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Lessons to be Learned: The NFL and Its Marketing

It’s that favorite time of year for millions of Americans: football is back! Unless you have lived under a rock this past weekend, you have heard about it, especially on social media. Facebook feeds were full of people talking about opening weekend, and Twitter was ablaze with Dallas’ miraculous comeback against the Giants on Sunday night. One thing is certain: NFL has definitely injected itself into the lives of Americans, resulting in 35% sports fans naming football as their preferred sport, according to a Harris Poll. There are a few reasons why the NFL is winning with their marketing strategy, and there are a few concepts that can be applied to your marketing efforts.

  • Accessibility: One of the main reasons for the NFL’s success is the fact that football, as a whole, is readily accessible to fans. If you have DirectTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket, you can watch any game you want at home or on a mobile device in the middle of Walmart. Long gone are the days of seeing snippets of games during TV sports recaps. The NFL launched the NFL Network in 2003, allowing football fanatics to receive football-related news 24/7. Have you ever watched the NFL Network’s RedZone? It is seriously like crack for a football fan. The point is that the NFL  helped to make its product easy to consume, therefore increasing America’s appetite for all things NFL-related.
  • Keep Your Product Interesting: One of the worst things a company can do is just stay the course and not change with the times. The 2015 NFL season ushered in a huge change: extra points are now moved to the 15 yard line, allowing defenses the chance to earn two points on returns. It may not seem like a big change, but in 2014, extra point attempts had a success rate of 99.3%. After opening weekend, 4 teams missed extra points, which means this new rule change will absolutely affect the outcomes of some of the games, more so than ever.
  • Technology, Technology, Technology: Think about how fans can watch a game now: 360-degree cameras that allow multiple angles of plays. Digital chalkboards are available in which announcers can break down plays, audio coach-to-player communications. With technology helping the fan become closer to the game, brand loyalty becomes even stronger. And let’s talk about the technology in a fan’s hands: 70% of football fans watch the game on a second screen. Honestly, if something happened to a player, the first place I turn to is Twitter. Instantly, I can find out how severe a player’s injury is much more quickly than I could if I switch to ESPN for the same information.
  • Cater to Your Loyalists: One cannot talk about the marketing prowess of the NFL without acknowledging Fantasy Football. Mobile technology has helped to grow this loyalty program with an estimated 41 million fans playing Fantasy Football and spending an average of 8.7 hours a week building their ultimate football team. Just watch all the pre-game talk programs on the NFL Network and you will see Fantasy Football breakdowns and projections. Long gone are the days of fans just caring about their team; fans now care about players found on multiple teams, which just increases NFL’s brand awareness. It’s a win-win situation for both the NFL and fans to offer insights to those wanting an amazing fantasy team.

There are lessons to be learned by the NFL and its marketing strategies. They truly understand what it means to connect and engage with their audience, and they are also cognizant that tweaking is absolutely necessary so that their product does not become stale. If you need help with your digital marketing efforts, but you feel as though that strategy wouldn’t make it off the bench, contact On Target at (866) 998-6886, or contact us online. We have the content marketing expertise to help your team win. Oh, and How ‘Bout Them Cowboys!

Peace out,

Jen