Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Look to your golf game for help with your marketing

How golf can teach you lessons about marketing.

Who doesn’t love golf? Well, actually I can name a few but if you are like me you love the game. It is a mentally challenging and skillful display of focus and determination. I often try to meet with clients at the driving range or on the course as much as I can. It’s a nice way to break up the day. Hitting a bucket of balls and talking over a current strategy is more appealing than sitting in a boardroom.
But as an avid golfer and an authority on advertising I often find a plethora of parallels between the teachings of golf and the lessons in marketing. Here are a few that I would like to share and hopefully they will put a smile on your face.

You’re a Hooker!
No not that type, someone who hooks the ball in golf is someone that constantly pulls shots to the left. It’s a common ailment that plague recreation golfers. (so is the slice, when the balls pulls to the right) What you really want is the ball to go straight or at least be able to control when the ball slices or hooks. But most of us can’t do it on command because we don’t know how. Well such is true in advertising. Clients want their advertising to achieve certain goals but they’re not quite sure why their current efforts aren’t working. They don’t know how to fix it. Well in golf, if you want to fix your swing you must go to a golf pro and have them analyze it. They can show you certain elements to fix and adjust. Once you put them to practice the magic happens and your hook or slice begins to go away. Just like advertising, if you hire a pro, they will evaluate your current situation, look at what you’ve been doing and tell you what isn’t working and why. Then they will suggest a few things to change and make some strategic recommendations. With the right plan in place you can watch the magic happen as your marketing garners the results you want.

Nice clubs, crappy shot.

If you golf chances are you may know someone like this, they have a really expensive set of golf clubs but they don’t know how to hit the ball. They look good, until they start swinging. I know a guy who every year goes out and buys new clubs, really expensive ones. He has to have the latest technology and engineering because he feels it’s vital to his game. Ironically his “game” is not that good. Having the latest and greatest doesn’t always mean that it’s going to work for you. Such is true in advertising. There are a lot of different ways to get your brand message out there, some are new (SMM, Mobile Marketing, QR codes)with all kinds of cool features (crowd sourcing) but if you don’t know how to use them properly you are just throwing your money away. Instead of spending a ton of money on the latest golf clubs, first learn to hit the ball properly. Just like in advertising, before you go out and try every new tactic, first get a handle on your strategy then use whichever cool, new media fits your strategy and make it work for you. You’ll get way better results.

 Everybody thinks they’re a pro

So, you decide you want to take up the game of golf, you tell a few people and all of a sudden everyone is giving you advice on how to swing. They really mean well, but the inundation of info can be crazy. Open your stance, bring the club back slow, don’t calk your wrists, caulk your wrists, turn your hips etc. Before you know it your head is spinning. The truth is, people just want to share with you what has worked for them but be careful because it may not be the right advice for you. Taking the wrong advice can set you back even further from where you started. So how do you know what to listen to or what not to? Easy, go see a pro. There are many people who think they can just figure it out on their own and achieve success. (In golf those are usually the ones you see on the course spending more time searching for their ball than enjoying the game.) When it comes to marketing lots of businesses think they can go it alone and handle it themselves. They usually end up wasting time and money searching for why it didn’t generate the results they were expecting. A professional can put you on the road to success a lot faster and often times with much greater results than if you tried to figure it out on your own.

So to recap here are some steps to get your advertising game in shape.

1)    Take the time to do some research and find yourself a great pro to help you out. How do you know if they are good at what they do? Check their track record. Their previous work is all you have to go on. If they have done great work for other clients chances are they can help you out too.

2)    Strategy, strategy, strategy. I can’t say it enough. It’s the basis of great work. Without it you’re being led astray. If any company offers you a tactic before offering you a strategy run away. A proper strategy will outline the proper target, the proper messaging and the right tactics to express that messaging and ways to measure your success. Operating without a strategy is like walking up to the tee and not aiming towards the hole. What’s the point?

3)    You don’t have to use all the new channels of marketing to be successful. That being said, you do have to be integrated. No one tactic alone will pull enough results for you so combine a few efforts. Do some online advertising with some SEO and then offset it with a great online video or TV commercial. Make sure it all works together to get the results you want.

4)    And finally be bold. That’s right don’t be vanilla or middle of the road. Take a stance and stand out from your competitors. Find new ground that they have yet to tread on. Make waves, big waves and rock the boat. Be strategic in your approach, clear and singular in your messaging and bold and edgy in your execution and you’ll knock it out of the park every time.
As you can see the life lessons that golf can teach us are abundant and wise. Next time you’re looking to increase your bottom line take a look at your golf game, you just might find the answer.