It came to my city this year. This thing called the NFL Draft.
Some would call it a football fan’s ultimate pre-game off-season rally to celebrate the country’s newest gladiators whom they will follow religiously. To others who live or work in Center City Philadelphia near the Franklin Institute, it’s a people-moving and parking nightmare. (Just ask my daughter whose college is less than a block away - who’s sleeping on her studio floor at school this week to avoid the mayhem.)
To NFL marketers, it’s truly a phenomenon. It’s an internationally televised event with sellout crowds of the sport’s most die-hard fans strutting their team regalia, cheering wildly at every 10 minute, then 5 minute pick, ushered in by chimes on elaborate sets, uber dramatic countdowns, electified by crowd-stirring jumbotrons. Yes, a phenomenon. With swirling stats of each player, debating commentators, and a social media frenzy of opinions and predictions.
For someone who is hardly a sports fan (except when her kids were playing on teams)… I have to question… why all the hoopla? Why all this pomp and circumstance? We’re kids on a bench. And the coach is picking his team. But this is on steroids. Fancy suits, backstage passes, face-painted fans, world-wide press, roving spotlights. And those jerseys – customized with the right player’s name, with the right team – how do they make them so quickly?
As a marketer, it all makes sense. They are simply promoting the promotion.
No matter how big an event you have – even as giant and as beloved as the NFL season and the Super Bowl – you have to continually promote the promotion. Build excitement, pump up the brand, gain momentum for the product. That’s why smart marketers – no matter how small their event or campaign – do things to drum up interest before and after a promotion.
It’s why a company sends an email inviting you to an open house or special sale... then remind you again the day before. It’s why a campaign worker calls you at dinnertime the week before a town election. Why the best salespeople follow up with an email or call before a visit… to better secure their appointment. Or branders tell the world “I’m here” on social media. Why thousands of advertisers give away promotional products to generate interest and recall about their products and services, on a product that usually sticks around long after the event.
They’re just some of the ways that smart marketers are promoting the promotion. Add to it. Push it. Pump it. Personalize it. (Just like those jerseys ironed on in under two minutes for the draft… more on that later.)
So when launching your next promotion – after you’ve nailed down your plan to market you, your brand, your products and services, your event -- ask yourself, “Now what can I do to promote the promotion?”
Sure, none of us have that NFL budget. But we do have guerrilla roll-up-your-sleeves ingenuity. We can do little extras to ensure our best prospects get the message multiple times. Because it’s important. Our time is valuable. Our resources are precious. And often it’s that extra promotion – that extra play - that scores the touchdown.
So what are you doing to promote your promotion?
The NFL worked out a way to have each new draft pick holding his own customized jersey just minutes after his name is called. Want to see how they do it? I'm proud to say I know the great people at Stahl's who handle the process. Here’s a video from the New York Times showing how. Just goes to show you… when there’s a will (or a great promotion to be had) there’s a way to get it done.
Mary Ellen Sokalski
Diva of Direct Marketing.