I was watching football this past weekend, and I got to thinking, “Wow, football is a lot like marketing!”
Let me explain what I mean. But before I go any further—Go Cowboys! Super Bowl Bound! Just kidding. But maybe! We can hope!
1. Not every play can be a touchdown:
When you’re a kid and playing touch or tackle football in the yard, there’s one route everyone runs. The quarterback gets the ball and everyone goes deep, because everyone wants to score a touchdown on every single play! But in college or professional football you do not just run out of every huddle aiming for a touchdown. That’s not the way it works. There’s a process! You run the ball for a couple of yards, throwing the ball a few yards, getting a first down, stacking up the first downs, so that you can get down the field to score a touchdown.
If it were just that easy to get in the huddle and say, “Okay guys, we’re calling a touchdown play!” Every team would do it, every time. Instead, you have to take small steps to achieve the larger goal.
It’s the same thing in marketing. Often when people think about marketing they think, “Let’s make this go viral!” Or they just want to put a piece of content up and watch the leads come in off of that one ad. But it doesn’t work that way. You don’t go out and score a touchdown on one particular post or ad! It’s a process of smaller steps that take you to that touchdown post that generates lots of leads.
Don’t go for the touchdown on every post. Be okay with the three-yard gain, because it will move you further to your goal.
2. Don’t show up on game day without a plan:
When you see a great performance by your favorite NFL team on Saturday, you never really get to see the incredible amount of planning and strategy and meetings that went on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and all through the week leading up to that game. They watch film, they discuss strategy, and they plan out the game.
It’s the same with marketing. You don’t want to go out there and just post willy-nilly. You need a strategy! If you’re a business owner you want to be meeting regularly with whoever is doing your marketing to put together a strategy for what your posts are going to be about and what you want to achieve with them. You don’t want to show up on game day without a plan! And often, online marketing for small businesses fails because there is no plan. I really enjoy doing planning and strategy sessions with our clients, so if you have someone that you trust to do your marketing, make sure you’re meeting with them to plan strategy and you don’t show up on game day without a plan!
3. It takes more than the quarterback:
Let’s call online marketing the quarterback for a moment. Other forms of marketing have their place, but online marketing is where it’s at. Everyone has a smartphone, everyone has a tablet, so online marketing is leading the charge. However, the quarterback is not going to be successful without the offensive line, without the defense, the running back, receivers, etc. So yes, online marketing is a huge part of your overall marketing strategy, but don’t rule out the roles the rest of your marketing pieces play in your overall strategy. You still need to send mailers, emails, and going to chamber and networking meetings, etc.
When everything is working together and your branding is consistent, all of these pieces work together as a team to get you to your goal.
The quarterback gets paid the most because he touches the ball the most. It’s the same with online marketing. It’s more important nowadays to be investing in online marketing because it touches more people. Online marketing puts more eyes on your business.
So don’t stop with your other forms of marketing. Let them complement your online marketing. Online marketing should never replace the rest of your marketing team.
4. Consistency gets you to the playoffs:
This is the most important thing. You have to be consistent. Look at the New England Patriots. And I apologize in advance to any Patriots fans out there—I can’t stand the Patriots! But they’re so good that I have a high level of respect for them. Every single year you know a couple of things are going to happen: Tom Brady is going to have an outstanding season, it won’t matter who the players are and it won’t matter who they’re playing—they’re going to get into the playoffs. Now, whether or not they get to the Super Bowl and win the whole thing is another story. But you know for a fact that they’re going to the playoffs and they’re going to be good, because they have a consistent process and game plan year in and year out.
It’s painful for me to say that, because I am not a Patriots fan! But just looking at them without emotion, you can’t help but have respect for their consistency.
The same thing goes for your online marketing. You can’t just do it once. You can’t have it work one month, get good traction, get some leads, and then stop the process. You have to continue the process so that each and every month you get lead flow. Just like the Patriots, who are right in the thick of things every season because they are so consistent! (It drives me crazy! But hey, the Cowboys have something good going on with their process this year!)
I hope this was a fun blog for you to see the similarities between online marketing and football! Who’s your favorite NFL team?