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Teams Matter in Marketing, as in Sports

I’m writing this after playing a game of full-court basketball and I have to brag that we took home the victory. The game was fun, tiring, thrilling, frustrating, exciting, painful, fast, argumentative and enjoyable all at the same time. If you had judged the two teams based on looks, you would have guessed my team would lose and, for most of the game, we were. We had only one substitution versus the other team’s three, several dislocated and jammed fingers and a painful hit in the “nether parts” in the first ten minutes of the game. The point is; odds were against us winning the game.

“Why am I reading a recap on your insignificant basketball game James?” Well, I’ll explain with over-used clichés. We were down, but not out. Down by fifteen in the second half, things were looking grim. It was time to step up to the plate. The ball was in our court, literally. The other team wanted to play hardball but we stuck to our guns and through our patience and team work, knocked it out of the park. Our strategy was a slam dunk (unfortunately not literally, due to a lack of hops).

In the work I do, it helps to look at marketing through the eyes of sports. The rollercoaster of emotions I described in the first paragraph in many ways parallels working in the fast-paced marketing industry. There can be hard times but when you pull out a “victory,” it’s all worth it. As nice as perfection would be, our agencies or teams are not perfect. We are often playing “when tired, over extended or with blind spots”. These circumstances make it essential to work together, communicate effectively, minimize mistakes and deliver work that is creative, innovative, cutting-edge, impressive and effective. In other words: deliver results that the client loves.

My basketball team pulled together, encouraged each other every time we went up and down the court or made a play, and, despite all odds, came out victorious. It felt great to be a part of the team that day. There is no greater feeling than accomplishing something incredible and having a blast while doing it. I have found this type of synergy mostly happens when you have a supportive team that works together toward a cause. Team members who pull themselves out of the game and don’t contribute positively also bring down and discourage their teammates, often missing golden opportunities.

Last summer, the U.S. men’s soccer team could have let their teammates down, but instead worked together and didn’t give up. After a grueling 90 minutes of soccer, it would have been easy to quit or not give it their all. The entire U.S. team stayed together and pulled off an amazing win. Winning last night and watching the U.S. team score last summer made me feel like this >

As marketers we can get this same feeling when we have fun working and completing projects together, as a team.

Posted on June 1, 2011 in Ideas

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