Super Bowl Marketing for Small Businesses: Not Worth the Limelight

With more than 100 million viewers, the Super Bowl is… well, it’s the Super Bowl of advertising! Reaching this many views is enticing for any business, but is it really worth it? Is a 30-second spot really worth up to $5 million (this number fluctuates given the timing of the advertisement)?

The answer: probably not. Unless you have a brand that needs to flex its muscles against its super-spending competitors, there isn’t much practical value involved in paying that much for a single advertisement.

Just Another Face in the Crowd

Given the deluge of commercials, performances, and big plays that occur on the most eventful Sunday of the year, it’s hard to make a lasting impact on the minds of consumers. Unless your brand is able to deliver a commercial that’s so over-the-top, so memorable, and so (likely) unrelated to your product, it’s not going to be impactful enough to influence the American public. And, if you’re trying to compete with the major corporations and their top-notch ad agencies, be prepared to overspend on a marketing company that inflates the value of its products and services.

At the end of the night, your ad won’t be remembered, or even if it is, it’s not going to translate into thousands of new customers. You’re basically throwing a penny into the fountain and hoping that something amazing is going to happen. Sure, it may make you feel good, but nothing is going to come to fruition. Splurging on a Super Bowl ad just isn’t worth it from a business standpoint. If you want to impress your friends and family, it will certainly accomplish that goal, but the return on investment of such a move is minimal, and more likely negative.

The 100 million-plus viewers may see your ad, but it is likely that many of these people aren’t within your target demographic. Unless there is a call to action, which will likely detract from the appeal of your ad, you won’t be able to see any tangible gains from your investment.

More Impactful Marketing Ideas

Think about how to reach the Super Bowl audience via a different platform. Come up with a social media strategy well before the game starts. Sit down and plan out which platforms you want to use, the products you want to tie to the game, and how your team is going to monitor and use the accounts before, during, and after the Super Bowl.

Then, tweet about the biggest ads and plays from your company’s Twitter account, using the appropriate hashtags to garner more attention. You can really make a splash if you have prepared content that’s related to the game, and if you’re able to tie it into some of the bigger ads. Do some research and see what some of the major themes are going to be, and then push your content in that direction. Focus your Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram posts on the bigger brands and impactful performers, and try to engage your audience when they interact with your brand.

If you want to make an impact via a television advertisement, think about a different event or time to market your brand. If you’re appealing to a specific region, there are plenty of sporting events that are televised regionally, and the cost of advertising at these events is minimal. A big college football game, or a March Madness college basketball game will have a huge viewership and won’t be inundated with such competition from major brands.

You can build your brand in a much more organic and effective manner by targeting smaller events. It may not be the Super Bowl, but your ROI will be significantly higher for a regional sporting event, political debate, fashion show, or normal programming. Do some digging and see what your target demographic may be watching – it could be a network TV show that’s not commanding such a high price for ad spots.

At the end of the day, you need to be realistic. Don’t go over the top on one event. Spread out your marketing efforts and try to appeal to only your potential customers. Unless your product or service is transformative and appealing to the masses, 100 million people aren’t going to be interested in your brand. More likely, your business is going to benefit from saving money and relying on a small and targeted marketing campaign.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.