Hey Sports Fans—Marketing Is Like A Game of Football.
And the Crowd Goes Wild…For Your Brand.
There are so many moving parts in marketing that it’s possible to lose track of the big picture. There’s the strategy, logos and design, and the content—but there’s also digital, positioning, external communications and so many other bits that have to seamlessly fall into place. Trying to get your mind around it all can get a little overwhelming.
A client was recently wondering how all the pieces fit together. So we came up with this analogy that instantly clarified things. You see, as it turns out, marketing is a lot like football.
Football, you ask?
Get on the Field.
As everyone knows, professional football is played in a stadium in front of tens of thousands of fans. Well, the stadium is like your marketplace. This is the scope of your marketing universe. And within the stadium, there’s the playing field. This is your competitive space—where the marketing game is won or lost.
Imagine walking into the stadium and onto the field. When you go out there, you need to be primed to play your best. You need to be well-trained and thoroughly warmed up, with strong knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses and those of your opponent. In marketing terms, you must be up-to-date in your subject and understand what both you and your competition bring to the table. You have to have done your homework. And that means doing competitive analysis and market research.
Now that you’re on the field, look up at the people in the stands. Some of them are your diehard fans (Da Bears) and some of them are rooting for the other side (Green Bay Packers). Still others are just interested in seeing a good game. In marketing terms, all of these people make up your target audience. These are the people you need to win over. And by the end of the game, you want them all cheering for you.
“When you’re GOOD at something, you’ll tell everyone. When you’re GREAT at something, they’ll tell you.”
Walter Payton, Chicago Bears
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize.
You’ve got the football! When it’s in your hands, the football represents your products and services. It’s your job to get the ball down the field.
At the end of the field is the end zone. This is where you’re trying to go—it represents converting with your customers.
You’ve succeeded when you score more than the competition.
But who’s standing in your way? That’s the opposing team— your competitors. If you want to get the ball to the endzone and score, you need to dominate them on the field. Repeatedly.
“WINNING is not everything—but making the EFFORT to win is.”
Vince Lombardi, Green Bay Packers
Know Your Playbook.
And how are you going to outmaneuver the competition? Fortunately, you’ve got a playbook that outlines exactly what you need to do. Using the different plays in your playbook, you’ll have the ultimate game plan to beat your competitors.
Your marketing plan is like your football playbook. It clarifies the strategy and tactics you’ll use to achieve your business objectives. And it’s flexible enough to respond to any obstacles that get in your way. Having the right strategy makes all the difference.
“It’s not the SIZE of the dog in the fight, but the size of the FIGHT in the dog.”
Archie Griffin, Cincinnati Bengals
Get Ready to Go the Distance.
You don’t have to go it alone. Take a look at the people around you. This is your team; these are your coaches and support staff. They’re going to be with you throughout the entire journey as you move the ball down the field. It’s just the same with your marketing team. They’ll stand by you as you work together to achieve your business goals.
But not all of your team members do the same thing. You’ve all got different positions—a quarterback, running back, wide receiver—to name a few. And just like a football team, the members of your marketing team have varying specializations. There are brand strategists, marketers, communications experts and digital specialists.
Even though you’ve got different roles, you look like a cohesive unit because you’re all wearing the same uniforms and the same strategy: repeat end zone scores. In marketing terms, this is your brand identity and brand guidelines. This is how you immediately differentiate yourself from the competition and stand out from the pack.
Who’s that over there on the sidelines? Those are your cheerleaders—also known as brand ambassadors in marketing terms. Your brand ambassadors can be internal, like employees, or external, like customers or community members – but they all have the same goal of lifting you up and supporting your business and your mission. That’s brand love.
And what’s that shared sense of purpose tying you all together? In football terms, that’s your team spirit, but in marketing, that’s your brand. It’s made up of all of the people, values, and beliefs that make your team yours. Your brand runs through all of the people you work with to achieve your ultimate goal of getting the ball to the end zone. It’s reflected in everything you do and represents who you really are.
“How do you WIN? By getting average players to play good and good players to play great. That’s how you WIN.”
Bum Phillips, Houston Texans
Tying It All Together.
So, here’s the upshot: There are many components you need to win at the marketing game. When everything clicks, you’ll run yards around your competition, win over the crowd and create lifelong fans. When it’s Monday night, in the stadium and primetime TV, we want you to win.
But to set yourself up for success, you need to get the right team with the right strategy and the right coach making the right calls. When you have a great team, you’ll build upon your previous successes, play after play and year over year. The wins you achieve this year will compound and before you know it, you’ll be set to take on any challenge.
“Today I will do what other WON’T, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others CAN’T.”
Jerry Rice, San Francisco 49ers
And that’s how you score touchdowns.