I wouldn’t say I’m much of a sports fan. Actually, I would say I’m not a sports fan at all, but thanks to my husband, basketball has made a permanent home on our television screen, and I recently I couldn’t help but get caught up in the excitement between OKC and Miami. Watching the Miami Heat finally break through and win the NBA finals last week made me think about how similar marketing is to the sports world.
Each season, every NBA team has one ultimate goal – to get to the finals and win a championship. Much like that, a marketer’s goal is to reach the customer and get them to buy a certain product or service. However, the road to get there can be difficult as there are many competitors vying for the same goal, for that same customer.
The game of basketball is fast. As a player, you have to always be vigilant. There are rules to the game of basketball, but it can also be unexpected. Your competition may catch you off guard with a twist and a turn, you may lose one of your best players to injury, or you could be playing in an environment that’s not all too friendly. In marketing, there are certain processes and best practices. You learn in your marketing classes what you hope to apply in the real world, but once you get there, you realize that marketing is a rapidly changing environment. If you’re not always on your toes, being aware of your surroundings and competitors and staying current on the latest trends, you could find yourself watching from the bench during an important stretch of the game.
Both marketing and basketball requires a strategic plan before charging onto the playing field. However, although strategies are great at setting the stage, a team and a marketer has to remain flexible and be willing and able to make adjustments to strategy during the game. In basketball, no matter how much game footage you watch or what your coach teaches you, the team has to be able to make modifications during the game. Similarly, in a marketing campaign, keeping an eye on your analytics and competitors’ reactions will help you react to situations that may arise in the middle of the campaign.
Basketball and marketing may be completely different topics, but there are still many similarities between the two when you really think about it. What other aspects in your life do you find representative of marketing, or business in general?