3 Ways Marketing is Like Sports
I’m going to start this by saying I’m not an avid sports fan. I will gladly sit and watch the Ohio State Buckeyes (#sorrynotsorry to any Michigan fans) dominate the field during football season, but ask me what position someone plays and I’ll quickly look to my husband.
I at least understand the basics, including what a Hail Mary pass is. I like the play on words for this play, but also understand why it’s not the most useful one. Sure, it MIGHT get the job done or at least get the ball down the field, but you also risk an interception.
Here’s another reason I’ve become more familiar with this term - too many business owners are doing the same thing with their marketing. They throw up a boosted post or social media ad and hope for the best. Or they do an “email blast” to every email address they’ve ever been given (or - GASP - from an email list they bought) about a sale and think “that’ll do it.”
Do you get a quick result? Sure, you’ll get a few sales, I won’t deny it. What do you do when the email is stuck in their Promotions folder or worse, SPAM? Or if they tell social media “I don’t want to see posts from (YOUR COMPANY)”.
Marketing is Playing the Long Game
Marketing shouldn’t be about the quick wins, even though they will come. Marketing is a long process of trial and error. Effective marketing is planned out long in advance with business goals in mind. It’s not just “we need to do marketing” it’s “why are we marketing? What do we want the outcome to be?” And it can’t be just about sales - that’s like only going for a first down and not going for the touchdown.
Have The Plan Ready BEFORE You Start
No team gets on the field or court for a game without practice. You should look at your marketing in the same way. It should never be “Hey! It’s (RANDOM HOLIDAY) tomorrow. We should do a post/have a sale/send an email!” You might as well have asked 9-year-olds to sub in for your favorite sports team on the biggest game of their season. And just like teams watch old recordings of games (aka "review tape") to learn their opponent, you need to pay attention to what your competitors are doing. NOT to copy them, but to learn from them. What are they doing that’s working? Who are they targeting? What is their purpose?
Trust the Marketer Like a Good Coach Would
The coach knows the plays and their players, but the quarterback/point guard/captain is in the game. As the business owner you have a say, but trust what your marketer, whether in-house or hired out, is telling you. Ask questions and make the plans TOGETHER. That’s the secret sauce to success. The marketer shouldn’t call all the shots and neither should you. If you aren’t on the same team or at least headspace as them, call a time out and decide whether they are someone who you can be a team with or if you need to trade them out.
Marketing truly is a team sport. If any part of your marketing team, including yourself, decides to go all hot-shot and take over, they might score a few baskets/touchdowns/goals but ultimately will lose the game. Invest wisely in your marketing team, in-house or otherwise.
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Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.