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Marketing Was the Real Winner at the Super Bowl

Small businesses should follow the proven techniques of the big brands.
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While much has been said about the lackluster football game, I for one am still cheering about all the Super Bowl marketing activity. The Super Bowl has become the marketers’ holiday -- the biggest brand event on the planet, bar none. It’s a celebration of big and small brands on television and off.

Yes, that’s right, even small brands participated in Super Bowl fever even without a $4 million advertising slot. 

This year the brands were particularly busy online and at the point of sale, signaling to me that it’s not just about the telecast anymore. Quite the contrary … just take a look at how Budweiser was able to get 34 million views of its “ puppy ” spot before the game even began. And how Newcastle beer created mock advertising spots on YouTube of famous Super Bowl advertisers to get into the action.

Related: Budweiser's Puppies Win the Super Bowl Commercial Game

There’s a lot you can do to ride the Super Bowl wave, even if you weren't in the Super Bowl itself. Here are a few lessons learned from all the brand activity this year to keep in mind as you formulate plans for next year, or for any pop culture marketing.

Lead with an insight. No matter what you do, always start with a keen understanding of your customer and include it in your communication. This will ensure relevance and engagement. Honda did a masterful job with Bruce Willis talking about safety of the ones you love in its Super Bowl spot. It stole the car show in my opinion.

Live in the moment. For these big pop culture events, it’s important to be present and to jump on the activity. We saw numerous brands do that all throughout the game. But it was the small fur companies that immediately commented on Joe Namath’s coat that got me smiling.

Related: Poll: What Was Your Favorite Super Bowl Commercial?

Show your personality. Don’t be afraid to show a human side. It’s OK to have a sense of humor and it’s OK to reflect who you are as a brand. RadioShack got lots of attention for very publically and very hysterically showing its faults, highlighting their plan to improve their brand. Social media is a great way to show your personality, but keep it consistent with your brand. DiGiorno Pizza is a shining example of a consistent brand tone with all of their “in the moment” tweets. The brand’s activity has put it in the consideration set of many consumers who may not ever have thought about buying a frozen pizza.

No matter how you slice it, marketing du jour is all about being in the moment, being a part of the commentary, and connecting with your customers where they are living, breathing, and enjoying. Small businesses are in a unique position to do just that.

Now onto the Olympics!

Related: A Budding Entrepreneur Says 'I Quit' to Her Boss as Millions of People Watch