MTD Merch Madness: A New Type of Market Research

MTD Merch Madness: A New Type of Market Research

When the month of March comes around, it signifies not only the beginning of the Spring but the start of the greatest tournament in Sports; NCAA March Madness. So much of the thrill of March Madness lies in the uncertainty of the outcomes. There are hundreds of millions of brackets made trying to predict the unpredictable. 

In the spirit of March Madness, we decided to sift through our catalog of MTD products over the past 4 plus years to see if we could compile a respectable tournament of our own merchandise.  The name of the tournament was simple—MTD Merch Madness. The idea made sense and the whole concept coming to fruition drove urgency to make sure we acted on it. 

For the ensuing days, we gathered all the product names and colorways to see who was an automatic bid and who needed to be in a play-in. It was a simple bracket. 1-16 seeds in the East and 1-16 in the West, with 3 play in matchups for 3 unfilled spots. I looked through some sales metrics and used the eye test to help guide the ranking system of the 16 products in each region. Once the rankings were made, we posted the matchups on our Instagram, and created polls on our story to allow people to vote for the ensuing 24 hour period to see which product would advance to the next round. We were receiving roughly 100 votes on each matchup which was a solid sample size to take the feedback seriously. 

We soon realized that not only was this a fun and engaging way to align our brand with the spirit of March Madness, but it also served as a great feedback loop and an innovative way to acquire market research. Some products received fewer votes than we may have expected and some performed exceptionally well. We also had 5 out of the 16 first round matchups decided by six votes or fewer, which revealed a general liking for each product. A surprise standout from the tournament were the hoodies that spell out DIFFERENT in reverse lettering. Three separate colorways made some respectable runs. We have had that collection out of stock for years but maybe that's or cue to get those restocked.

The most encouraging feedback we received from the whole tournament was that our most recent products all performed well. The final four consisted of the Authentic not Perfect Hoodie,  MTD U Red Crewneck, Rope Hat and Emblem Shirt. All four of which are newer products and two of which are abundantly stocked on our website. Our most recent product, the MTD Supersuit, saw both pieces make the elite 8 as well. The Rope Hat ended up winning over the Emblem Shirt by a decisive margin to be crowned the Champion of first ever MTD Merch Madness!! 


When it comes to running a business, you’re only as good as your customers. The consumers and customers of More Than Different are our greatest asset and you will be the reason this brand either grows or blows over. 

There is no growth without feedback.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this experiment and we look forward to bringing back MTD Merch Madness in a couple years once we have restored our catalog with new and improved options!! 

In the meantime, stay MTD.


Brendan McNamara


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