What Fantasy Football Teaches Us About Marketing

I’m a big fan of looking for business and marketing lessons in unexpected places: Ikea, my fall obsession, even Buddy the Elf. So, when our Charlotte office started a friendly fantasy football competition (no money — just bragging rights — though I’m hoping for a trophy), I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels between fantasy football and marketing in general.

In case you’re unaware, fantasy football is a competition in which the participants choose an imaginary “dream team” each week — a roster of actual players in the NFL that changes each week depending on a virtual draft. Your fantasy team scores points according to how the actual players you chose (the ones really in the NFL) performed that week in real games. 

Naturally, this all ties into marketing! Really, it does.

Here are 3 marketing lessons that I believe business owners and marketing directors can take from fantasy football.

  1. Pay attention early and often.

    If you’ve ever played fantasy football, you know that one of the worst mistakes you can make coming into the draft is not doing your research — what happened to each player last season, in the offseason, and in the preseason. Were they injured? Traded? Just getting older? All of these things will affect their performance.

    The same is true for marketers. 

    Deeply understanding your industry is critical for marketers. You need to know general industry information as well as audience-specific demographic information, media usage habits, pain points, and so on.You have your work cut out for you, but failure to do constant research can be disastrous. Choosing the right marketing channels, content, messaging, and sales offer depends on your knowledge of what’s happening.

  1. Constantly reevaluate. 

    Let’s be honest: The Carolina Panthers are struggling. If I drafted Cam Newton to my fantasy team week after week based solely on my knowledge of him from his 2015 MVP/nearly undefeated season, I wouldn’t do very well now in my fantasy games. He’s banged up, in a slump, and he’s getting older. Ignoring those factors will cost me success.Previous greatness doesn’t ensure future greatness. Nowhere is this truer than marketing.

    Think of every campaign as your game day. Reevaluate where you are, where your customers are, what your objectives and goals are, and the results you seek. Then, adjust your sails. You won’t succeed by sitting back and relying on the same channels regardless of the current situation.

    Campaign analytics are crucial to your assessment of how well campaigns have worked and what future ones are your best bet.

  1. Watch for sleepers. 

    Fantasy players regularly say they are looking sleepers — players who aren’t well known but have potential to have a great season. Sleepers are hard to predict, but they can be picked up cheaply and have a big impact on the season.Marketers also need to be looking for sleepers — cheap channels that end up producing big results — by targeting, messaging, and providing unique offers to the audience. Social media platforms like Instagram and YouTube are perfect examples. You can build a community around your brand without competing with others for your audience’s attention.

    Finding a marketing sleeper requires a bit of trial and error, but the payoff can be huge.

As always, continue to look for business and marketing lessons in unexpected places. And, good luck with your fantasy team this year. Just don’t beat me. I want that trophy.

 

About Rachel Coughtry

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