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5 Things NFL Marketing Teaches Brands

Sammy Watkins and Tee Martin at training camp
Shawn Hubbard/Baltimore Ravens
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Football is about strategy, fully utilizing resources, and quickly adjusting to sudden changes to please fans. And NFL’s marketing has moved football beyond a game to almost a necessity. Season or off-season, fans can’t get enough of the NFL. And when everyone is all revved up, the dollars keep trickling in.

So, is there anything brands can learn from this marketing juggernaut? Yes, a lot. Follow along as we discuss 5 things NFL’s marketing teaches brands.

1.   Strong Branding is Everything

The NFL is the ultimate branding machine. They’re so strict in their branding policy that everything–from equipment, jerseys, posters, and even women’s underwear–bears their identity. Their logo is omnipresent, and this keeps their identity alive in the minds of fans. They have a unique way of telling their story across social media and other initiatives that keep their brand strong.

And here’s the first big lesson: create a strong brand identity. Everything connected to your business must reflect your brand. Let clients see your identity everywhere: on your website, brochures, social media pages, notepads, and even on the pens in your conference room.

2.   Pre-Season Stinks But It’s Necessary

Football fans know pre-season sucks– there are pointless injuries, gusto-less games, boredom, and too much play from benchwarmers–everything stinks! But as anti-climactic as it can be, teams need pre-season to refine their strategy for the big game. And you should handle your marketing the very same way.

You’ll need to do due diligence, research and study the market, take inventory of your resources, and do lots a/b testing. You’ll also need to be sure the business can fund and profit from marketing campaigns–or may need to look at financing options like bank loans or bad credit title loans. Simply put, use the pre-season time to create more targeted and successful marketing campaigns.

3.   Have a Goal

The NFL gives every team 17 weeks to prepare and make it to the Super Bowl. So, every team knows they have limited time and a goal to achieve and all their efforts go towards trying to get into the league. The time constraints leave no room for haphazard play.

Brands that want to create “Super Bowl-worthy” marketing campaigns must make them time-bound and goal-targeted. Whether it’s increasing repeat customers, expanding their customer base, or introducing new products, marketing campaigns must have a timeline and a goal (or goals).

4.   Sustain the Enthusiasm

The NFL knows one thing, fans have an unending thirst for sports. And they know how to sustain that thirst on-season and off-season. They provide compelling content to their fans before their enthusiasm dies and retain their attention until the following season.

And that’s how you should position your brand. After that big industry trade show draws attention to your company, sustains prospects’ attention. Follow up with a social media campaign or a roadshow. Keep giving your customers content that makes them focus on your brand.

5.   Know When to Quit

NFL viewership tanked by 14.5 million in 2019 and hasn’t recovered fully yet. It could be some mistakes in marketing or the anthem controversy, but the loss in viewership did hurt NFL’s earnings significantly. And experts predict a further decline in viewership in future seasons, unless the league corrects its mistakes. And now, let’s talk about the last lesson of the day: know when to quit!

Let’s face it. Not all campaigns will be successful or profit your brand. And knowing when to quit could make the difference between success and failure. Otherwise, you may need to get loans to stay afloat. So, keep an eye on your resources before things go south.

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