3 (Inbound) Marketing Lessons For The NBC Olympic Broadcasting Team

candid michael phelpsEven with record TV viewership, NBC, with it's trending #NBCFail hashtag, has been suffering at the hands of the opinion makers on the Interwebs. To be fair, it's much easier to be a critic. Covering the Olympics is a massive undertaking that requires years of planning, billions of dollars, and thousands of people. NBC has made some legitimate missteps, though, and would be wise to refresh it's network executives with some of the latest marketing lessons and data:

  1. Transparency - NBC was initially criticized for not airing the Michael Phelps/Ryan Lochte swim race live and instead waiting for prime-time  - long after the news that Phelps lost was ubiquitous across the web. This decision was driven by an old advertising model and may ultimately hurt NBC's overall brand and it's ability to attract advertisers for future global events. Further, Ryan Seacrest could have easily addressed #NBCFail in his social media updates and let viewers know NBC is paying attention to them and working to address legitimate concerns. Acknowledgment of the hashtag would have been a powerful nod to transparency - unfortunately, it didn't happen. It also raises the question of whether NBC is choosing to promote and cover newsworthy Olympic events or only ad-worthy Olympic events?
  2. Interruption - in watching the opening ceremonies and other prime time Olympic events, it almost felt as if NBC was keyword stuffing it's TV ads. The continuity of it's programming and the flow of human interest stories seemed non-existent. With such a global platform, NBC could have established itself as a forward thinking network by trying new advertising approaches or technologies rather than playing it safe with traditional interruption marketing.
  3. Content Curation - NBC has a real opportunity to show it's value through content curation and analysis. The network has a powerful cadre of announcers who are experts in sports like archery, rowing and gymnastics, that can dissect and review the hours of video content NBC is creating daily. Viewers should understand the differences in stroke techniques among swimmers, floor techniques of different gymnasts, and why one pair of rowers exhibits more power than other rowers in the same race. Content curation and analysis should be what NBC promotes for prime-time rather than a race whose results are posted all over the web the moment it's completed.

What's your take on the Olympic coverage so far? What is NBC doing well? What could they be doing better?

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