Sports fans will be glued to the FIFA World Cup for the next month, as 32 countries gather in Russia to determine who is the world’s greatest footballing nation. Football may seem like the ultimate diversion, but businesses can learn a lot from sports teams’ relentless pursuit of excellence and their focus on continual improvement.
We’re going to highlight a few lessons that SMEs can take away from the World Cup and apply to their local business advertising plan.
The top football coaches and players watch endless hours of footage of their opponents, analysing their strengths and weaknesses and tailoring their own strategy accordingly. This is exactly what you should be doing, as when you are planning a local business advertising campaign, the right preparation is paramount.
The more you know about your customers, the better you will be able to understand their needs and sell them your products and services. The same applies to your competitors. The more you know about what they are doing, and what their strengths and weaknesses are, the more you can differentiate yourself and compete. Is there anything your competitors are doing that you could emulate, or improve on? What are their tactics? Thinking like a coach will help you to properly strategise your marketing efforts.
Remember - preparation is the key to any contest. You can't be too prepared. If you work hard in training, you'll do better on the pitch! If it seems like a daunting process, get help by downloading our step-by-step guide to planning your marketing.
Some businesses opt for a totally sales-centric strategy, relegating lead development or building brand awareness while powering forward to seal deals. While this approach is understandable, it can put you at risk of undervaluing the other parts of your business. Any successful football team needs to work together as a whole unit. No matter how good a striker might be, they can’t score without getting passes in the right areas, or without their teammates’ assists.
Businesses should bear this in mind when formulating a strategy for local advertising. You may be tempted to simply focus all your time and effort into striking, sales-focused ads. But you should never overlook the crucial support work you can achieve across other channels, embedding your business into the local community and regularly communicating with potential customers.
Success requires your whole team to be pulling together and firing on all cylinders, with your forwards scoring sales based on the rock-solid support and assistance they’ve received further back on the pitch.
What applies to pre-game preparation also applies to post-match analysis. Hindsight always offers a different perspective. Win or lose, the best teams will go away, look at the analysis and see what was and wasn't working for them. Sport is a process of continuous improvement. You analyse your performance, identify your weaknesses and correct them.
Exactly the same process applies to a local business advertising campaign. Once your ads are out and your campaign is live, the game is on. Tools like Facebook and Google’s built-in stats reporting are now so swift and responsive that you can examine your performance while your campaign is still in play - and just like a football coach, you can see what is working, adjust your tactics and make substitutions accordingly.
Once the campaign is complete, look at your stats sheet. Which of your ads got the most clicks and conversions? What most appealed to your audience? What can you tweak to improve? If you can see what is - and is not - working, you can play to your strengths and optimise your game plan. In marketing, as in sport, progress should always be a constant.
For more marketing advice on running successful marketing campaigns, check out the following: