Retailers who consistently score a marketing slam dunk during March Madness do so because they know their customers. These brands have spent time understanding who their customers are, where they engage and address the specific wants and needs of their target audience.

See below for three types of retailers who score big with their seasonal sports marketing.

1. Fast-casual and QSR Restaurants

March Madness is about basketball, but it’s also about gathering together and enjoying tasty food. The average fan will spend over $200 and food comes in second only to brackets. What are people eating? According to PR Newswire, the most requested foods are pizza, chips and dip, nachos, and Buffalo wings.

Buffalo Wild Wings (B-Dubs) applies a full court press. Not only were they an early tournament sponsor, B-Dubs pays attention to their target customer and sets up their restaurant spaces to cater to the sports fan: large tables to gather around, high definition TVs for every viewing angle so that fans don’t miss a shot, and a menu full of fans most requested food items. They also leverage Snapchat and Instagram to get younger fans off the couch and into their local B-Dubs by combining swag giveaways with branded social media filters.

BWW Interior 2

Do you have what sports fans are craving in terms of food and set-up? Then get to know your local fan base and plan in-store events accordingly.

2. Telecom

Telecom is another category paying attention the wants of their customers. Tech Armor, a mobile accessories brand, found that Millennials (early 20’s – mid 30’s) are willing to spend extra money to enhance their tournament experience. This includes device upgrades, paying for special tournament apps, and increasing their data plans. Additionally, NCAA fans are known to be rabid consumers of tournament stats and news. Many will keep more than one device handy to simultaneously view games and keep up with the latest tournament information.

March Mobile Madness Infographic_Final-01 (1)

Understanding the tendency to second screen and consume Tournament information via mobile, AT&T teamed up with Snapchat and Vine influencers to entice fans with behind-the-scenes looks at the activity leading up to the Final Four.

Remember, you don’t have to be a retail giant to pay attention to the needs of your customer base and leverage social media accordingly.

3. Insurance

Insurance??? Yes, you read that correctly.

Again, key players Northwestern Mutual and Allstate know their target audience and for this reason are official NCAA partners. As TheStreet observes, it is not often you have just graduating Gen-Z, Millennials, and Gen-X all engaging with the same event. College grads are embarking out on their own, shifting off their parents’ car insurance, and in need of renter’s insurance. Millennials and their growing families are adding automobiles and purchasing homes. Gen-X is seeing the nest empty out, considering the next phase of their life, and getting serious about life insurance.

 

Ball’s in your court….

March Madness and similar tournaments (think World Cup 2018) are the perfect time to launch a seasonal program to reignite the excitement of your existing customers and attract new ones. However, before you launch any program, be sure to get to know your target audience.

Last, it’s one thing to use a sports themed or other seasonal marketing program to get customers in your stores, it’s another to keep them coming back. Don’t let your customers in-store experience bust the success of your seasonal program.

Make sure you have the necessary process, workflows and communication in place before gametime. Last, to ensure consistency, consider teaming up with a software program to audit and report on the real-time state of merchandising execution in your stores.

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