Okay, first, what is NIL? 

NIL: Name, image, likeness.

In marketing, NIL refers to a company obtaining permission to use the name, image, and likeness of a person to:

  • Capitalize on the person’s following and audience
  • Add personality and a familiar face to the company’s brand
  • Build trust with customers
  • Reach a new sector of customers

And NIL is the latest marketing buzzword because the NCAA has recently permitted collegiate players to monetize their position as influential student-athletes.

This new ruling is a big deal. For students AND brands.

It marks the first time student-athletes can profit from being a part of a college’s athletic program. And it opens the door for a new marketing strategy with significant potential for companies who know how to leverage it. 

How accessible is this new opportunity?

More than you might think! Yes, nationally recognized student-athletes will likely sign significant–a.k.a. expensive–NIL contracts. But for locally known athletes, (hello, your favorite Huskers!) the incentive could be as small as a few free products or services in exchange for a social media shout-out. 

How can incorporating NIL marketing into your social strategy help your local business?

The short answer is that it’s a cost-effective marketing strategy that helps you get in front of a younger audience. The elusive Gen Z group with direct and indirect spending power of $143 billion. Yes, with a B.  

Many student-athletes are well known on their local college campus and can reach thousands or tens of thousands of accounts with each post to social media. So for small local companies—specialty boutiques, restaurants, and clothing brands, for example—setting up a NIL deal with a local student athlete can significantly impact engagement and awareness. Remember, just because the student is an athlete doesn’t mean their followers are sports fans. On college campuses, some of these athletes are mini-celebrities. 

For hyper-local businesses hoping to appeal to customers in their teens to early 20s, working with this influential group of collegiate athletes is a way to target specific local interest groups. These collegiate athletes are the next wave of influencers. And for local companies with a product or service that resonates with young people, utilizing the voice of a local influencer can be a surprisingly cost-effective way to reach directly into a new customer segment. 

Wondering if NIL marketing is right for your social strategy? Not sure how to get started? We can help! Schedule an intro call today.