Small Business Events Win: 5 Big Game Tactics

What Can You Learn From Super Bowl Advertisers?

Location of Big Game EventWonder what your small business has in common with Super Bowl advertisers?

You probably wish your business generated as much revenue as a single Super Bowl ad costs. (Hey–don’t we all?)

While I can’t promise you big revenues, I can show you how to imitate the giant advertisers to improve your sales with small business events.

For most of the big game advertisers and sponsors, the Super Bowl is a key element of their marketing plans. They leverage a major sports event. Like the competing football teams, they’ve got staff supporting their game-related efforts.

KEY POINT=> Their big game marketing cost is incorporated into their annual budget. It includes advertising, media, related promotions and product pricing.  Since it’s been done for years, it’s taken as a must-have.

By contrast, your small firm’s marketing probably runs on autopilot without a coach (aka a marketing manager).

Yet, like Super Bowl advertisers, you need to continually keep your name in front of your target audience.

Small businesses events WIN!

Leverage events important to your business and your customers. Here are two different examples that highlight how you can do this.

  • Lion’s Brand Studio. The showcase store of this family owned business sells their popularly priced yarn and pocketbook-friendly classes. They offer a monthly calendar of free events such as designer presentations and movie nights to get knitters into the store where they buy product.
  • Razor Social. Ireland based Ian Cleary, a social media expert, is far from the US social media scene. To gain traction, Ian attends a number of key events on his own dime, specifically Social Media Marketing World and Content Marketing World. Ian plans his trips to ensure  he gets great content to fill his blog and makes connections that he can’t do from his office. As a result, Ian’s taken his business blog from unknown to top social media blog.

5 Actionable tips for winning small business events

Here’s a 5 point winning game plan to include small business events in your marketing.

1. Create a marketing plan.

Accept that marketing can’t be an afterthought.

Lessons from the big boys: Make your marketing plan an annual exercise.

  • Incorporate your business goals with tangible metrics. Specific numbers are critical to your success.
  • Understand your key customer. Develop a marketing persona so you can inspire them and make them feel special.

2. Develop a regular promotional plan.

You need to get your message out on a regular basis.

Lessons from the big boys: Plan your marketing promotions.

  • Schedule regular communications across different channels and platforms.
  • Leverage existing resources. Transform other types of communications into quality content.

3. Leverage existing events.

At a minimum, use traditional holidays like Valentine’s Day.

This year’s big game is in “New York” by which I mean East Rutherford, NJ (which no true New Yorker would ever consider New York!) As a result, New York City and surrounding New Jersey towns are using this event to mount big celebrations around the actual game.

Lesson from the big boys. Take advance of planned events outside of your business.

  • Look for local or special events where you can make a splash.  For example, Ian doesn’t create his own events; he attends other people’s events.
  • Create a strategy around these events. At least, integrate these events into your on-going marketing. This means change your messaging to reflect the event.
  • Provide a budget. If possible, put some additional resources behind these efforts.  This doesn’t mean putting your business at risk.

4. Give your small business event legs.

Don’t leave your event marketing to stand on its own.

Lesson from the big boys. Create related marketing to support these big event investments.

  • Incorporate hooks to drive people to your store or website.  Use contextually relevant calls to action.
  • Integrate event marketing into your on-going sales process. Events aren’t a stand-alone proposition.

For example, Ian creates on-going content for Razor Social at the events he attends while Lions Brand Studio has a regular Knitting doctor to help customers with their projects when they encounter problems.

5. Measure the results from your small business event.

Track the amount of business that your events helped drive. It can be as simple as tracking sales from a specific day and comparing it to an average day.

Lesson from the big boys: Track, test and improve your marketing.

  • Include a way to measure your event results. Have customers purchase on a specific day or use an email. You need some way to track these sales.


You can succeed at making a splash that gets your customers into your store or contacting your business just as Super Bowl ads drive sales and buzz. It’s a matter of planning your marketing to include small business events appropriate to your offering.

What small business events do you use to extend your marketing?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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Photo Credit: End Zone Fans by Ted KerwinCC BY 2.0 DEED

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