Frugal Ways to Market in Big Events

Low-cost Marketing

The action in the recently concluded FIFA World Cup was not limited to the field. Nike and Adidas locked horns over marketing dominance, an argument which has been building up over the past years. Adidas claimed victory with the most teams sporting its wares in the World Cup Final. It did not come cheap. Estimates peg the total World Cup TV advertisement spending at $68 billion, and $56 billion. This advertising spending spectacle is not limited to soccer either. The recent Super Bowl had TV advertisers shelling out an average of $4 million for a 30 second spot. The huge costs associated with big event advertising has set the barrier all but made large event advertising seemingly inaccessible to small to medium sized businesses.

Even for businesses that do advertise at mega-events, there is considerable risk associated with “bet the farm” type advertising campaigns. It was estimated that retailers in England lost hundreds of millions of pounds, in anticipated sales, due to England’s premature exit from the World Cup. Conversely, US companies that jumped on the World Cup bandwagon enjoyed the benefits of Team USA’s great tournament performance, in the way of higher sales.

This presents a conundrum for businesses, large and small, who wish to either increase or maintain their sales during such events. There is, however, immense opportunity, waiting to be exploited, around these events. USA’s surprise performance in the World Cup ensured an increased interest in the games, and consequently increased sales for those businesses that leveraged the moment.

From cookies to a game plan

When the lights went out in the Superdome during the 2013 Super Bowl in New Orleans, Oreo was swift in tweeting a graphic saying, ‘You can still dunk in the dark.’ The tweet went viral in minutes, giving the company publicity worth millions. It was a moment that any business could have cashed in on, but the mix of luck and quick wit was perfect for Oreo. In this case, Oreo wasn’t successful because of its marketing budget. In fact, any size company could have scooped up this advertising worth millions of dollars, if they just seized the opportunity. 

While such moments are highly desirable, you have to be ready for the opportunity. Thus, it is prudent to develop a strategy leading up to a big event. As a first step, it is crucial to identify the relationship that your industry or business has with the event. Doing so will make it easier for you to come up with winning ideas. While the connection might not be apparent, a little creativity can rake in profits.

For starters, you could simply put the logo of the local team on your website and storefront. Next, consider making and prominently displaying products related to major sporting events on your homepage. For example, if you run a bakery in Seattle with the NFL season around the corner you could make Seahawks themed biscuits, display it on your homepage and show your support.

A display of open support to a team, or event, has a dual advantage. You can profit from the popularity of the an event or big game, and you have the opportunity to create an affinity with your customers which extends beyond the purchase. Remember that the event, at most, might only last for a few weeks, and so will the associated increased profits. To maintain the growth, you will need to use this window of opportunity to extend your brand and awareness to a wider audience.

In our connected world, it is possible to reach an audience of millions through interesting content. Building an online presence, and using it efficiently to reach and engage your customers has become the primary requirement for any successful business. Profiting from big events do not necessarily require a large advertising budget. It simply needs creativity, interesting content, and having a game plan. If you are still not convinced that your business could benefit from major events, have a look at the popularity of Google’s doodles.


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