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Sideline strategy: Marketing tips from the NFL

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Once fall begins, my Sunday routine is breakfast, church and then football. The intriguing part for sales and marketing folks is how football has become so pervasive and successful. When I was 5-years-old, I knew everything about Joe Montana and very little about Ronald Reagan. My contention is that the NFL is a group of marketing geniuses.

Football was not always America’s passion. To change that, the NFL:

  • Cultivated the product, making adjustments to make it more enjoyable and user friendly.
  • Used simple ideas like maintaining a regular schedule to make the product easy to find.
  • Made complex changes exciting and entertaining, such as the challenge rule, which could have impeded progress.

It’s hard to make a universal life policy exciting, but you can always improve and refine your product to make it more easily embraced. For example, does a certain client know his life policy has an LTC rider? You can build your relationship by making concepts more exciting.

The Tom Brady example

My wife has no idea how many Super Bowls Tom Brady has won. But she does know who he is romantically involved with and that he was in a minor car accident a while back. The NFL leveraged his early achievements to turn him into a likeable guy who overcame challenges to reach the pinnacle of success.

We all know people whose achievements we can build into heroic attributes. My CEO has been on the Inc. 500 list. I share this with my prospects. Was your agency featured in Rough Notes? Whatever the positives are, parlay them into useful stories – like the NFL showed how a late-round pick became a Super Bowl hero. (Disclaimer: I am a Steelers fan.)

The NFL has used sales and marketing to build a multibillion dollar business. Applying a few concepts from their strategy helps us become more successful and effective.

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John Scranton is an insurance agency marketing expert and vice president of StartUpSelling, Inc. For more information and tips from Scranton, go to


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