Super Bowl weekend is upon us, and Atlanta and New England fans, among millions of others, are gearing up for the ultimate gridiron showdown.
Whether or not you like football, there is no denying the war-like tactics at play. The players push their bodies to incredible extremes, but all their blood, sweat and tears would be for naught if not for the head coach—the master strategist on the sidelines holding the playbook. As each team’s personal Patton, a head coach can be a father figure, a boss, a commander and a friend. Above all else, a coach must be a leader.
Strategic thinking, problem solving and a can’t-quit attitude are common among many championship-winning coaches. That raises a question: What can some of pro football’s most respected coaches teach us about marketing?
Consider these words of wisdom from the gridiron, as well as how they apply to marketing:
1. “Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” — Vince Lombardi, head coach, Green Bay Packers (1959-67), Washington Redskins (1969)
Though it’s hard for perfectionists to swallow, every marketing effort could be improved. Always strive for perfection, yet accept that not everything in your campaign will go as planned. Instead of getting discouraged, use a steady stream of results and data to uncover ways to improve your efforts.
2. ” It’s not necessarily who has the most talent, but what team sticks together and executes their fundamentals the best.” — Tony Dungy, head coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1996-2001), Indianapolis Colts (2002-2008)
Although standout talent can be a significant asset, teamwork outperforms individual success nearly every time. Marketing and brand management are team sports. Social media interfaces with blogs, which interface with overall branding, which interfaces with your website. In an agency, our work is only as good as our willingness to collaborate toward the singular goal of our clients’ success.
3. “If you want to win, do the ordinary things better than anyone else does them, day in and day out.” —Chuck Noll, head coach, Pittsburgh Steelers (1969-91)
First, consistency is key: Keep up on both blog and social media schedules, posting regularly. Maintaining brand standards is fundamental to high quality in branding.
Beyond consistency, pay attention to details. From the spelling and grammar in an e-blast to tagging the correct Facebook page in a promotional post, taking the extra five minutes to double- and triple-check marketing work is smart and worthwhile.
4. “Try not to do too many things at once. Know what you want, the number one thing today and tomorrow. Persevere and get it done.”— George Allen, head coach, Los Angeles Rams (1966-70), Washington Redskins (1971-77)
5. “Success demands singleness of purpose.” — Vince Lombardi, head coach, Green Bay Packers (1959-67), Washington Redskins (1969)
Coach Allen and Coach Lombardi both point toward the same lesson here: Keep your eye on the prize. Setting goals is vital to measuring success in marketing efforts. In marketing (and in life), if you don’t know where your end zone is, you risk wasting time and effort. Set specific goals for every marketing effort, and be sure to take steps in service of those objectives.
6. “You fail all the time, but you aren’t a failure until you start blaming someone else.” — Oail Andrew “Bum” Phillips, head coach, Houston Oilers (1975-80), New Orleans Saints (1981-85)
7. “Stay focused. Your start does not determine how you’re going to finish.”— Herm Edwards, head coach, New York Jets (2001-05), Kansas City Chiefs (2006-08)
Learn from your mistakes. Don’t let yours be that organization that keeps making the same mistakes (such as allowing interns to have full control of social media , or promoting content on the wrong platform for their audience).
When analyzing your marketing efforts, find solutions to the problem at hand, instead of “blaming someone else.” Examine your brand’s analytics platforms, and come up with improvements based on hard data and a proven marketing strategy.
8. “Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.”— George Stanley Halas, senior head coach, Chicago Bears (1933-42, 1946-55, 1958-67)
Marketing matters. From SEO to social media strategy, it all counts and is well worth giving your best to find and win new customers for your business.
Kelly Lafferman is chief marketing officer and principal at Findsome & Winmore.