The NCAA Men’s and Women’s College Basketball Tournaments, also known as March Madness, is one of the most widely watched and beloved sporting events in the United States. Each year, 68 collegiate teams compete in a single-elimination tournament to determine the national champion.
Beyond the excitement and drama on the court, this tournament also presents a unique opportunity for marketers off the court to leverage fan support and heightened consumer awareness.
Before we charge into some tangible marketing tips, here are some numbers that may help you better understand the magnitude of this event. This year, over 70 million Americans have filled out a bracket. Last year, more than 18.5 million Americans tuned in to watch the championship game. And with the recent legalization of sports gambling in the United States: more than 68 million Americans will place a bet during March Madness. (For context: That’s 18 million more people than those that bet on this year’s Super Bowl).
With all these eyes focused on the games, this presents a valuable opportunity for marketers to reach a large and receptive audience with their brand messaging.
Here are my Top Tournament Tips & Tricks:
Bracket challenges are a fun and engaging way for brands to interact with their fans during March Madness. A popular trend entails companies creating their own brackets but replacing the basketball teams for items relevant to their audience. This not only creates buzz around the brand but also generates user-generated content that can be shared across various channels.
Leverage the energy around the tournament. By paying attention to trending games, and by including NCAA March Madness elements into your marketing content, you can tap into the excitement and enthusiasm around one of the most popular sports events in the country. Take advantage of this unique opportunity to connect with a passionate audience, by incorporating this into your marketing strategy.
Interactive ads are another effective way that companies can maximize March Madness. Brands can create ads that allow users to interact with the content, such as quizzes, games, or polls related to the tournament. These ads help to create a more engaging experience for customers, that can lead to increased brand recall.
Careful crafting of creative copy can catapult a company’s commercial clout. Lean into the awesome alliterations of the magic madness of March. March Madness is known for the branding of each round after the first weekend. Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight, Final Four are just a few of the creative titles used during this month.
With a bit of creativity, intentionality, and focus, brands can ideate and implement marketing strategies that maximize their March Madness marketing efforts. This opportunity highlights the importance and impact of attaching a brand to trending cultural moments.
We wish all the remaining teams well and best of luck to the brands looking to engage with their audiences, increase brand awareness, and drive sales.