I’m Not Sure What This Means, But I Think it Has Something to do with Camping…

As I looked at my inbox over the weekend I noticed that it was again littered with emails from various online marketing entities telling me why the statistics and numbers they were touting are the most important pieces of information I would see this week.

A quick internet search will show you whatever you want or need to know about  any topic.  Or, conversely, whatever you DON’T want to know (see: Webmd.com).

As British writer and conservative politician Benjamin Disraeli famously said,

"There are three types of lies – lies, damn lies, and statistics."

This pretty much sums it up.  Numbers and statistics can be used for good or bad.  They can convince, calm or cajole.

Truth is though, most people are not steeped in the nuances of numbers, unless of course there is a $ sign in front of them. Pew Research found that this is true 86.67% of the time (or DID it?!).

The relevance of statistics are pretty damn irrelevant most of the time.

This is why I decided to write my blog on statistics this week about something that the vast majority of us REALLY DO care about…NFL Football!

Training camps are ready to get going and Fantasy Football with soon start taking up way too much otherwise productive work time.  It got me thinking, is there any correlation between the NFL’s most successful teams and the success of their social media and digital footprints?

And, if there is a link, what are the biggest contributors to that crossover success.

Let’s go to the tape…

According to a recent Forbes magazine report, the top 10 most valuable NFL franchises with regard to overall media impact are:

  1. Denver Broncos  -- $395 million
  2. Seattle Seahawks  -- $380 million
  3. Dallas Cowboys  -- $319 million
  4. New York Giants  -- $291 million
  5. Philadelphia Eagles  -- $243 million
  6. New Orleans Saints  -- $240 million
  7. Cleveland Browns  --  $231 million
  8. Washington Redskins  --$212 million
  9. Green Bay Packers  -- $195 million
  10. Miami Dolphins  -- $193 million

The Forbes “General Sentiment Report” measured the value of each team’s media impact since August 2013. Their goal was to see how much of any one team’s value could be attributed to it’s relative strength (or weakness) through that team’s media exposure potential.

The study took into account the following factors so as to assure that everyone’s eyes glaze over:

  • How often a team is mentioned in the media (any type of media)
  • Where it is mentioned
  • How positive or negative the tone of mention

Then, using a $5 CPM (cost per thousand), the study assigned a dollar value to each mention dependent upon it’s exposure to arrive at the value of the earned media exposure for each team. (Examples included mentions on Facebook, Twitter, news media, other social media, forums, blogs, etc.)

The bottom 5 NFL teams were:

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  --  $45 million
  2. Atlanta Falcons  --  $46 million
  3. Oakland Raiders  --  $49 million
  4. Arizona Cardinals  --  $50 million
  5. Tennessee Titans  --  $57 million

While all the formulas, sentiment tracking, mentions, comments, etc are nice, a few things struck me after reading the study. Namely, as an “Average Joe” NFL fan, (meaning I pay pretty close attention to my team, their schedule, players and watch 2 or three games a week) I would have listed 8 or 9 of the top ten without doing any research or expensive study. (Thank you Johnny Football & The Browns for my big miss here.) And, I would have named all five of the bottom teams mentioned as well.

The NFL is no different from anyone or anything we want to promote or market online in that so much of the success or struggle depends on the size of the platform and megaphone already built into the equation (i.e. city and market size, marquee performers & their popularity, combined with the proactive marketing push necessary to exploit the franchise properly).  It is not one or two of the three, but a combination of all of them.  

This is similar to how we must approach the marketing and brand equity building of our clients, in that starting audience size does matter.  The more popular the product at the start of an online marketing campaign, the easier it is to grow the audience at a faster pace.  And, taking advantage of all best practices in the online world reinforces and amplifies the previous two factors in a big way!

Whether we are working for an NFL franchise, a celebrity personal brand client or a corporate brand, it all matters.  Proper education of a new client regarding these important factors is crucial before the work begins to establish goals that are realistic and attainable and ensure success.

Let the NFL season begin and, remember…

"All the statistics in the world cannot measure the warmth of a smile." (After the Seahawks win another Super Bowl.)
-Chris Hart, as interpreted by Darrin McAfee