March Madness for Marketers

How your brand can leverage live events to sell products and services

In the information-obsessed world we live in, popular events, news stories and trends don't occur anymore without the commentary of millions on Social Media.

Whether it's The Super Bowl, The World Cup, an Apple keynote speech or even the anniversary of September 11 - brands, for better or worse - are attempting to use trending events to gain recognition and ultimately, sell their products and services. How can a breakfast establishment make use of Apple revealing its newest products to the world? Dennys Apple Live Tweet Denny's brilliantly parodies Apple in promoting their "thinnest MacBook yet"[/caption]

The downside of participating in this type of real-time marketing is that it comes with the risk of coming across snarky or annoying and at worst, very insensitive. For example, the Seattle Seahawks went way overboard with this tweet (which is now deleted) on Martin Luther King Day just after they won a big playoff game:

Seahawks MLK Day Tweet

The Seahawks later apologized for comparing the struggle of winning a football game to the struggle of Dr. King's fight for civil rights and of course, they aren't struggling to sell tickets. But your brand isn't the Seattle Seahawks so public opinion might not be so forgiving. The point is, don't go overboard and keep it lighthearted because when used right, this type of marketing can really help your brand.

That brings us to March Madness. A brand's real-time marketing playground. As major Tournament-related storylines trend on Social Media, here is how some companies are chiming in:

March Madness for Marketers March Madness for Marketers
























Pizza Hut had a very interesting strategy according to an AdWeek article:

"What's interesting is Pizza Hut had purchased Promoted Tweets for the Twitter hashtag/search term "Georgia St bball" ahead of time, even though the team wasn't expected to be competitive, much less win. Meanwhile, in the moments before and after Hunter's big shot, other brands began jumping on board with quick social ad buys."

Pizza Hut didn't even attempt to make their Promoted Tweets relevant to basketball, they instead used a Twitter search term as a way to get eyes on their Stuffed Crust pizza special.

Pizza Hut Promoted Tweet

Creative contests are another way to get in on the action. Red Gold Tomatoes is hosting a "Queso Madness" Bracket Challenge. They're prompting users to choose between 16 Queso recipes in a tournament bracket. Anyone who picks the winner will be entered in a drawing to win a $350 Red Gold Queso Prize pack. This promotion will most likely draw a ton of traffic to their website, grow their Social Media presence, please their customers and ultimately, make money.

Another disclaimer to these real-time marketing efforts is that, unless your brand is an official partner and corporate sponsor of the NCAA, you have to be careful how you use trademarked terms such as, "March Madness" in marketing efforts. Of course, there are ways around this.

While this type of engagement may seem silly, March Madness for marketers is no joke. Brands, large and small, are spending more time and money every year in an effort to leverage trending topics on Social Media. In order to compete, you can't ignore how Social Media and real-time marketing can boost your brand.

If you want to participate in real-time marketing and have a team of Social Media experts consistently manage your online presence, contact Thoughtwire here or call us at 800-367-2570.

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