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How the NBA uses marketing to build its brand 😎

by | Sep 27, 2022 | crm, Marketing, SaaS, Sales, Start Ups

With the 2022 NBA finals happening, it’s important to remember, nothing can quite capture the emotions of millions of people around the world quite like a sports team. Basketball, for example, is a sport that has grown over time and garnered a fanbase that stretches far beyond just America. Like most American sports, basketball has a rich history and an even more impressive fandom. Teams like the Celtics and the Warriors, who are currently competing in the finals, are two franchises who have enjoyed success for decades in both winning championships, and more importantly, generating business. What’s unique about American team sports is how different sports leagues have been able to maintain such interest over such a long period of time. If you ask so-called experts what the best era of basketball was, rarely will they say today’s game. Often, they will point to the Michael Jordan era as the pinnacle of the sport. When Michael Jordan retired from the Bulls in 1998, many supposed “gurus” of the sport labeled the event as the last great run of basketball, that no matter what happens, the NBA will never quite reach the same level of success or popularity as it did in the 90s. Fast forward two decades later, and the NBA continues to break records year after year in viewership as multiple teams now have valuations in the billions of dollars. It’s safe to say the league proved its doubters wrong. That’s what critics of the NBA failed to grasp. The NBA isn’t just a sports league, it’s a business. And like any other successful business, it adapts to survive. From the creation of the three-point line to the constant expansion of teams, history shows that the NBA has never shied away from making changes to improve its league

One of the most successful adaptations that the NBA has executed is the digitalization of much of its infrastructure. In particular, this includes the implementation of a strong customer relations management (CRM) system. The NBA realized early on that data analysis about customers and retaining revenue was a key step forward in the survival of their business. This business decision wasn’t just a matter of optimization, it came from necessity. In 2001 when the NBA began talks of implementing CRM, Bernie Mullin, the vice president of marketing for the NBA at the time, described CRM as having “a 360 view of our customers”. The new ability to track customer data of ticket holders and manage which marketing campaigns and sales strategies were most effective, arguably might have saved the NBA from potentially losing out on most of its business and heading to decline.

In today’s world, however, CRM has become a constant part of many successful businesses. So, the question arises: what is the next step forward for the NBA and other businesses to improve sales and marketing? Companies have already begun figuring out that automating as much of the marketing process as possible is the most optimal way of bringing new consumers into the customer base, especially retaining existing customers. CRM software that tracks data analysis of different marketing campaigns, leads, and sales is the tool to accomplish this task. It’s no surprise that CRM is the fastest-growing software market with an expected valuation of 80 billion dollars by 2025. When considering the onset of the cloud and the push to automate as many tasks as possible, this trend can only make sense. But as much as big corporations like the NBA continue to take advantage of cutting-edge CRM software, what needs to be said is that small business and start-ups can do exactly the same.

Much like how the NBA adapted to survive using CRM, startups can use similar software to compete in the marketplace. Understandably, small businesses are often tight on capital, and may not have the luxury to purchase large packets of the most expensive software for their businesses. But at the same time, small businesses can benefit from purchasing software that doesn’t necessarily have all the bells and whistles of the most expensive CRM software and instead opt for a cheaper, easier option. There are millions of alternatives to the top CRM software available that fit exactly into this category, and just like the NBA, if you want to fight for your business, implementing one of these CRM systems is the necessary step to survive.

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