Often, the Super Bowl seems as if it's more of a season than a one-day event. It dominates consumer conversations for weeks and weeks before Super Bowl Sunday arrives. From the food to the entertainment to the ads and the big game itself, the public is more focused on the Super Bowl than on most national holidays.

Communications professionals typically see the game as a time for business-to-consumer (B2C) marketers to capitalize on the benefits of all that conversation. But the truth is that business-to-business (B2B) companies can, and should, also take advantage of major consumer events.

Conversations from the newsroom to the living room and even the conference room are all about the Super Bowl. It's natural for companies to want to engage in that conversation—and they can, and they should.

As with any "trend intervention," brands must tread cautiously to make sure that their interactions are appropriate and valued rather than inappropriate and unwelcomed interruptions of the conversation.

B2B marketers can take advantage of the opportunity to reach a portion of the 180 million spectators expected for this year's Super Bowl—or the audiences of other major events traditionally considered B2C marketing opportunities.

Here are just a few of the tactics that B2B marketers can employ to get in the game.

Keep your eye on the ball

Even B2B advertising content and marketing collateral can jump on the Super Bowl bandwagon. When the public is so focused on a major event, tying it to your marketing efforts may help increase awareness and message retention.

Perhaps a football-themed infographic, whitepaper, email campaign, or tradeshow booth can help you garner a few new fans for your company.

Be a super fan

The Super Bowl is practically a religious holiday. Just as your organization might wish folks a great holiday celebration or perhaps share something about the culture of your organization, you can demonstrate the excitement of your employees for the game.

From creating a special homepage banner to posting photos of your decorated office on social media, you have many subtle ways to show your organization is full of loyal fans.

Select winning tactics

Consider adding giveaways or a well-designed contest to your marketing mix. On the low end, you could provide customers with a care package to enjoy the big game, and on the high end you could give actual tickets to your best customers.

If planned well, a contest leading up to the event could serve as a lead-generation tool as well as garner goodwill with your current customer base.

Know the score

For most sports fans, knowing the stats of every game and player is a badge of honor. Is there a way for you to dig into the data to support your customers or inform your industry? Perhaps your company sells products or provides services that may be affected by the game.

It's not just sales of chicken wings, beer, and giant TVs that spike before the Super Bowl. This is the first year that the game can be streamed live to a device without the need for a cable subscription, so we may see spikes in everything from wireless router sales to computer and mobile device upgrades.

Share such knowledge with your customers to help them plan accordingly.

Coach your team

A major consumer event could be an opportunity to help your own customers succeed at their own game. If you can offer them solid advice or guidance on how they can use this opportunity or other trends and breaking news events to their advantage, they will appreciate the gesture. If you can weave your product or service into that story, you might be able to spur sales at the same time.

Alternatively, you could just incorporate a "playbook" approach to your business advice and turn it into anything from a simple blog entry to a longer-form e-book for more in-depth coaching. One of the easiest analogies to make is between scoring on the field and scoring in business. Pick a theme, own the cheese factor, and score a touchdown.

* * *

As any good fan knows, overindulging at the pre-game can wind up hurting more than helping your brand; so... everything in moderation. But when done well, adopting a major consumer event as part of an overall marketing effort can help B2B communicators have a positive impact on engagement with customers through public relations, social media, and traditional marketing efforts.

In the end, businesses are composed of individual consumers, and when something is capturing the hearts and minds of the general public... that public also brings it to work, including at B2B firms.

Careful planning and thoughtful program development that takes advantage of large-scale consumer and cultural events can lead to a win-win for your company and your clients.

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B2B Brands and the Super Bowl: How B2B Marketers Can Capitalize on Consumer Events

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image of Sandra Fathi

Sandra Fathi is president and founder of Affect, a public relations, marketing, and social media agency located in New York, specializing in technology, healthcare, and professional services.

LinkedIn: Sandra Fathi

Twitter: @sandrafathi