What the NFL Can Teach the Self Storage Industry About Marketing
After a 2020 season that was abnormal, to say the least, the NFL is back. Pro football is getting back to business both on and off the field, with the season opener broadcasting live on Thursday, September 10. Ticket sales are showing that the fans want to come back, and full stadiums are expected.
Football, however, is more than touchdowns and tailgates. It’s about using strategies to win, adjusting to changes, connecting with its audience, and, of course, keeping the fans happy. Like football, self storage is about more than its obvious elements – space and convenience. It’s all about using a marketing company with the experience and resources to attract customers, drive results, and keep the tenants happy.
With strategic marketing, powerful branding, and top corporate partnerships, the NFL is a master at attracting large audiences. Even in a down year, with a drop in viewership because of the pandemic and a host of controversies, data from Statista shows that NBC’s Sunday Night Football had 17.4 million viewers.
Despite last season’s issues, the NFL can still teach your business some lessons in marketing. Keep reading to get some actionable NFL marketing strategies that you can implement into your own business.
Marketing Takeaways From the NFL
Marketing Doesn’t Stop After the Superbowl
After the champagne corks have popped, the confetti has been cleared, and the parade has ended, the marketing doesn’t stop. The NFL understands that fans have a never-ending thirst for sports. Fresh content on different platforms keeps its presence strong on social media. They maintain top-of-mind awareness by posting content on Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, podcasts, and more. Fans love it and they never get enough. From the combines to the draft and mini-camps, the NFL is in the business of keeping their fans informed. Even after an atypical 2020 season, the 2021 NFL draft was the third most watched ever.
ProTip: In the current digital environment, it’s not easy to gain audience attention. Every day, your customers are bombarded with thousands of ads. Once you have someone’s attention, make your best effort to keep it. After your next industry trade show or conference, stay on your customer’s minds by posting engaging social content that gives your prospects value and entertainment. Implement an email campaign and make sure your website is up-to-date. Host an onsite charity event or garage sale. Keep the momentum going and watch your business grow.
When Something Goes Wrong, Fix it and Move On
The NFL has a clear mission statement. “We unite people and inspire communities in the joy of the game by delivering the world’s most exciting sports and entertainment experience.” Over the last few seasons, they seem to have forgotten the true meaning of that statement.
Unfortunately, the league became divided over the National Anthem debate and players rights. Instead of confronting the problems and focusing on the game and the fans, the NFL mishandled these issues. They didn’t do a good job of communicating clear policies and realistic solutions. Instead, they angered even some diehard fans and lost viewers.
There are two lessons to be learned here. (1) Controversy, unless it’s a bad call by the referee, is not something that adds to the fun and excitement of the game. If you talk to a hardcore fan, they’ll tell you that football is an escape from what’s going on in the rest of the world. It’s about competition and entertainment (and beer). (2) Don’t rest on your past success. Even the NFL makes mistakes, and mistakes sometimes cost viewers.
ProTip: If you have disappointing news for a self storage customer, don’t muddle the issue with mixed messages and vague responses. Certainly, a less than stellar review should be handled with respect and honesty. Clear communication is the best way to manage a regretful situation. Don’t rest on your past success even if you’re a market share leader. Customers don’t always want to hear the truth, but, with your guidance, they will handle the situation. Don’t make mistakes that cost you customers.
Open the Mind and Touch the Heart
Humans are not all the same. Some are analytical. They enjoy statistics and use their logistical and problem-solving skills, along with data and insights, to armchair quarterback, play Fantasy Football, and bet money on every aspect of the game.
Others love the “feel good” stories. They want to hear the heart-warming accounts of players who visit childrens’ hospitals and volunteer for local charities. They cry watching the single mom cheering from the stands who raised her son on next to nothing but got him to the NFL. And don’t forget about the intense emotions that are present on the field after a big play. The NFL knows that people thrive on using both sides of their brain, and they use that knowledge very effectively.
Pro Tip: You can use the same strategies with your customers. Remember, everyone is different and everyone has different perceptions. Humanize your marketing with stories of how you were able to simplify a long-distance move for a young family by helping them with some creative storage solutions. Collaborate with local charities for back-to-school and food drives. Use infographics and visuals for your analytical customers, and create case studies to demonstrate your success. If you can engage both the heart and the mind, you’ll be ahead of the game.
The NFL is a master at branding. They bring people together like no other entity. Their logo is licensed onto everything from jerseys to underwear to earrings. When you attend a game, the logo is omnipresent. From digital signage to soda cups, it’s everywhere. Did you know that the NFL’s branding policy requires that their logo appear on every single piece of equipment worn by the players? Every team, athlete, and broadcast works together with the NFL to create their identity.
ProTip: Build your brand identity in the same way. Those notepads and pens with your company name and logo and the signage you use in and around your building are all helping to create your brand identity. When you attend a show or conference, use engaging giveaways that feature your brand. Everything you and your team do and say should work in tandem to connect with your mission and build your brand.
Don’t think that you need a huge NFL budget to be a huge success. All you need is perseverance, diligence, a positive attitude, and a marketing company that understands how to make you successful and keep you winning.