The recent Super Bowl was exciting because it kept the viewer on the edge of their seat for the entire game. As I watched I could see each team looking at plays, game plans, plays and data that help them gain an edge over their opponent. I am a big football fan so I enjoyed that aspect of the game. But I am also a marketer, and I see there are many similarities of a successful football team that relate to successful marketing.
The Game Plan:
Both teams have a game plan or strategy in place that is tactically unveiled as the game goes on. This happens play-by-play, series by series as well as through variations of how each team's offense, defense and special teams manage their own part of the game plan. All the tactical planning and energy put into one game is mind blowing when I think about it. The game plan, or strategy as I like to call it, is carefully constructed with many pieces of data, situations, personnel and the opponent in mind.
In today's marketing world, the same perspective needs to be applied to all that we do to craft a marketing strategy that looks at data, the market, competition, offerings, strengths, weaknesses, content, digital channels and the many other variables that cause us to shift our thinking and planning. My suggestion is to create a list of all the necessary pieces needed as well as draft a list of the variables (unknowns) and use that combined list to create a strategy that helps your marketing team reach its goals.
There are 11 players on the football field at the same time. Each one has a specific role to play in order for the team to be successful. If one player does not perform their job on any given play or series, that turns the strength of the game plan into an immediate weakness and quickly hurts the team. Within a split-second, that weakness can be exposed and the team's plan on that play or series fails. Sometimes this can cause a fumble, a dropped ball, a sack, a short gain on third down, a poorly executed route or even a game-changing interception that results in a lost Super Bowl.
As marketers, the results of our team's work can also vary in degrees of importance. Your marketing team must know their roles and why they are important for each and every initiative they are working on. This can be difficult because there can be multiple projects each day that are assigned. Marketing leaders, your must act as the head coach of the marketing team and help your team to understand their role completely. A team is only as strong as the weakest member, so be clear what the end result is, equip your staff and craft a game plan so your team knows what they have to do in order to get there. This can be tricky, especially with a small marketing team. Sometimes staff must wear multiple hats that cross several disciplines. Ultimately, your game plan is only going to be successful if you have the right staff in place that know and fully understand the game plan and requirements.
This is not an easy task and should not be done in a silo. Marketing teams need to have constant discussions on the nuances of game planning and execution. A team that communicates well with one another most likely will execute at a higher efficiency than those that do not communicate and in the end, continue to score points for your brand when you need them.