When you think of Budweiser, do you picture their Clydesdales running across your TV screen? Or, when someone mentions Old Spice, you might hear the iconic lines, “Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man,” echoing in your head. Sure, major sporting events are spectacles in their own right, but often the most memorable – and profitable – forms of entertainment exist in the minutes between plays: the advertisements.
We know what you’re thinking: “We can’t afford to run a commercial during this year’s big game.” At hundreds of thousands of dollars per second for national spots, it’s no secret that these advertisements are typically reserved for big-time brands – but that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on sports-related hype (and see major success in the process). All it takes is a little creativity and the right channels.
Sound like something intriguing? Let’s dive in a little deeper!
How to Market Your Brand During Major Sporting Events
When it comes to sports marketing, there are big bucks flowing through many different channels. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune to get your brand recognized when people are excited about a big sporting event. With a few creative marketing strategies, you can make your name known to the world without dipping into the red on your balance sheets. Here are a few ideas to consider:
1. Organic and Paid Social Media Campaigns
Creating an organic social media campaign that ties into the current sporting event is a great way to remain relevant and increase brand awareness (not to mention, grow your social traffic and engagement). For example, you could create a bracket challenge for tournaments or playoffs that current and new followers can participate in for a prize.
Major sporting events are also a great time to cash in on social media ads. People are online and paying attention to all of the buzz about the game, so it only makes sense to put yourself in front of your audience when you know they’ll be paying attention.
2. In-Feed Video Ads
Video ads perform stronger than many other forms of content, and they’re the preferred format for ad platforms. Plus, they’re a great way to tell an engaging story, show your brand’s personality, and offer enticing visuals. With a video ad on Facebook or Instagram, you can essentially emulate the feeling of a TV advertisement at a much lower cost – and focus on an even more targeted market.
3. Brand Partnerships
Unique partnerships are eye-catching and offer double the value to your customers. Consider pairing with a company that has a brand audience you wouldn’t normally see yourself with – but one that still aligns with your brand from a consumer perspective. When you come together, you’ll gain more exposure from similar-but-different audiences, and you can offer cool prize packages to keep users captivated. If nothing else, brand partnerships create great stories that get people talking.
4. Guerilla Marketing
Guerilla marketing is an awesome (but typically overlooked) way to get noticed. But what is guerilla marketing? In short, it’s the use of novel or unconventional methods to attract people’s attention to a particular brand. It’s often a no- or low-cost solution that enables a more personal touch between companies because it’s performed on a much more grassroots scale than other forms of marketing.
For example, you could set up unexpected scenes in high-traffic areas to promote your company so that people get a chance to interact with your brand in real life. These campaigns can be small and aimed at local regions or huge and targeted to national audiences, depending on your budget and campaign specifics. Guerilla marketing efforts should also be supported with some type of public relations push that lends itself to social media efforts.
Marketing Best Practices for Sporting Events
If you’re considering leveraging a major sports game or championship in your marketing strategies, there are a few best practices that can help you achieve optimal success. Most importantly, make sure whatever you’re doing instead of a TV ad is aimed at top-of-funnel key performance indicators (KPIs), such as impressions, reach, and visits to your website.
Television commercials are similar in that awareness aspect, but with many non-TV efforts, you’ll have a lot more control over the people you target and the messages you send. Use that to your advantage as you hone in on your marketing strategies for major sporting events.
No matter which tactic you choose, it’s essential to know that you aren’t necessarily focusing on driving sales or conversions at that point (but you can later!). Instead, you’re trying to build a story that equates to interest.
Your brand should also take time to evaluate whether the event makes sense for your vertical and industry. For example, a big basketball championship might feel out of place for a bridal boutique’s advertisements. As with any marketing campaign, make sure everything aligns with your business and audience before you get to work.