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Talking Points: How Marketers Can Make the Most of a Major Sporting Event

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?

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