Competitive Businesses Score Big during March Madness

It’s a rite of spring: As college basketball teams progress through the NCAA tournament, they celebrate important wins by climbing a ladder in front of the basket, pulling out a pair of scissors and cutting down the nets: snip-snip. That might just be what gave an Illinois urology clinic the idea for a brilliant marketing campaign. Starting last year, Urology Ltd. began offering customers the package deal of one vasectomy, one pizza and one weekend-long excuse to take it easy and watch the big dance.

But this company isn’t the only one to capitalize on the tournament’s hold on our imagination. From mom-and-pop shops to blue chips, smart businesses everywhere will get in on the action, says Dan Belmont, founder of The Marketing Arm firm (based in Dallas, where this year’s Final Four will be held) and a St. John’s fan.

“Who doesn’t have a team in the race?” says Belmont, a board member of the North Texas chapter of the National Sports Marketing Network. “And in America we love the underdog. We love seeing teams come out of nowhere and make a run at the national title…. A good promotion is one that might capture that underdog spirit. Any strategy where the experience is better because your brand is involved, we think, is a good promotion.”

Some ideas to market the Madness:

• Have customers take a long-distance shot at a miniature goal for a chance at a discount.

• Put the local team’s games on your TV and have a sale while they play.

• Hold a contest where consumers fill out brackets. Give the winner a huge prize.

• Encourage employees to wear team apparel to capture the spirit.

• Every time an underdog pulls an upset, make a small giveaway to customers in the store.

Remember, a number of terms, such as “March Madness” and “Final Four,” are trademarked. Don’t use them in advertisements.

Iconic basketball coach Bobby Knight—who won three NCAA championships in his career—gives his unique take on the best path to success in the game and in life.


Josh Ellis is the former editor in chief for SUCCESS magazine. Before joining SUCCESS in 2012, he was an accomplished digital and print sportswriter, working for the Dallas Cowboys Star magazine, the team’s gameday program, and Originally from Longview, Texas, he began writing for his hometown newspaper at 16.

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