What Marketers Learned in March

Each year as March rolls around, the NCAA’s most hyped up tournament begins. March Madness occurs over three weeks as teams compete in regional tournaments that narrow down to a final contest between the top two teams. Although the NCAA is a non-profit organization, the marketing surrounding this yearly event has been a slam dunk.

First, the NCAA has done an incredible job branding the tournament. Creating brand identities through alliteration (ex. March Madness, Sweet 16, Elite Eight, Final Four) the NCAA has made these terms stick even to those who don’t watch the tournament. Constructing verbiage that is recognizable to fans along with non-fans creates a much larger audience for advertisers, which enables them to leverage marketing investments.

March Madness along with its clear brand and image is also broadcasted over a variety of different media platforms. From television networks to YouTube to their own specific site March Madness Live that can be viewed on numerous different devices (computers, tablets, Apple TV, Roku players, etc.) By expanding the reach and ease for viewers they are much more likely to tune into the tournament, which again is a great incentive for advertising.

Social media has also had a major influence on the success of March Madness. Social media has become a way for fans and commenters alike to interact and discuss the tournament. The more platforms that fans are active on, the further the brand can be promoted.


So what should marketers take away from the marketing techniques used by the NCAA?

  1. Create content that can be easily used by digital, traditional, and social media to publicize your product, events, or brand.
  2. Create games, apps, and contests that not only implement the focus of your event or product through the competition but also provide a worthwhile incentive for your customers through prizes.
  3. Establish slogans, logos, and terms that are simple to remember. This will allow you to broaden your targeted audience and will increase engagement.

Being that March Madness has become one of the most popular sports tournaments, savvy marketers should pay attention to the successful marketing strategies utilized by the NCAA.