Can’t Afford a Super Bowl Ad? Try These Marketing Strategies Instead!

Who do you like for Super Bowl XLVI? If you’re placing a bet, the Patriots are 3-point favorites over the Giants for Sunday’s game. However, the Madden simulation game (correct six of the last eight years) picks the Giants by an overtime field goal. Our predictions? Let’s see what each team managed to get right in their marketing techniques games. We’ll learn some valuable lessons in marketing strategies and make our own prediction for the Lombardi Trophy takers.

The Technique: Give Your Customers the Spotlight

Giants win the coin toss. They choose to receive. Oops! Patriots force a 3 and out. Punt! Scoreless in Indy.

Neither team came out as a winner or loser on Media Day. The real winners? 5,000 fans that happily paid $25 each for a chance to see the stadium, hear the players and coaches and get a chance to become part of the Super Bowl Story. Many of these fans could never afford to attend the actual Super Bowl but they got a taste.

Your company isn’t about you, your product, or even your employees. It’s about the people willing to spend hard-earned money in a sluggish economy on the goods and services you provide. Give your customers a platform. Allow them to post and comment on your website. Give them the spotlight and a chance to express their thoughts, insights, beliefs, and opinions. They’ll love you for it.

The Technique: Be an Expert

Brady steps back, forward pass to Welker – Touchdown, Patriots!

It’s no secret how the Patriots got to the Super Bowl; it was Tom Brady’s strong, lethally-accurate throwing arm. Brady is a true guru at the passing game. His expertise as a quarterback is also one reasons why the media swarmed to him on Media Day. When looking for insight on the biggest quarterback story of the year – Payton Manning’s football future – the media went to the most trusted source for QB expertise, Tom Brady.

Define yourself as the expert in your industry. Comment on posts, articles and editorials. Tweet relevant and helpful information. Write articles for other sites. This is how you stay relevant to your industry and become a source of not just products or services, but information, insight and other expert things.

Get involved on Q & A sites, such as Quora and LinkedIn. Answer questions from others about issues that you are knowledgeable about. Keep up on your industry research, both online and in trade journals. Find conferences that you are qualified to speak at. Use webinars to provide useful information to associates, customers and others interested in the industry. Speaking out and informing others on current issues and how they change things are the ways to establish yourself as an expert. Then people will begin coming to you.

Image courtesy of Google Images

Image courtesy of Google Images

The Technique: Set Yourself Apart.

Manning looks left, looks right, throws to Nicks – Touchdown, Giants! 7 all.

The Giants have a de facto home field advantage in Indianapolis this week. 700 miles from their home stadium, fans of his beloved brother are looking to redeem their own hideous season with a surrogate Manning win. The Giant’s aren’t just any team-come-to-town; they are a chance at redemption for frustrated Colts fans. The Giants didn’t create this situation but there’s no reason they can’t take advantage of it.

What sets you apart in your market? How can you be the Eli on Colt’s turf? If you don’t know what sets your company apart, your customers won’t either. Find your unique selling point – the #1 draw that sets you apart from all the rest. Sell it. Setting yourself apart includes establishing yourself as an expert, but it also means being on the cutting edge of new trends that affect the market. Be a leader, not a follower.

The Technique: Use Social Media

Ochocinco off the bench, Brady finds him deep – Touchdown: Patriots!

Chad Ochocinco isn’t even in the starting lineup for Sunday’s big game, but he’s catapulted his Patriots way ahead of the Giants on the social media scene. How far ahead? As of Tuesday, the Patriots had 300,000 Tweets for just 200,000 for the Giants. Ochocinco gave the Pats 107,000 Tweet mentions, while Tom Brady received a mere 32,000 and all the news surrounding Pats tight end Rob Gronkowski’s ankle injury gained just 21,000. Ochocinco has an astounding 3 million Twitter followers. Now that’s exposure!

Super Bowl XLIV is hands-down the most connected Super Bowl in history. Advertisers like Coca-Cola and Kia aren’t just willing to fork out the $3.5 million for a 30-second spot on NBC. They’re also forking out huge bucks for ads on the “second screens,” our iPhones, SmartPhones and tablet computers that we use to keep updated on the action.

Not using social media to its full advantage? Shame on you! It’s there and it’s free. But if you’re not going to use it correctly, it’s better that you don’t. Tweet regularly. Tweet things of value and interest. Don’t Tweet shameless sales pitches. Update your Facebook page with timely news and advice. Be one of the first to utilize Google +. Get on LinkedIn. Publish on DIGG. This is how to establish yourself as the go-to source of news and information in your industry.

But always be aware of the dark side of social media. Many people have damaged their reputation rather than boosting it because they used Twitter, Facebook and other outlets carelessly. Reread your posts before sending. Is it well-written? How will it be received by your audience? Is the post going to help your image or tarnish it? Use social media, but use it wisely.

The Technique: Promote the End Result

Manning connects with Cruz – Touchdown, Giants!

Fourteen games into the 2011 season, not many people were willing to wager on the Giants making the playoffs, nonetheless the Super Bowl. But Manning & Co. weren’t focused on their 7-7 record, they were focused on all the things they could do in the remaining games to turn things around. The end result? They’re now poised for the much-anticipated rematch of Super Bowl XLII; another chance at sweet redemption.

Whatever you are trying to market, nobody wants it. What they do want is the result of having that product or service. Promote the end result of what you’re offering. Will it make us skinnier? Younger-looking? Happier? Smarter? Score more? Sell this. When developing your marketing messages, don’t focus just on search engine results.

Make sure you’re giving readers and customers something of substance and value. Tell them why they need what you have to offer. Valuable content boosts search engine ratings, and poor content can hurt you. Engage your readers in discussions about why they want or need what you have to offer. Make it interesting. When people finish reading your content, you want to make sure they learned something new or gained something of value out of it. The end result? They’re willing to purchase your product or service to get the advantage it offers.

The Technique: Add Something New to Your Marketing Strategy

Brady with time, looks inside, finds Hernandez – Touchdown: Patriots!

One of the greatest challenges for the Giants this Sunday is likely to be the Patriot’s fast-paced, no-huddle offense. It adds an extra challenge for a defense that already has to keep all eyes on the seemingly clairvoyant Brady, who can read a defensive line blindfolded at 50 paces. Brady forces the defense to change up their look, and often.

Want to get attention for your product or service? Don’t hash out the same look week after week. This doesn’t mean re-designing your logo and webpage every month – you still want brand recognition. What it does mean is offering your customers something aside from the ordinary.

Everyone else printing coupons? Host a contest. Always putting out a weekly newsletter? Change it up by putting out regular email announcements that offer information and items of value and interest to the reader. Don’t depend on the same old techniques month after month. Brainstorm to find new ways to improve your messages. Think of new ways to inform, educate, entertain and gain customer loyalty.

The Technique: Get Exposure from the Current Environment

Manning takes the snap, fakes the handoff, finds Manningham – Touchdown, Giants!

We know how the Giants played their way to the Super Bowl but how have they managed exposure beyond just any team playing in the Super Bowl? They took advantage of the environment they were in. They calmly, quietly rode the hyperbole surrounding The Battle of New York and came out on top. Fans of Peyton’s turned to little brother for some hope in a hopeless season. It doesn’t hurt the Giants any that Colts fans will take a Pats loss at just about any cost. The Giants ride into Indy with more fanfare than Mario Andretti.

What’s the newest, latest, greatest, biggest, most controversial thing in your industry? Are you talking about it? Chances are this is what people are already searching for online. Make sure searches relative to the biggest news in your industry lead people to your website.

What’s going on online, in the news and on social sites can always be exploited to your advantage. If it’s good, ride the wagon. If it’s bad, tell people how to cope or how to avoid it. Use what’s going on outside of your control to shape your own future. Put your own spin and insight on the events. Let your customers and your peers know how the new events will affect the way things are. Use the current environment to establish yourself as an expert.

The Technique: Entertain Them!

Brady scores, Manning answers – Give ’em both a Touchdown!

There’s no arguing that both teams entertained their fan base this season. Each team went 2-2 in Preseason games, after which the Patriots took off to a 13-3 Regular Season and pulled off a spectacular 45-10 win over the Broncos to take their Division. They then squeaked out a field goal ahead of the Ravens to take the Conference, and the U.S. troops would likely give the Pats entertainment points for their cheerleaders’ performance in Afghanistan.

Field Goal, Patriots Cheerleaders!

Image Courtesy of Google Images

The Giants began the Regular Season with a lackluster 7-7 but went on to mount 10 wins to their 8 losses, a 24-2 stomp down of the Falcons to take the Wild Card, a declarative 37-20 victory over the Packers to take the Division and a 3-point victory over the surprisingly good 49ers for their Conference win.

The message? Keep your readers wanting more. Make them laugh, cry, get angry, and become involved. If you’re entertaining them, they’ll stick around. And then they’ll come back for more. Instead of writing an essay on a topic, form it as a question and answer format or as a series of humorous or insightful quotes. Use emotion to punctuate what you’re saying. Most any emotion is effective, as long as it’s appropriate.

Make people angry about potential legislation that could damage the market. Make them laugh at the jokers who got everything wrong. Make them cry for the children. Make them feel, keep them entertained, and they’ll stick around to hear your message.

The Technique: Learn to Foresee Changes

Brady under pressure, tucks and runs – Touchdown, Patriots!

Aside from an arm that is the envy of every college kid in the free world, Brady can read a defense like a dime store paperback. Slight changes in formation, subtle eye movements, shifts in foot positions and the twitch of an arm muscle cue Brady into what the defense has planned and allows him to make big plays out of small ones.

To be effective at marketing in today’s rapidly-changing mobile and social environment, you’ve got to look ahead. Read the trends in your industry and in marketing as a whole. Spot ways to take advantage of the next big thing while avoiding those that are marked for disaster.

Learn to use eCommerce, Pintrest, Tumblr and other new tools to share your messages, photos, links, great quotes and multi-media messages online. Look at quickly moving trends. How are people responding? Are people flocking to the newest social media site or waiting for others to make the move? Be on target by predicting where trends are headed and which ones are worth the effort.

The Technique: Know When It’s Time to Move in a New Direction

Giants down, a Hail Mary from Manning connects with Nicks – Touchdown: Giants!

Poorly executed plays. Missed catches. Injuries. The Giants’ receivers didn’t start the season exactly getting the job done. Actually, since Super Bowl XLII in 2007, the Giants have struggled at the receiving position. But late-season health and new strategies for the offensive line led to season stats of 197 catches, 3,251 yards and 20 touchdowns. Not a bad turnaround.

Sometimes the best laid plans don’t exactly work out. Rather than learning to live with ho-hum stats and humdrum results, learn to recognize when it’s time to pick a new path for your marketing strategies. If you aren’t getting the results you want, go in a new direction. A great way to find your new direction is to get input from your customers. What do they want? What do they need? Ask them, and listen to their answers. Then find a way to give it to them.

Image courtesy of Google Images

Image courtesy of Google Images

Final Score: Patriots 35, Giants 35, Cheerleaders 3

(Did football ever have a better marketing technique than cheerleaders?)

The Super Bowl is the most watched show on television, but it isn’t all about football – it’s about marketing too. Millions of viewers tune in, not just for the game, but for the hype of the game created by champion marketers and advertisers.  So take a little advice from this post. It may not get you too far with your bookie, but it can certainly help you run up the score on your opponents in the marketing game.

About the author

Christy Wilson