News article

What the NFL (and their great coaches) can teach you about marketing

In 2022, the American NFL will celebrate its centenary. Over 100 years it’s grown into arguably the planet’s most successful sporting competition, and now boasts the highest average attendance of any professional sports league in the world.

Much like any successful marketing agency or team, NFL teams must have a plan to ensure success. By looking at the three key steps coaches take to win championships, we can see what makes for a quality marketing plan.

1. Having a gameplan

Before every single game, an NFL coaching team will devise a game plan specifically for their upcoming opponent.

This game plan will often include every play of an opening couple of drives, specific plays designed to target their opponent’s weaknesses, and adjustments to counter the opposition’s strengths.

For example, if a team is due to play an opponent that is very good at running the ball, a coach may decide to “crowd the line of scrimmage” (have more players at the point of attack).

Similarly, any marketing team worth their salt will create a detailed plan to make sure they achieve the goals set out. This may be increasing the number of leads, populating a mailing list, increasing the number of reviews or any other marketing objectives.

The plan should include:

  • Targets, that are achievable and trackable
  • A list of actions to be taken
  • Who will carry out these actions
  • A timeline of when actions will be carried out
  • Key performance indicators (KPIs) which can be tracked throughout the process.

2. Monitoring performance and making adjustments

Throughout the course of a game, coaches (the good ones at least) will monitor the performance of their team and make adjustments accordingly.

If their team is losing, they can look to adjust the initial game plan, looking to counter where they’re being beaten. For example, if they’re having little success passing the ball they move to a more run-based offence.

Or, if their defence is unable to get to the opponent’s quarterback the team can look to send more “pass rushers” to disrupt them.

Meanwhile, when carrying out a marketing plan, it’s vital that all parties involved regularly get together to make sure everything is on track. Depending on the time frame of the plan, parties may agree to get together weekly, monthly, or quarterly to discuss the plan and its progress.

By using KPIs, marketing teams can quickly check that the campaign is on track to achieve its goals.

For example, if the target of a 12-month campaign is to achieve 1,000 leads and has 500 leads or more after six months, then the campaign can be considered on track. Whereas if there are less than 500 after six months, the campaign is behind schedule and amendments are required.

If a campaign is behind schedule changes must be made quickly. These changes may include:

  • Increasing the amount being spent on advertisements
  • Testing new ad formats
  • Changing the messaging or target audience
  • Advertising at new times.

Once any changes are implemented, the campaign must be monitored to see if these changes have a positive effect on the campaign.

3. Analysis

After every game, win or lose, the team coaches must go away and analyse the game.

If the team wins, the coaches need to review the footage of the game, see where the team performed well and look for any potential weaknesses. This information is then vital to the preparation for the next game and devising the next game plan.

Likewise, after a marketing campaign has run its course, it’s important to sit down and analyse the success of the campaign. As well as working out what went right, it’s important to consider what went wrong.

To do this, the team involved must first look at whether the campaign finished with the desired results, such as:

  • Generating the number of leads expected
  • Producing the number of reviews expected
  • Converting leads into sales
  • Re-igniting old leads.

If the campaign met the targets set out at the start it’s important to review the campaign and its KPIs to see what worked. For example, if the campaign involved a social media campaign, did the new leads come from this? Or, if it was a campaign re-igniting old leads, which marketing platform did they come from? Was it social media? Or written communications? Or email newsletters?

Meanwhile, if the campaign failed to meet the targets laid out at the start it’s important to work out why:

  • Were the emails sent at suitable times?
  • Was the contact list up to date?
  • Were email subject lines tested?
  • Were written communications used?

After this analysis, the marketing team can make sure the necessary changes are made for any following campaigns. The cycle then repeats, with the marketing team beginning the planning process all over again.

If you’d like help with your marketing, please get in touch today and let us take your marketing to the top. Email [email protected] or call 0115 8965 300.

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