Top 20 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from the NFL

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Top 20 Marketing Lessons We Can Learn from the NFL

From discussions on the same over at,, and, the NFL is the leading sports league in the world according to stats. The league has consistently outperformed all peers, across all team sports, a feat that is more impressive given that the league relies heavily on the US market and has a stunted reach compared to its closest competitors such as the English Premier League and the NBA. There are lots of lessons we can learn from its success, and this article will look to list the top 20 marketing lessons we can learn from the NFL.

Don’t be afraid to break new ground

As per,, and, the NFL has created a presence in the UK in recent years, with a couple of teams playing games in England during the season, even though its core audience is in the US. The marketing lesson we can learn here is that we should not be afraid to break new ground and try new things.

Go beyond likes and impressions

Social media platforms offer brands the ability to reach large global audiences online, yet re-enforcing this presence beyond likes, shares, and impressions, and reaching consumers in the real world still matters more to most consumers, as shown by the NBA’s move to expand its reach to the UK.

User-generated content

The NFL’s strategy that embraces user-generated content across digital environments will continue to engage young sports fans according to,, and This willingness to be less restrictive of how intellectual property is utilized has helped it build a loyal following.

Telling a story well always works

Storytelling is a marketing concept that has proven time and again to always work, and the NFL is proof of that. It is not about telling stories just for the sake of it, but using them to get people’s attention for specific reasons and connecting them to fundamental brand values and beliefs.

Connection with Pop culture

The NFL has interconnected itself with Pop culture in recent years, a tactic that has helped it remain relevant with younger fans. Stars like Tom Brady have become well-known figures in Pop culture, showing us that when you associate your brand with whatever is popular at a particular time will help you remain in the limelight.

Guerilla marketing still works

The ads that run during Super Bowl show us that guerilla marketing is very much still alive as articulated at,, and Ads feature people doing bizarre and eye-catching stunts to grab our attention, which is an old-school marketing tactic. When things are different, they stand out and make you take notice.

It pays to give first

Every year, the NFL gets some of the biggest acts to perform for the halftime show for free. If you are wondering why the world’s biggest stars would do that, it is because this is the biggest exposure you can get, and it will pay off in the form of selling music and merchandise. When you provide value upfront, you may reap the benefits afterward.

Be consistent with your content

One of the NFL’s biggest successes that can be used in any marketing strategy is a consistent distribution across multiple platforms. The NFL and each of its teams go above and beyond on social media, posting year-round content that excites their followers as captured at,, and

Be on various platforms

The NFL uses tons of different platforms, including Twitter Live streaming, YouTube, Snapchat, podcasts, and more. Similarly, you can stay in your customer’s minds by using different social media networks and posting content that they can find from their mobile devices.

It is all about branding

The NFL positions itself as the “premier sports and entertainment brand that brings people together socially and emotionally like no other”. Each team, athlete, and game broadcaster works in tandem with the NFL to create that identity.

Be socially conscious

The modern consumer wants to associate with brands that are socially conscious and that are responsible members of society as covered at,, and The NFL has positioned itself as one such brand with the work it does in communities across the country and beyond, which has helped create loyalty with its fans.

Don’t lose sight of your overall brand identity

Every team jersey, hat, or bumper sticker is branded with the NFL logo. What we can learn from this is how important it is not to lose sight of your overall brand identity or mission when marketing individual products. Just like how the NFL’s athletes and teams do, everything should connect back to your business’s mission.

Reward your loyal customers

The NFL’s audience is more than just consumers, but they are an enthusiastic community that eats, sleeps, and breathes NFL as described at,, and To encourage the most passionate fans, the NFL creates special campaigns, giveaways, and promotions just for them.

Don’t forget about untapped audiences

While the NFL’s audience is already massive, it continues to target new markets in a variety of ways. To appeal to new geographic demographics, the NFL has platforms like NFL Latino which reaches out to the Latino demographic with tons of Spanish content.

Leverage celebrities

The NFL is known for its star-studded halftime shows and commercials during the annual Super Bowl. This has become one of the biggest ways the NFL targets those who don’t usually watch football on Sundays, showing us the power celebrities can have.

The importance of partnerships

Nike and the NFL have recently signed an 8-year partnership worth about $1 billion as discussed at,, and The NFL also maintains tons of other official sponsors including Pizza Hut, Anheuser-Busch, and Gatorade. All parties benefit from the marketing exposure and gain opportunities for new customers.

Have a clear message

Most advertisers know that they only have a limited amount of time to make an impact when it comes to Super Bowl ads. This is why they strive to be clear and concise with their message and so should you with your marketing campaigns.

Use humor

The NFL and advertisers use humor to engage their audiences as revealed at,, and People look forward to Super Bowl ads because they assume they are going to get top quality, and they are not disappointed.

Know your audience

The NFL knows the sort of content its audience likes and it delivers exactly that. This is why its content retains high engagement rates. Similarly, you should make sure that you know the sort of content and messages that resonate with your audience when it comes to your marketing campaigns.

Build anticipation

The Super Bowl halftime show is one of the most eagerly anticipated events of the year, which has helped the NFL become popular with each passing year. It is a strategy that you can use for your marketing strategies as well.

These are some of the best marketing lessons we can learn from the NFL, with more on this topic, and much more, to be found over at,, and