From the desk of Chris Efken
As the mother of an AAU high school basketball player, I spend nearly every weekend traveling across the country watching my son play in tournaments. Yes, it’s a glamorous life!
This past weekend, a fellow parent asked about my career outside of player management and chief chauffer. When I explained how I help my clients make smarter business decisions, I quickly realized that what my son does on court is not all that different from our lives as marketers and researchers. Like basketball players, we assess the competition, decide to shoot (i.e., take action) or pass and strategize about the next series of plays.
As my son and I traveled home, we talked about additional courtside lessons that he could apply to his future in business. Here are a few other lessons and analogies we discussed:
- Though we are all watching the same game, there are several different stories unfolding at any one time and great players pay attention to all of them—Similarly, as marketers we need to uncover these different stories and employ both offensive and defensive strategies to build awareness, market share…and to win!
- And, with so much action taking place at any given moment, we are still likely to miss something—Reviewing the game film (i.e., consumer video and past research reports) and data can uncover additional insights needed to revise strategies, play up our strengths and capitalize on our opponents weaknesses.
- Follow-through and rebounding are everything—Following the shot (e.g., brand plan) and anticipating where the ball will bounce (e.g., retailers’ reactions), allows you an abundance of opportunities to employ alternate plans to modify and again try to score.
- Flashy names, uniforms and shoes can only go so far—There must be quality to back up the image created by the packaging. Otherwise, the Young Phenoms or Dynamic Disciples lose their following and are quickly replaced by teams or products that consistently deliver quality.
With just 4 tournaments left in my son’s AAU career, we both look forward to the ultimate lesson: hard work pays off. I now look forward to learning more lessons watching him play college basketball. Stay tuned! I’m sensing there will be several updates to this blog post and perhaps even an e-book of Courtside Lessons for Marketing Professionals.