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Need to market an important event? Consider a well-timed media blitz.

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The 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four Houston Local Organizing Committee is in full blitz mode, especially now that Rodeo is over. Robin Tooms interviews Rachel Quan, VP of external operations for more insight on how they manage their media dollars to drive attendance.

Robin: Hello and welcome to this edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies. I’m Robin Tooms, VP of strategy at Savage Brands and my guest again today is Rachel Quan, VP of External Operations for the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four here in Houston. Rachel, I am so glad you’re back on Brandonomics.

Rachel: Thanks again, I’m glad to be here again with y’all.

Robin: The task of the Houston local organizing committee is huge but what I want to talk to you about today is a little bit kind of behind the scenes from the marketing side. So you’ve obviously put together a very strategic marketing plan, you’re in the phase right now where you’re kind of working on the traditional media, the paid media, because we’re so close as of where we stand today to the actual event and I wanted to kind of reflect a little bit on why you chose that specific plan. You know, why not start doing paid media earlier? Why now?

Rachel: Well a lot of it is very budget driven, so that’s a part of it, and I will say too I think people just don’t make decisions as early as we think they will when it comes to buying a ticket or making their plans.

Robin: So save the budget

Rachel: Save the budget for the very end and blitz it at the very end has kind of been the approach. So some of it is cost driven and then a lot of it for us is really after the Super Bowl; people aren’t paying any attention until that’s over and then in the Houston market I don’t think a lot of people are paying a whole lot of attention until Rodeo is almost over. And so for us we felt like we really needed to capture those last 2, 3 weeks and really do our paid media then to get folk’s attention and remind them about what was coming with the Final Four.

Robin: Well that sounds like a really smart way to focus your marketing dollars and then so prior to this traditional kind of paid media phase you’ve been working on grassroots media because that’s been your long term strategy.

Rachel: Correct. And so we’ve been working diligently at being out in the community and when we say grassroots we mean boots on the ground, whether we were at Sam Houston Race Park’s wiener dog races – I know that we sponsored that – all the way to coming up some Easter egg hunts out in Pearland and some other places where we’re activating and making sure folks know about Fan Fest and Music Festival and the Dribble and the different ancillary event that are coming and continuing to build awareness just by being present at another event or activity.

Robin: Yeah. So just to recap, you spent the past year nurturing that awareness so they have it in the back of their minds and now they’re ready to make a decision about their weekend, now you’re blitzing them.

Rachel: That’s exactly it. So now they’ll see the billboard, now they’ll hear the radio promotion. Now they’ll pay a little bit more attention when they’re watching television. Exactly, so that’s been the strategy.

Robin: Great, thank you so much for sharing that.

Rachel: Thank you.

Robin: This has been another edition of Brandonomics, an inside look at top brands and their marketing strategies.

Houston is host to the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four. The Houston Local Organizing Committee is the local organization which works with the NCAA on a daily basis to help plan and execute the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four.  Listed below are some of the events and volunteer opportunities that will occur the week of March 30- April 5, 2016 during the Final Four: Final Four Fan Fest, March Madness Music Fest, Final Four Friday, Final Four Dribble, and more.

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