Innovation. Ideas. Insight.

March Marketing / Social Media Madness

In Ideas, Innovation on March 16, 2009 at 9:56 am

For sports fans March means one thing: College basketball. Ok, two things: college basketball and college basketball NCAA tournament brackets.  So, with college hoops all the news, I got to thinking, “Hey, what if the big guns of Social Media and Marketing competed in a 64 ‘team’ tournament?”

Indeed, the mind reels at the possibilities. But first, let’s set some ground rules.

As I learned with my Periodic Table of Social Media Elements, it’s important to state right up front that this is not done with any sort of scientific rigor. It is, as they say in the sports books in Las Vegas, for entertainment purposes only.  How did one person get seeded #1 and another #16? Well, I didn’t have a supercomputer to tabulate strength of schedule or power rankings or any of the things the NCAA selection committee uses. I just sort of eyeballed the top seeds and the rest was pretty much random selection.  Also keep in mind, that the NCAA tournament includes teams that have absolutely no chance of winning it all (seeds 13-16). Not so in this Marketing  /Social Media tournament. I’ve tried to include nothing but quality people. Sure, some of them might be from the equivalent of mid-Major conferences, but the 13-16 seeds are no push-overs in this tournament. Did some worthy people get left out? Sure, but that happens in the NCAA basketball tournament every year too (hello San Diego State). The “bubble teams” for this tournament include powerhouse marketers that just missed the cut, but in any other year could have been in the “big dance”:

  • Dan Schawbel
  • Matt Bacak

Who were the last four to get in:

A late-season strong showing by these four earned them their berths in the tournment.

So, without further ado, here’s the bracket in easy downloadable form:


Sleepers, Cinderellas and Prime Time Players!

Sleepers, Cinderellas and Prime Time Players!


How is this going to work? The real NCAA tournament starts on Thursday, so too the matches in the Social Media/ Marketing Tournament. On Thursday and Friday I’ll try to update the brackets in time with the basketball tournaments results. The weekend will be a little trickier, but by next Monday morning I’ll have the bracket updated.

Check the site throughout the week for details on the games,  matchup breakdowns and predictions (hoepfully we can line up some expert guest analysis.)

How will winners be chosen? Again, let me stress that this isn’t a scientifically accurate endeavor, it’s just a little fun. We all take what we do very seriously, but sometimes you just have to have a little fun. Losing a game here doesn’t mean you aren’t a pro, it means that in a completely meaningless little bit of Internet fun random selection didn’t go in your favor. Match results will be determined by a roll of the (10-sided) dice [Dungeons & Dragons flashback!] with a percentage weighting in favor of the higher ranked team. Here’s the breakdown in the first round (32 games total):

Number in parantheses is the percentage chance of winning:

  • 1 (73%) v 16 (27%)
  • 2 (70%) v 15 (30%)
  • 3 (67%) v 14 (33%)
  • 4 (64%) v 13 (36%)
  • 5 (61%) v 12 (39%)
  • 6 (58%) v 11 (42%)
  • 7 (55%) v 10 (45%)
  • 8 (52%) v 9 (48%)

I’ll use a similar percentage formula as we enter the later rounds with the higher seed’s chance of winning based on what seed the opponent has.

Ok, now for the audience participation part.  I want you to send me an email with your prediction for the final four and the overall champion. The person who correctly identifies the final four and the eventual champion will win a cool prize (to be determined). In the event of a tie, etc., etc., the decision of the commissioner (me) will be final.  Send in your predicitons to me at: sportspr[at]

Again, please take this for what it is – a bit of timely levity for an industry that can take itself a bit too seriously sometimes.  Enjoy, and be sure to come back tomorrow for analysis of some of the Thursday games.

UPDATE: It was just brought to my attention that John Moore of Brand Autopsy did a similar Marketer bracket a couple of years ago. I was unaware, and in reading his, it looks like he presented his with all but the Final Four already determined. So, a little different.

UPDATE #2: Great minds (John Moore and Joseph Jaffe) think alike, and apparantly I steal from them both. Again, I didn’t know that Jaffe had done something similar previously.

  1. Holy brackets, Batman! How in the world did I slip into the Dance?! I’m sure my Cinderella dreams will be squashed by Gladwell out the gate, but who cares. I’m gonna be on ESPN. (This is televised, right?)

    On a more serious note (not), this is a great idea to play off of March Madness. Looking forward to following it.

  2. David, Yes, all matches will be shown via ESPN9, pay-per-view.

  3. Well, considering I have no sports ability whatsoever, being in any kind of bracket is awesome.

    Will this be shown on ESPN 8 – The Ocho? 🙂

  4. Peter – We couldn’t work the numbers with The Ocho, so we are on ESPN9 – pay-per-view.

  5. Nick – Whoa! Absolutely was not aware of that, and I’m a John Moore/ Brand Autopsy fan. I will note it in the main post right now. The crazy part is that I’m up against John in the first round!

  6. No worries Rick. You are rockin’ the 10-sided dice to determine the winning/losing blogs. That’s cool. I just used my warped perspective to whittle down the field from 64 to 1. Have at it.

    (FYI, I went round-by-round to determine the final winner. Early round postings were deleted and only the Final Four, Championship Game, and Ultimate Winner postings were kept.)

  7. Let the rigged voting begin

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