March Madness Marketing Verses Action Based Based Marketing

Michael Beauchemin —  March 1, 2013

Last night as I watched the final four, I notice not a trend but a set structure among marketers advertising.  None of them broke Basketball players this pattern.  Since we are in Final Four weekend I will call it March Madness Marketing.  It could just easily be called Superbowl Marketing, Stanley Cup Marketing or World Series Marketing.  It doesn’t matter it’s all the same – non-actionable marketing.

What we see on TV are company’s promoting their brand.  This is especially pronounced during big TV events.  All the big companies line up to advertise because they know they will have a large captive audience (most people won’t DVR the event but will want to watch it live so will not be able to skip through the commercials). Almost every commercial will be focused on promoting their brand or trying to get the viewer to buy immediately.

However, most buyers are not ready to buy and will completely tune out the commercial. At best, they may watch it for the entertainment value.  Most marketers for these companies never offer a consumer that is not ready to buy, anything of value.  What the Chief Marketing Officer should be doing is offering these non-buyers something of value in exchange for the consumer’s contact information.

Giving something of value in exchange for an email address is known as permission-based marketing. It’s also one of the best ways to market to people. Nobody likes to get spam in their inbox. These days, any unwanted email is seen as spam, even though that’s not actually the legal definition.  That’s what makes permission-based emails different.

Once people give their contact information, they expect to hear from you. They might not always be happy to see you, but they’re not surprised, and they know you’re not spam. They know this is information that they asked for.

Once a marketer is able to add a customer to their database by way of a sign up, the customer gets a series of emails known as autoresponders.

This setup is an automated marketing campaign that reaches out to the individual and educates them on the company’s unique selling point. Through an education campaign the marketer can move them along the sales funnel from a prospect to a customer and finally to a promoter of the company’s goods and services.  This type of marketing for sales gives the business firm financial footing.

 Why didn’t these Companies Make an Offer?

Here are a few of the commercials observed last night with no offer attached and a suggested offer for them:

Company Suggested Free Offer
Fidelity   Investments 20 Steps   to take for a Successful retirement

Buick Enclave promoting technology in car

Five ways   our technology will help you improve your driving experience
McDonalds   Promoting their new wraps Text in   for a free drink coupon or free fries
Lowes –   Every Weekend is your chance to take to the court Free coupon   for $5 off a purchase of $50 or more

 Rather than just make it about branding, the advertising could, give away something of value to the viewer by having them go to a website and enter their email address or use their phone to text in a request and offer is emailed to them or sent directly to their phone.  The advertiser benefits in three ways by doing so:

  1. They can measure the commercials immediate effectiveness based on number of new contacts
  2. Can measure companies long term effectiveness at generating sales by having the offer tied to a tracking code, so when a sale is generated, the company knows where that sale came from.
  3. Gain a new subscriber to its database so they can put them in an automated marketing campaign

Sure the offer may cost them a little money, but think about the above the ROI.  They are already spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a single spot (or depending on the event it can be over a million dollars) with absolutely no way of tracking its effectiveness.

Wouldn’t it be worth testing a few commercials with offers to track the effectiveness of thead?  Most of these companies have extremely large advertising budgets that run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.  Surely having an offer available that will lead to: An increased customer database for future promotions, immediate impact to increase sales, and ability to track effectiveness of ad campaign is worth it.

For Smaller Companies Without Big Advertising Budgets

Every business’ goal should be to capture the contact information for a customer or prospective customer from their advertising, telephone inquiries, direct mailing piece or any other place there is an opportunity to capture the information.  We’ve already established why everyone would want it.

Because people are not just going to call and say here’s my email address there are couple of ways you can get contact information for permission-based marketing; at the point-of-sale or through a giveaway.

Point-of-sale email captures are commonly used when people are buying an online product, such as an e-book, software, or a course. Because the product is delivered digitally, people expect to give their email address to be notified of future updates and announcements.

The giveaway is another way to capture a person’s email address. The giveaway is very common both online and off-line. Restaurants have taken the giveaway to the next level with their coupon promotion measurable marketing strategy.

A typical restaurant who wants to capture an email address will often offer a coupon for your next visit in exchange for that email address. It’s the perfect way to track results based on marketing, because if the person was not interested in your restaurant, they wouldn’t want the coupon. It’s rare for restaurants to give out lots of coupons that aren’t redeemed using this method. And of course, this is very measurable marketing as each new coupon brings them a customer they might not have otherwise had.

When it comes to marketing, measurable results based marketing should always be your goal. March Madness is fun, but long after the cheers die down, a well-managed list with a well-thought-out marketing for sales strategy is forever.

Michael Beauchemin

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Certified Inbound Marketing Consultant committed to helping businesses grow sales through measurable, accountable marketing metrics.
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