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The Top 4 Things the NFL Can Teach You About Marketing

A football laid down to a grass field

I’m very happy to feature a guest post from Laura Petrolino today. As you’ll see, Laura has a favorite past time: football. When you read her bio at the end of the post, you’ll ask the same question I did: “how does this woman have time to watch football?” She does, though, and this post is proof that she gets a lot out of it! –Pamela Wilson

brand marketing with tips from the NFL

Football is like life — it requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication and respect for authority. –Vince Lombardi

brand marketing with ideas for your business from LauraFootball is more than a game. It is about strategy, about fully utilizing your resources, about adjusting to sudden change … and, of course, about pleasing your fans.

We can learn a lot about life from the game of football. Whether it be business, personal, spiritual or psychological; many of life’s great questions can be answered by analyzing the way things are done on the field, and marketing is no exception.

So listen up, team! What follows are the top four things you can learn from the NFL that will help make your marketing campaigns Super Bowl worthy!

Pre-season is a necessary evil

OK, OK: we all know pre-season stinks. You watch your starters suffer pointless injuries, the games lack gusto, the bench warmers play way too much. Unfortunately, as boring and anti-climatic as it might be, pre-season is needed to help you refine your regular season strategy.

Do your due diligence when laying out your marketing plan, too. Research and study your market, take inventory of your resources and don’t be afraid to try some starters on the field (test out your ideas) to see how they play before adding them to your official campaign.

Learn to embrace the pre-season and you will end up with a much more targeted, efficient and successful marketing campaign.

Have a goal

In the NFL, the teams have 17 weeks to make it to the Super Bowl. There is a huge difference when you play a game knowing …

  • you have a limited time line
  • you have a goal you are aiming for

… than when you play haphazardly, with no real end point or defined goal to focus on.

Your marketing campaigns should follow suit. Have a goal for each campaign, whether it be expanding your customer base, increasing return customers, introducing or pushing a particular product or service, etc. Know what you want the end result to be, and formulate the campaign around that goal result.

Don’t mistake flashy play with smart play

Many ‘star’ players have made the fatal mistake of exchanging a smart, strategic game in favor of a flashy, crowd-pleasing one. Sure, this garners lots of attention and media hits at first, but that quickly vanishes when the scoreboard isn’t working in their favor.

Your fans might like it when you dance around the field like a chihuahua on steroids, but they’ll love it when you play a quality, solid game that takes them closer to a championship.

Make the quality and consistency of your product or service the cornerstone of your marketing campaign and you’ll never go wrong!

Know when to quit

I have two words for you: Bret Favre. Need I say more?

Sure, Favre had a great season last year. Sure, he’d like to have a Super Bowl trip to cap off his ‘legacy,’ but things don’t look good for Bret and his Vikings this year.

Instead of capping off his 19 NFL seasons with arguably one of his best seasons to be remembered by, he risks leaving at the end of this season with his tail between his legs, looking like a tired, old ‘has been’ who didn’t know when to walk away.

Don’t be Bret Favre. It is always better to end a campaign sooner, rather than later. We all know the commercial jingles that are catchy when they first come out and then end up annoying the heck out of us because they play too much and too long. Always leave your customer wanting more.

And there you have it team. Are we ready?

I’ll leave you with more inspiring words from the great Vince Lombardi:

I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle victorious.

What lessons have sports taught you about business? Let’s hear about how you’ve applied them in the comments!

About the author: Laura Petrolino is Managing Director of Flying Pig Communications, a communications and business consulting firm which focuses on the needs of startups, small business and non-profits. She also directs and operates 365 Days of Startups, a niche membership site providing educational resources, expert advice and peer networking for the startup and entrepreneur community. Find her on twitter @lkpetrolino and @365startups

Laura Petrolino

Pamela Wilson coaches people in midlife to build profitable online businesses
I’m Pamela Wilson

In 2010, at the age of 45, I started this site and grew it into a business that offers freedom, flexibility — and consistent revenue.


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