After spending the last week in Vegas, gambling is on my mind. Over the last few years, I've graduated from a penny slot player to my new favorite, Blackjack. Between working 12-14 hour days, networking events, and an unfortunate bout with food poisoning, I didn't get as much opportunity to sharpen my skills on the Blackjack table as I might have hoped last week. However, one thing I did notice was the excitement over March Madness.
For those that do not follow college sports, March Madness is the moniker given to the annual NCAA college basketball tournament, where 68 teams vie for the national title. At the beginning of March, you hear significant buzz around "filling out your bracket". When you fill out your bracket, you are making predictions about who you think is going to make the top 16, 8, 4, 2 and even the winner. Typically, the more accurate you are in your predictions, the more money you win. You may compete against your friends, your co-workers, or even nationally - depending on how big you want to go.
You get a wide range of engagement - from those that are hard-core college basketball followers to those that play simply because it's fun to guess and sometimes you get lucky (me). No matter the motivation, there are an estimated 60 million to 100 million brackets filled out each year. How is that useful from a marketing perspective?
Interactive content drives higher engagement
A top priority for all content marketers is to create engaging content. In the 2016 B2B Content Marketing Institute Survey, 79% of marketers agreed that interactive content can have reusable value, increasing the number of repeat visitors and exposure.
What is classified as interactive content?
Any content that requires participation from the visitor can be considered interactive.
Creating a bracket for your industry
The types of interactive content listed above are most relevant to buyers in the earliest stages of the buyer journey - those who are still testing the waters to determine what their needs are and how your business may fit into that picture. One of the main goals is awareness - you cannot be a potential suitor if your name is not even in the pot.
Speaking of suitors, one brand that took the "bracket" idea and made it a part of their brand was the Bachelor franchise. At the beginning of each Bachelor or Bachelorette season, fans can create their "Bachelor" bracket - keeping them invested in the outcome of the show up through the final rose.
Another example of how a brand has utilized the interactive bracket is Neustar, whose goal is to help businesses determine what their key marketing metrics are by filling out this bracket.
We also see how a pet insurance company created the "Tournament of Tails: The Sweet 16 Shelter Pet Challenge", with the champion scoring a $5,000 donation to their shelter. The match-up took place on Facebook where fans commented to vote for the pet they'd like to advance. The pets that didn’t advance in each match-up still scored a donation for their shelter: $100 for “Sweet 16” finalists, $250 for the “Great Eight;” and $500 for the “Final Fur.”
Lead generation is a key goal for marketers
Brackets and interactive content are a great way to capture leads and start prospects down your demand funnel. When participants get to partake in a game and have a vested interest in your competition, they are more than willing to give up their contact information and more susceptible to engaging with your company for future activities.
Other benefits of interactive content include:
Data collection - visitors to your site want information that is tailored for them. Collecting information via assessments or preferences from brackets can enable a much more personalized experience and fuel future content development.
Education vs. selling - people do not want to be sold to. Interactive content allows individuals to only see the topics that interest them
Higher conversion - it's important that people are not passive when visiting your site. Interactive content is nearly twice as effective in converting visitors than passive content.
Now that you understand the value that brackets and other interactive content can bring to your marketing strategy, test it out for your business and share with us!