As marketers, we are always seeking ways to make our products and services more attractive to consumers. When we do it right, we know we've created marketing juju. Brands like Starbucks, Google, Apple, eBay and Whole Foods Market all have oodles of marketing juju.

Consumers are more than just attracted to these businesses. They are downright captivated by them. Each of these brands creates marketing juju by (1) facilitating, not dictating the usage of its products, (2) fostering community and (3) assisting consumers in actualizing their aspirations.

With the 2005 National Football League (NFL) season upon us, we should add the brand called "Fantasy Football" to the list of brands with marketing juju.

Fantasy Football is more than attractive to its 12+ million participants. It's downright captivating. Participants immerse themselves in this role-playing game where they assemble a team of NFL players and compete in a league where games are played and scored based on the real-life performances of NFL players.

Research studies reveal that on average fantasy footballers participate in at least two leagues, spend nearly three hours per week managing their teams, and spend around $154 per year on league fees, stat tracking services and specialized news/information.

What began as a hobby for three football-loving fans in 1962 has turned into big business. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (yes, such an organization exists) reports that Fantasy Football is the most popular fantasy sports game, far eclipsing Fantasy Baseball. In 2004, Fantasy Football generated $100 million in sales (excluding advertising revenue) compared with only $20 million for baseball.

The methods driving the marketing success of Fantasy Football are the same that Starbucks, Google, Apple, eBay and Whole Foods Market use to create marketing juju.

1. Facilitating, Not Dictating Usage

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Moore was formerly in marketing at Starbucks Coffee and Whole Foods Market; he now runs the Brand Autopsy Marketing Practice (www.brandautopsy.com) and is the author of TRIBAL KNOWLEDGE: Business Wisdom Brewed from the Grounds of Starbucks Corporate Culture (www.tribalknowledge.biz).