Get in the Game

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest annual events in the U.S. It is a shared experience for millions of people regardless of class, race, gender, affiliation, or even a genuine love of football. It also represents the hard work of people at the top of their game, culminating in a stunning display that grabs headlines and keeps people talking for weeks, months, and years to come. Who doesn’t remember Mean Joe Green, Terry Tate the Office Linebacker, or the Budweiser frogs? The teams and halftime entertainers are always good, too, but we’re talking about the commercials.

Super Bowl commercials are longer, more provocative, and feature highly-recognizable icons to attract attention, create awareness, and entertain—all resulting in a memorable experience for viewers. Produced by top marketers and advertising agencies, these spots are expensive to create and buying ad time during the event costs millions more. All for a commercial that will probably never air again in its entirety (though with the advent of sites like YouTube, viewers can watch on demand). It’s enough to get business-minded people questioning the return on investment.

It’s all about reach

Saying that the Super Bowl is big may be too vague or such a cliché that it fails to really capture its magnitude. A recent infographic from Nielsen illustrates how viewers watch and connect.  Last year 111.3 million Americans watched the big game on TV and every year for the past six years the number has increased. That’s why Monday morning even people who somehow missed the game entirely heard all about the infamous kiss in the GoDaddy spot. The Super Bowl is a rare opportunity for marketers to reach a very large, very diverse audience. While quantifying the return on investment is difficult, getting people interested and talking about their products and services is invaluable, keeping their company top of mind.

The big game isn’t for everyone

If you can’t afford to produce multi-million dollar commercials (let alone the ad space to air them), you’re not alone. Most businesses can’t, and, even if they could, it may not be the best way to market their business. Determining what marketing tactics to use and how to use them depends on your operation, your business goals, and your audience. Is your goal to get new customers, keep existing customers engaged, or to increase average purchase size? The over-arching theme is to increase profits, and spending money to do that can seem counterintuitive. But you don’t have to spend millions, thousands, or even hundreds if you don’t have the budget.

Find one that plays for you

You can capitalize on inexpensive or even free tactics like social media marketing, DIY direct mail, or email. There are a number of systems and tools available to make coordinating your efforts quick and easy. Hootsuite, Constant Contact, and others can help you schedule and create your messages. And systems like the CaterTrax Platform offer built-in marketing tools like Twitter, QR codes, and a message center, allowing you to push messaging and promotions right from your business management software.

Even the big guys are using free tactics like social media. Oreo (a brand that needs no introduction) produced a $3.8 million spot for the Super Bowl this year, but during they blackout they went social and turned to Twitter, garnering over 15,000 retweets.

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