Slam dunk marketing during the NBA season – with an assist from Insider

Nicolas Algoedt

Aug 27, 2021

Slam dunk marketing during the NBA season – with an assist from Insider Featured Image
Nicolas Algoedt

Aug 27, 2021

Table of Contents
  1. Tips on leveraging fans’ love of the game to raise brand awareness and increase conversion opportunities

  2. Who cares?

  3. Opportunities to net customer engagement

  4. Rebound for useful data to create personalized journeys

  5. Get in on the action

Tips on leveraging fans’ love of the game to raise brand awareness and increase conversion opportunities

Basketball is big business. Since that winter day in 1891 when Dr. James Naismith attached two peach baskets to railings ten feet off the gym floor at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts, the game has captured the attention of fans worldwide.

And there’s no bigger draw for fans than the National Basketball Association (NBA). Thirty professional teams across the USA and Canada have garnered a global fan base of over 1 billion. The league has more followers across social media– Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. – than any other sports federation in the world.

A fan base that large is an attractive pool of potential customers for retailers. Let’s take a quick dive into some enticing demographics and look at some ways to design winning marketing strategies to capture fans’ attention.

Who cares?

The NBA regular season typically stretches from mid-October to mid-April, with subsequent playoff series extending into June. With each team scheduled for 82 regular season games, there are over 2500 individual games watched live in person, on television, or followed on social media over the course of nine months.

The largest demographic of avid fans in the US are between the ages of 35 and 44 at 33%, with 27% of 18 – 34-year-olds described as avid fans. The numbers are fewer for enthusiastic fans in older demographics, but those who are described as casual fans remain fairly steady (between 27-35%) across all age groups.

One particularly big draw for even the most casual of fans is the NBA All-Star game, which is usually held in February. The game itself, played by the top-ranked players chosen from across all of the teams, is the standard 60 minutes. However, the spectacle is spread out over an entire three-day weekend with specialty events, such as the slam dunk contest, captivating audiences across multiple demographics.

Opportunities to net customer engagement

Retailers in the clothing industries already have a huge free-throw advantage as items such as jackets, t-shirts, hats– really anything emblazoned with team logos remain popular choices. Jerseys with the names and numbers of admired players are also big sellers. And of course, footwear endorsed by top-tier athletes continues to be a hot commodity.

Other industries can also catch a ride on the wave of NBA popularity, even if their products don’t necessarily have anything to do with the sports world. How is this accomplished?

The travel industry can score easily by marketing flights, hotel and hospitality stays, auto rentals, and restaurants connected to cities with NBA franchises as many customers are willing to pay to attend the games in person. 

Sometimes it can be as simple as acknowledging the existence of the NBA season. Food and beverage retailers can encourage fans to “stock up for the big game”, or advertise delivery options before or during the games. Textile retailers without licensed products can display items with the same colors used by the local NBA franchise, or individualized to specific users according to their favorite teams. 

If individual fan information already exists within your database, Insider’s AI-driven segmentation and cross-channel marketing tools can help you to deliver personalized messages to users using the social media options they are most likely to use.

Rebound for useful data to create personalized journeys

As the sale of third-party data has all but been cancelled, online businesses have to discover ways to grab users’ attention to engage with their apps or websites. Insider can assist retailers in this endeavor with easy-to-use tools such as banner management solutions and gamification

A typical new user journey may look something like the following:

  • A banner ad inviting users to answer NBA-related trivia questions
  • A gamified landing page with an appealing and easy-to-use activity based on NBA team and/or player information may lead to users identifying their favorites
  • An offer for discounts, free samples, or free shipping in exchange for more contact information
  • Subsequent predictive web-push messaging is tailored to the individual customer based on user segmentation leading to a seamless personal journey to conversion and brand loyalty

Get in on the action

The 2021-22 NBA season is already underway. It’s not too late to develop a related marketing strategy, however. There are still many games left to be played in the league’s 75th anniversary season. The NBA All-Star game is scheduled for February 20, 2022. There are opportunities aplenty for your brand to attract interest from among the hundreds of millions of basketball fans.

Another shot not to be missed is the rising popularity of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Even though the majority of this federation’s fans are still men, the conventional wisdom is that these fans are most likely interested in women’s issues and gender equality. If this is part of your brand identity, there are most assuredly opportunities to create awareness and attract new business by marketing to these supporters. 

Partnering with Insider is a sound game plan, as the global growth management platform has been recognized as a top provider of cross-channel campaign management by the technology research resource Forrester. Its proprietary tools can help virtually any online retailer to improve their customer engagement and journeys to conversion.

Find out how your business can do more to tap into the popularity of the NBA and other sports-related arenas. Your free demo is a click away!


Nicolas is VP of Marketing EMEA at Insider. Passionate about new technologies and e-commerce, Nicolas has held various position at leading e-commerce and tech companies including Groupon, Microsoft and Bwin.