As a golfer, I can't help but be distracted this time a year. Since golf is on the mind, I thought I'd outline the synergies between the game and the discipline of marketing. Both take precision, patience and a little luck. Here's how they intersect.
Have a GAMEPLAN:
Each elite golfer at the US Open has planned weeks in advance for this tournament, even considering when and how often to play leading up to the event. They've detailed how they will play each hole; which clubs to carry in their bag, when to take their chances and what club to hit depending on tee and pin placement.
Businesses of course should do the same; yet most small businesses operate without a clear marketing plan. No plan = desperate stabs in the dark to grow your business. Think like a tour pro, understand your course, and develop the right strategies and tactics for the job.
With that in mind, GET A COACH:
The majority of tour pro's will have a coach with them, or at the very least, a close advisor who can be a credentialed guide to help them hone their swing and formulate a gameplan. Ever present is their on course coach, their caddie, who keeps them on track and assists as needed.
You too should have a coach! Trying to make smart decisions about how to optimize your limited budget is nearly impossible if you aren't skilled in the art of marketing. Find someone who can help you formulate a smart strategy and help you select the right tools and tactics to maximize your ROI, no matter your budget.
COMMIT to the shot:
The best golfers are the ones that do this well. They know they are prepared, have studied the elements, and visualize their next stroke. Then, they commit to that shot 100%.
Once you have a marketing plan you are confident with, execute with precision and confidence. Many companies end up paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake or wasting money. If you've got a smart plan, don't hesitate. Act!
ADAPT to changing conditions:
Sun, wind, rain, bad lies, poor play, a loose swing, slow partners, a tweaked wrist... the best PGA pro's are ready for anything that might come their way. Their planning and practice has prepared and conditioned them to accept, adapt and move on from any adversity they might face.
No marketing plan is perfect. You'll need to make changes along the way, pouring more money into the things that work, and quickly killing any strategies and activities that are no longer relevant or producing results.
Listen to any of the top 5 players in the world and you'll recognize one thing unanimously; humble confidence. While they have found much success through hard work, they know they are just one bad round away from losing a tournament, or falling back in the rankings. The game can bite you quick if you don't respect it. That's why they constantly monitor their swing and test new equipment well in advance of putting it in play.
Things may be going well for your business now, but how will you grow your sales in the next 1, 3 or 5 years? It's easy to be 'fat on the calf' when things are good, but what about the future? (see: real estate before 2008). Be always mindful of how you will keep things fresh and interesting for your customers through innovation and attention to details.
Birdies are nice, but any pro will tell you that making par on every hole is a great way to excel on tour. The competition is fierce and there is a lot of parity in the game. Each entrant can win the US Open if they play steady, take smart chances and accept the set backs as they come. The winner could very well be the person who makes the least bogeys, not the most birdies.
Every business would like to have a "viral video", or execute a marketing idea that solves all their problems. It just doesn't work like that most of the time. It takes patience and a methodical approach to delivering a targeted and valuable product/service and brand message to the right audience. Have belief, be dilligent and don't get distracted from executing the little things that will add up to a big win in the end!
If you're looking for a good coach for your business, give me a call. Right after the US Open...