The NCAA men’s post-season national tournament, otherwise known as March Madness, is expected to have a viewing audience of nearly 100 million people, according to USA Today.
One thing that can be said about the tournament is that it’s aptly named. For the month of March, social discourse is dominated by thoughts of brackets, pools and whose college team is going to come out on top.
Advertisers large and small across industries take advantage of the national attention. The televised games drew in $1.32 billion in advertising revenue in 2018.
As a small business, you probably won’t be running an ad during the yet-to-be-decided championship match. So what can March Madness mean for your digital marketing?
Avoid Legal Trouble
Just like the Super Bowl, “March Madness” and other related terms are trademarked, meaning you can’t use them in advertisements for your personal commercial game. However, you can still mention the tournament in your content marketing and there are plenty of other ways to plug in to the madness.
Keep It Local
With 68 teams going in, chances are pretty good a team from your area could be in the tournament. Supporting your “hometown” team can be a pretty good way to increase engagement on social media channels.
Have two teams in the tournament (Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill; Michigan and Michigan State; University of Virginia and Virginia Tech)? Everyone loves a rivalry! Get your customers in on the fun with competing tip jars or a social media poll.
Just remember to keep it authentic, too. It’s easy to be a bandwagon fan, but if local pride is already part of your branding, this is just another way to step it up!
Bring Out Your Brackets
The last perfect bracket ended with Tennessee’s loss to Auburn in the Sweet 16, but that’s not the only way you can use brackets for marketing.
Every March, social media populates with various pop culture brackets, pitting everything from Christmas movies to breakfast cereals against each other. Of course, there’s no right answer to any of these (or is there?) so pick a category that relates to your brand, and have fun with it!
Track the Themes
Even if your brand doesn’t have a lot to do with sports, there are some things that are universal. Perseverance, strength, teamwork; all these things can be said of a college basketball team, and maybe they can be said of your brand, too.
Incorporate the language into your brand’s marketing in March for relevant conversation starters that diversify your content and pique your audience’s interest.
It’s almost always a good idea to stay on top of current events and trends, but maybe you think your audience doesn’t care about sports? That’s where knowing your brand and having a strategy comes in. You know your business, budget, and content best, so do your best with it, with or without basketball.
Above all, what March Madness teaches us is that people like a good story and a bit of competition, and there’s no shortage of those in business.