As Minnesota gears up to host a certain high-profile football game next February (for the first time in 25 years), local marketers are already working to prepare for and get the most out of the big event. To help these professionals make smart marketing decisions, Bellmont Partners teamed up with Arik Hanson of ACH Communications to host the first in our new Talking Points discussion series, focusing on how to leverage the spotlight that will soon be shining on the North Star State.
Thirty marketers joined us for a riveting panel consisting of Tom McCulloch of client metroConnections, Jenn Schaal of Meet Minneapolis, and Steve LeBeau of Minnesota Business Magazine. These savvy industry insiders gave us the scoop on the buzz around town, and ways local businesses and organizations can catch the attention of the nearly 1.1 million visitors expected over 10 days leading up to the event. Here are three big takeaways from the discussion:
Focus on Minnesota. The game may be held in Minneapolis, but it’s Minnesota’s event. Find ways to focus content on Minnesota-related activities or products. Think: curling, ice fishing, cold-weather gear. The game will draw eyes, but the local culture and economy will keep folks coming back for more. Focus on what’s in your backyard, and rekindle local connections and partnerships to maximize your marketing efforts come February. Thinking beyond Minneapolis and St. Paul will also benefit businesses. We learned hotel rooms are being booked out as far as Chanhassen, and one audience member shared that venues and hotels in the St. Cloud area, for example, are booked up due to events that would have taken place in the Twin Cities that weekend being relocated to the greater metro area and beyond.
Solidify your online presence. The easiest way to gain attention around the event is to solidify your online presence. Whether it’s monitoring and responding to Yelp reviews or highlighting relevant content on social media, making sure your company or organization has a robust online presence is key. Our panelists also reminded the audience to make sure company websites are mobile-friendly. Visitors will be looking up local attractions and businesses right on their mobile devices.
Keep expectations in check. Winter months can often mean slower business in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. While the game will bring thousands of people and millions of dollars to the state, small and medium-sized businesses may not see a huge financial benefit. Traditionally, though, major sporting events like this tend to bring a nice, general uptick in business. Meet Minneapolis’s Jenn Schaal reminded the audience, “Keep doing what you’re doing, and do it better than ever.”
Get the most out of the national and international spotlight by planning ahead and keeping these suggestions in mind. How are you planning to boost your business during February?