March Madness is upon us. For one month every year, the country is captivated by college basketball. Sixty-four teams from around the country compete for “One Shining Moment.” What supposedly began with 80 people in a bar in Staten Island, New York in 1977 has evolved into a global phenomenon. In 2017, an estimated 70 million brackets were filled out, totaling $10.4 billion in bets. Television ad revenue alone surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2017.
However, it isn’t just the ad revenue that makes this event such a compelling story for marketers. What is it about March Madness that attracts millions of people (who don’t ordinarily care about college basketball) to fill out brackets and become obsessed with players, teams and compelling backstories year after year? What can we learn that we can apply to our own marketing strategies?
Here are four takeaways for marketers to consider:
Know your audience.