomplished just that by creating a seamless experience for college basketball fans.
Many brands capitalize on basketball fans during March Madness, from taking advantage of the spike in viewership to reaching fans on multiple platforms via ads and boosting brand awareness on social channels.
It’s all about creating marketing flows centered around the iconic tournament, focusing on the coming year, and showcasing your company as a strong supporter and fan. If you consider these methods of increasing fan engagement with your brand, implement these tools, and maintain a positive and fun manner in your written and visual content, you’re sure to find success during and capitalize on sports fans during MarketingMarch Madness.