Super lessons from Dallas

Published on: 08:25AM Feb 11, 2011

The Super Bowl teaches football fans a lot. Among those lessons: Shop for snacks two hours before the game to avoid lines. You can get a sore throat in winter and not be sick (nonstop cheering will do that to you). Buy tickets on e-Bay at your own risk.

There are lessons for your business, too. Whether or not you watched the game, please indulge a couple of happy Packer fans and allow us to share a few highlights relevant to your marketing.
Always prepare:
The score was 21 – 17, Packers ahead. The Steelers were marching toward the end zone with momentum on their side. Then, in one of the game’s most pivotal plays, Packer linebacker Clay Matthews knocked the ball loose from the Steelers running back, and Green Bay recovered the fumble. Matthews later credited his reaction to film study and preparation. He knew what he would do if he saw that particular play materializing. He had made his decision in advance, then executed without hesitation. You’ve heard that marketing mantra here before.
Don’t give up:
How many key passes did Packer receivers drop? Six, I think. They were crucial, gut-wrenching drops, the kind that inspire anger and frustration in most people, Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers not among them. Rather than get upset, Rodgers inspired confidence by keeping his cool and trying again. Receiver Jordy Nelson, who dropped a few of those key passes, said later about his mistakes: “If you play this game long enough, you are going to drop the ball. You have to move on.” You’re going to make marketing mistakes, too. Don’t let them stop you from the end goal: winning.
Have patience:
Again, learning from dropped passes: Aaron Rodgers didn’t panic or begin forcing passes to his receivers after they failed to catch so many of them. When the game was over, it was clear his patience paid off. When you hit a rough patch with your marketing, be patient. Recognize it’s going to happen. Adjust your planning if necessary, and keep moving downfield.
Create contingencies:
Hours before kick-off, the Dallas fire marshal declared temporary seating incomplete and unsafe, leaving 1,200 ticketholders without seats. NFL personnel scrambled to find a place for fans, but in the end, 400 people had to watch the game on a television monitor. What should the NFL been prepared to do? The lesson here is ask yourself the “what if” questions before worst-case scenarios become reality.
Work as a team:
During the regular season, the Packers lost 15 players to injury. Each time, someone else from the team rose to the occasion. Before halftime in the Super Bowl, the Packers lost two key players to injury for the remainder of the game. Again, others on the team stepped in. When your "plan A" strategy does not work, do you have a "plan B," "plan C," and "plan D" in place to save the day? The Packers did! They had bench strength to back them up.
Don’t get overly confident:
Was Christina Aguilera too confident prior to singing the national anthem? It’s been reported that she’s been singing it for audiences since age 7. She certainly has plenty of stage experience, so you wouldn’t think stage fright caused her to get the words wrong. I don’t know the answer. But I do know over-confidence is dangerous in marketing. The markets can turn on a dime. Preparation is the key. Aaron Rodgers said on the David Letterman Show that, on paper, his stats, size, speed, etc. would not indicate that he had a chance of being a Super Bowl winning quarterback. He credited hard work and preparation for his success. How many marketers can say the same?
The bottom line? Long after hoarse throats recover, grocery store shelves are restocked and snow melts in Dallas, marketing lessons taught by the big game endure. Heed them, and you’ll find yourself on the winning side of the market.
Packer fanatic Scott Burditt appreciates the opportunity to relive the game by contributing to this blog.
Scott Stewart is president and CEO of Stewart-Peterson, a commodity marketing consulting firm based in West Bend, Wis. You may reach Scott at 800-334-9779, email him at [email protected].
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