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If college football teams were digital marketing strategies

Fire up the grill and grab your foam finger, because college football is back, guys! This glorious time of year allows us to up our beer intake, show some love for our schools, and spend entire Saturdays enjoying the greatest sport on earth. Plus, it inspires us to contemplate questions we wouldn’t normally consider: For example, if Alabama football was a marketing strategy, which marketing strategy would it be?

Yes, even college football isn't safe from our marketing nerd-ery. So read on to see which teams match each strategy – and if you disagree with our choices (and you probably will), let us know your picks!


Ohio State: Email  

Is it even possible to predict a Big Ten champion other than Ohio State this season? The reigning national champs are about as overwhelming a conference favorite as you’ll find in recent years. So, as far as we’re concerned, you could say that they’re currently the "email marketing" of the college football world.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, in the world of modern marketing, email is king. It’s the top marketing channel for ROI at 4300% (Direct Marketing Association). People are living in their inboxes; checking and sending email has become the #1 activity on both mobile devices and the internet as a whole. Email is relevant, timely, and allows you to develop a 1:1 relationship with your audience – catapulting it to the elite upper echelon of marketing strategies.

The Buckeyes are the email marketing of college football.


Oregon: Social Media

Few stories in college football are as remarkable as the rise of the Oregon Ducks over the past 15 years. Like social media, Oregon sprung up from nowhere by pushing boundaries and developing a flashy, recognizable brand. From the school’s promotion of its impressive, multi-million dollar football practice facility to its endless uniform iterations that resulted in the bright (and now glow-in-the-dark!) gear they wear today, Oregon really knows how to capture attention, encourage fan engagement, and get people involved in their brand. They’re a powerhouse team built – like social media – on image and constant innovation.


LSU: PPC Ads

Pay-per-click advertising has its moments of glory – it can help you attract visitors when you really need to amp up your site traffic, and sometimes it produces great results. But it’s also risky: You can end up spending a fortune and having nothing tangible come of it. Even those who are incredibly skillful at PPC can find themselves losing big.

LSU coach Les Miles is like a PPC marketing guru. No stranger to taking risks (and occasionally eating grass), when he’s good, he’s amazing, but when he loses, it’s painful for fans and neutral spectators alike. Just four years ago, LSU was 13-0 overall before playing Alabama for the BCS national championship. But the past few years have been up and down – just like PPC ads.


Alabama: Split testing

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Alabama is undeniably good at what they do. Current coach Nick Saban has led the Crimson Tide to three national championship victories since 2009, and a huge part of what makes him so great at his job is his ability to be ruthlessly attentive, analyze every play, and continually make responsive adjustments to his strategy.

Great marketers must do the same – and split testing everything, from website imagery to email subject lines, allows you to produce the most personal, targeted experience for each customer and prospect. The outcome? Champion-level results.


Notre Dame: Webinars

Webinars are popular and can be an effective part of a brand’s content strategy, but let’s be honest, a lot of them can be total snoozefests that you ignore while chomping on your sandwich at lunch. But when done right, a top-notch webinar will position your brand as a thought leader and generate quality, interested leads – an elusive win-win in the marketing game.

Notre Dame. Always popular, sometimes totally boring. However, when they’re good, it gets people talking and adds excitement to the college football season. They’re entering the season with a level of talent and depth that hasn’t been there in recent years, so 2015 may prove to be as successful for them as a well-planned webinar.


Miami: Black Hat SEO

Back in the early 2000s, the techniques for being successful online involved a lot more sketchiness than they do today: keyword stuffing, inorganic link building, and meta-text manipulation were all common practices. However, thanks to Google’s many updates, people who try those tactics today are playing a losing game.

Miami, like Black Hat SEO, has seen it’s fair share of scandal without much success in recent years. They’ll have to up their game if they want to reclaim their former glory.