How Local Businesses Can Get Their Share Of The $15.3B Super Bowl Pie
Back in January, during Super Bowl season, Mad Media's Founder & CEO, Tessa May Marr had the opportunity to contribute to a Forbes article regarding marketing for the big game.
Pro tip: For Tessa's quote, scroll down to the last section (it's a hefty article!)
[This article is repurposed from Forbes author, Pamela N. Danziger.]
The National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend upwards of $15.3 billion associated with the upcoming Super Bowl, which will air February 4 with the Philadelphia Eagles battling the New England Patriots in US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. While planned viewership will remain stable at 118.5 million people this year, adults are expected to increase spending by 8.5% over last, or an average of $81.17 per adult.
“Consumers are carrying strong spending momentum from the holiday season into their Super Bowl festivities,” said Phil Rist, evp of Prosper Insights & Analytics, which conducted the survey of over 7,000 Americans.
While food and beverage businesses will benefit most from this year’s Super Bowl spending, team apparel and accessories brands and businesses that sell televisions and decorations will also attract new customers leading up to game day.
In an effort to explore ways that businesses, not just in the team and host cities but across the country, can make the most of the marketing opportunities the Super Bowl represents, I researched and found some cool ideas for cross-promoting local businesses with a Super Bowl theme.
Super Bowl means party time
Over 40% of the consumers NRF/Prosper surveyed plan to host (18%) or attend (28%) a Super Bowl party and another 5% will watch the game on-premise at bars and restaurants. That means food and beverage purchases will be top of mind on game day and leading up to it.
Valassis, the “intelligent media delivery” company known for its Sunday newspaper coupon supplements, dug more deeply into people’s party plans. What they found is that local small businesses have an outsized marketing opportunity to capture the more than $50 on food and beverage purchases the consumers surveyed have planned. Valassis is owned by Harland Clarke Holdings, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of MacAndrews & Forbes Incorporated.
“Shopping around Sunday’s Big Game presents a valuable opportunity for restaurants and retailers of all sizes to boost sales and start the New Year strong,” said Curtis Tingle, chief marketing officer, Valassis. “Based on our findings, small, local businesses should expect to see the biggest gains as consumers value convenience and proximity above all else when it comes to hosting parties for this event.”
They advise local businesses to be top of mind in advance of game day, with nearly one-third of party hosts planning to shop up to a week before, with the majority making purchases a day or two before. In planning their party menus, Valassis finds that one-third of shoppers will be guided by in-store circulars looking to save up to $15 on their party purchases through deals, coupons and other offers.
“This is an important time for small businesses – particularly restaurants and pizza shops – to be top of mind with local consumers,” said Steve Hauber, president, Valassis Local Solutions. “Those making a concerted effort to reach shoppers with hyper-local marketing can expect to see a greater impact on sales as game-day consumers prefer to order out and pick up food close to home.”
Think outside of your box
So you don’t operate a restaurant, pub or café, you can still host a Super Bowl party, advises marketing strategist Tabitha Jean Naylor. This is a prime opportunity for businesses like furniture stores, electronics stores, sporting goods, men’s boutiques or others that have room to mount a big-screen television and room for people to mix and mingle. “For example, a bookstore could hold a Super Bowl event for patrons and offer discounts on all sports-themed books for the duration of the game.”
And for book stores, as well as other businesses that will be rooting for the NFL team, they can offer Temple University Press’ The New Eagles Encyclopedia by Ray Didinger (and the late Robert Lyons), claimed as the must-read accompaniment for everyone who “bleeds green.”
Engaging customers through social media is another way for small businesses to reach out to their community. Naylor has an idea for that, noting the growing popularity of Instagram videos. “You could invite users to post their best Super Bowl-themed videos, whether that means them wearing their favorite uniforms, or playing football in their backyards. Viewers could then vote on their favorites who would receive some kind of freebie or a discount toward a purchase.” To make the most of your social media opportunities, make sure all profiles are up dated and consider keyword optimization for “Super Bowl.”
Small businesses should use social media to promote Super Bowl offerings with an engagement-driving hook, such as tying purchases leading up to game day with specials after the game to encourage repeat business, suggests Landon Ledford, of Double L Brands, that offers branding and marketing services along with fractional CMO support. “Build the buzz early by handing out tokens until the game for everyone that comes in and does something special, like downloading your app or signing up for your email list or spends a certain amount before game day. If done correctly, you get more value from these customer and give them a reason to come back.” Restaurants should also consider specials offered on Yelp, GrubHub, or OpenTable.
And be sure to announce all Super Bowl specials to your email database too, since for most small businesses, email marketing is one of their most effective marketing tools. And be proactive, getting the message out sooner, rather than later.
Support your team
Obviously people in Philly and Boston will be all in for their respective teams, but people everywhere have a stake in the game. So no matter if you are located in Des Moines, Dallas, Denver or Detroit, pick a side and put that team at the center of promotions.
For example, green beer, green cocktails and green smoothies will be on tap in many Pennsylvania restaurants pubs. PJ Whelihan’s, a local PA & NJ-based chain of 16 restaurants, will be offering its flagship wings under the “Fly, Eagles, Fly” banner to eat in or take out. They will also sponsor a photo booth in each restaurant with props and swag for game day selfies and group shots.
In NYC, Atwood Sports Bar and Lounge is the official Patroits partner and will host an indoor tailgate party in the dining room on game day with its chefs serving. Then for every Patriot score, complimentary red/blue shots will be offered.
And Boston-based writer Mitchell Hall recommends restaurants do special game-day menus with nods to each regions’ specialties. So for Patriot supporters clam chowder, lobster rolls and Boston baked beans and for Eagles fans Philly cheese steaks, soft pretzels and hoagies should be on offer. Hall says, “If you’re local, offering such dishes is an expression of regional pride, and if you’re not, it’s something enticingly exotic.”
Profit with non-profits
And while your business is supporting a team, you can also support a cause. A truly novel idea comes from Finnegans, a Minnesota-based beer company that donates 100% of its profits to local food banks. Using the latest AR technology, and working with local advertising agency Martin Williams Advertising and Pixel Farm, Finnegans found a way to put a commercial on television sets – for free – during the big game.
Debuting on February 4, viewers can watch the commercial simply by downloading the “Finnegans Big Game TV Takeover” app and pointing their phone or tablet at any television screen. The app is currently available for download via the Apple App Store or Google Play.
“We don’t advertise in the traditional sense because our profits are used to feed local families in need, so we often create novel ways to reach people,” said Jacquie Berglund, founder and CEO of Finnegans. “Through this effort, we’re excited to bring national attention to a Minneapolis-based effort to fill food shelves with local produce.”
“When you know your media budget is the smallest number allowable by math, it creates a unique challenge that forces you to rethink what’s possible,” added Steve Casey, executive creative director at Martin Williams.
Take that, Budweiser and all the other brands that are ponying up $5 million or more for a 30-second Super Bowl commercial.
Keep the momentum after game day
Marketing strategist Tabitha Jean Naylor shares an idea to keep small businesses’ marketing ball rolling after game day. “One of the most effective ways to take advantage of the Super Bowl is to tie the results of the game into some kind of promo or discount. For example, a business could offer a discount to customers for the week after the game, if the quarterback of either team throws for more than 500 yards.” Other ideas including promotions around point spread, yards gained or a raffle with customers betting on a result with a grand prize awarded after the game.
This was the thinking behind Minneapolis-based JB Hudson Jewelers’ promotion offering refunds up to $10,000 for all purchases made over the course of 5 days in January if it snows more than 4” on game day. Of course, people must stop by to get their refund.
Super Bowl is super day for marketers
And finally, even for non-football fans, like me (though being based outside Philadelphia, I have more of a stake in the game this year), but who every year watch the game for the commercials, Tessa May Marr, of Mad Media Marketing, stresses the importance for everyone to be involved. “The Super Bowl much like other major trending events become really hot topics with social networks. And brands can get involved here with everyone. The key is to find a relevant tie in,” she said.
For example, her agency will be live tweeting throughout the game commenting on the commercials as they play, which she notes is what marketers like me come to watch. And being able to respond to any event in real time can pay off big. It’s live television, after all.
“If you remember Super Bowl XLVII back in 2013, when the lights went out, Oreo did a stand out job of capitalizing on a big event like this (where they had no obvious tie in) and stealing the show with their impeccable timing and delightful humor,” Marr recalled. “That’s not something they could have planned. Which is a good reminder to us all (big brands and small) to stay agile and be ready to react quickly when an opportunity presents itself!”
In conclusion, the Super Bowl is a super day for marketers large and small, national and local. It’s a happening that a huge number of people get emotional about, opening the door for businesses to tap that emotion and build a lasting engagement. As Marr advises, “You’ve got to get creative and think outside the box sometimes, but if you can nail it, it can really work.”