With the Ashes battle about to start (again), this week I’m indulging my passion for cricket to show how marketers can learn something from the sport.
If cricket bores you silly (or you’re from the USA), please bear with me – there’s an important point to make here and I promise not to go into the minutiae of the LBW law.
It’s all about analysing our mistakes.
When something doesn’t work – a batsman gets out or a marketing campaign doesn’t deliver results – you need to understand the reasons why and learn from those mistakes.
Let’s look at batsman Kevin Pietersen, about to play his 100th test match. KP has often been criticised for his shot selection – choosing to play the wrong type of stroke for a particular ball.
His supporters counter that by highlighting the number of runs KP has scored with aggressive shots and that, when he does get out, it’s often the execution of the shot that is poor rather than the type of shot he chose to play.
And that selection vs execution dilemma is equally important in marketing.
Did that campaign fail because it was the wrong type of activity or was it simply that you didn’t execute it properly?
When to look at your execution
You did your research, firmly believe it’s a good way to reach your customers, but so far it just isn’t working. Take a really good hard look at what you are doing. Is it really the very best you can do? What about your competitors? Is it working for them? If so, what can you learn from them and improve?
Blogging is a good example. You’ll find plenty of advice telling you that blogging is very important, but unless you execute it well – interesting topics, well-written articles, promotion via social media – it won’t be effective.
Social Media is another area where it’s all too easy to say “Facebook doesn’t work for us” rather than look at what you are doing on Facebook and where you could improve.
When to look at your selection
On the other hand, there’s no point in flogging a dead horse (or continuing to play that sweep shot if it keeps getting you out).
If, despite your best efforts, Amazon and ebay are still hogging all the top places on Google (the equivalent of Google bowling a googly, perhaps?), then maybe it’s time to scale back your SEO efforts and look at other ways of reaching your customers.
So make sure you analyse your marketing activities honestly and objectively. Don’t keep making the same mistakes – but don’t discard a potentially brilliant option just because you didn’t quite get it right first time.
Here’s hoping the England boys get their shot selection spot-on and their execution perfect down-under.