With the NBA Finals at the cusp of excitement for basketball fans around the world, I had the privilege to speak with Pam El, the Chief Marketing Officer for the NBA to learn how the NBA captures the attention of their fans and to share some of her marketing expertise which we can incorporate into our marketing campaigns. Here’s what we spoke about:
Jay: Does an event of this magnitude take care of itself from a marketing standpoint?
Pam: While The Finals is a cultural event that puts our sport front and center, there is always more we can do to reach fans and drive tune-in and consumption. From broadcast to digital and social media, it’s important to have an aligned, robust marketing plan to ensure that we’re reaching the most fans possible, from curious and casual viewers to our most core NBA fans.
Jay: If not, what are the ways to intrigue and create excitement to get people to get involved?
Pam: It’s important for us to constantly drive excitement throughout the entire Finals. Whether it’s working with a Grammy-winning producer like Timbaland for our marketing campaign, or creating new emojis specific to The Finals, we are constantly creating excitement and giving fans new ways to get involved in The Finals.
Jay: Are there basic principles that the NBA uses that small businesses and entrepreneurs can use to help grow attention with much tighter budgets?
Pam: It’s important to fish where the fish are, and continuously look for new, engaging ways to reach your audience – no matter the size of your budget. If your customers are on social, that’s where you should be. If they are consuming digital content, then you should focus there. It’s about getting in front of your customers, knowing where they are, and marketing accordingly.
Jay: What type of passion has sports created from millennials, to professionals, older folks, kids and anyone in between?
Pam: The beauty of the NBA is that our fans are the most passionate in the world. They long for content in any and every form, and it’s important to be at the forefront of their consumption habits. Our job is to be everywhere they are consuming NBA content, no matter their age or viewing habits.
As Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at the National Basketball Association, Pam El is responsible for the NBA’s global marketing operation, directing brand development, overall marketing, and advertising for the NBA, WNBA, and NBA Development League.
With more than 30 years of experience, El has long been recognized as an industry leader for her expertise in brand management, marketing strategy, creative development, and media and sponsorships. Prior to joining the NBA in August 2014, El served as Senior Vice President of Financial Brand Marketing for Nationwide Insurance, where she spearheaded brand marketing for financial services and directed the creative, media, and research initiatives for its first direct-to-consumer campaign. El earned a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University. She resides in New York City with her husband William.