The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has many traditions that are valued by fans. From Selection Sunday to the One Shining Moment video, the tournament is one of the most popular annual sporting events.

While everyone will be outfitted in different team colors and clinging to the hope that they’ve finally selected the “perfect” bracket, one thing most fans can agree on is the love of a good underdog. With powerhouse programs like Kentucky, Duke, and Virginia dominating much of the media exposure this season, fans are chomping at the bit to see who the next Cinderella Story will be in the 2015 tournament.

March Madness not only gives even the most underestimated team a shot at greatness but is also the perfect stage for even the smallest marketers to shine through March Madness. There are 19 brands that own 60 percent of the available promotional sponsorships, leaving many marketers wondering how to grab the attention of consumers while being frugal with their marketing budgets. There are three key factors that can be game changers for small businesses who want to do promotions during March Madness.

Timing is Key

In January the speculation surrounding which teams who would most likely be filling empty bracket slots began, shifting consumer attention to March Madness.

It’s no secret that big in-game moments can translate to millions of conversations and opportunities for branded content across social media platforms. Even the smallest marketer can make a big splash by staying on top of offline events and creating real-time content to spark engagement with their audience.

Key takeaway: Big moments present instantaneous opportunities.

Go Digital

With the importance of being in the moment to keep up with March Madness, going digital is the best choice for marketers looking to get their chance in the spotlight. It’s important to keep up with the conversation.

Marketers can do this by piggy-backing on important hashtags, responding to popular tweets, and sharing engaging images surrounding the events.  The important factor to keep in mind is that content should be engaging as well as relevant. By providing value to the person consuming your content, it will establish your business as a trusted source.

The Right Distribution

During events like March Madness, all eyes are not only on the games but also on social media. To get the most out of going digital, brands need to form a distribution plan to get their content out.

Marketers can elevate their messages by activating influencers to endorse their efforts.  The goal here is to tap into influencers who have a tie to the games and the tournament. Key partners would be announcers, former March Madness players, or athletes with a connection to teams in the tournament.

This year marketers with any budget can take a piece of the advertising space surrounding March Madness. Through key timing, maximizing digital, and selecting the right influencers marketers can effectively participate without spending their whole marketing budget.

If you’re a marketer looking to step into the digital endorsement game for March Madness, opendorse can help you activate the perfect influencer. Connect with our team today.