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Loving The Online Era of Sports Marketing



This week I have been telling you a little more about myself. Now comes the revelation of something that has been the cornerstone of many relationships throughout my life and has already been passed on to the next generation as well. I am a New York Giants fan. I bleed blue during the NFL season. Have since I was old enough to know what a football is and it will be that way until the first shovel of dirt covers me. That’s why this weekend is pretty important as the Giants play to get into the playoffs.

And while I can’t be at the game I can live many things I could never experience during the years of the pre-social media era. I “like” the Giants on Facebook (I wish Facebook offered an option that was more than like but I’ll take it :-) ) and I was given this picture today through an update which got me pretty excited.

What is even more fascinating is that this team, which is one of the most traditional organizations in the NFL, has embraced social media and extended the fan experience so that the geographically challenged like myself and those that will be at the game can be a part of the game like never before.

These towels will be handed out on Sunday night and when 83,000 fans are waving them it will look cool on TV and in the stadium. But by giving so much real estate to a game keepsake to the promotion of the Twitter and Facebook presence and encouraging the fans to “Join the community” the organization is saying a lot here. They are saying that they want to expand the idea of the team knowing full well that there is “gold in them thar hills”. And as a fan I couldn’t be happier.

Sports teams have unique opportunities to connect with fans because the connection they have is already one of high emotion. Many businesses don’t have that luxury but there are those that do. Community sells. Whether it’s in selling a sports team or selling a product if you can get your biggest zealots to congregate in the same place, good things could happen.

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While we often grouse about the difficulties and the screw-ups and the inefficiencies of social media we need to remember to celebrate the best it has to offer as well. Sure it’s great to sell things through social channels but if you can somehow put a smile on a person’s face in the process there is more happening. Oh and that will likely lead to even more sales so it’s the ultimate business version of a win / win.

So whether you are a New York Giants fan or not, I hope you can appreciate the power of community being exhibited by their in game marketing efforts. I already feel a little closer to home than I might have otherwise and I can thank a Facebook update for that.

It’s this more emotional and less clinical approach to social media that creates real wins. Marketers of all things should take note. Measure all you want and “go with the data” but social is more about emotion and community than it is about analytics. Sure you have to measure but measuring emotion is not possible (all of you hard core science folks can argue if you want, it would be interesting to hear your point of view).

So what will it be for your social media efforts in 2012? is it just how much you can sell or is how much you may be able to impact someone on a deeper level something you should be considering?

In the meantime, GO BIG BLUE!