Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Coaching...and Marketing 101

This winter I have been coaching a high school JV boys basketball team in Northern Kentucky, for the very first time. I've always played hoops and coached my children and other AAU teams, but this is my first experience with locker rooms and bus rides and consistantly meeting the same young personalities and players each and every afternoon. Net, my first true TEACHING opportunity. It's been a wonderful experience, and we're headed down the home stretch, but I've gained some insights and now forming even more convictions and true parallels between coaching and marketing a product or service. For one, social media is a focal point of this young generation. And as such, needs to be a focal point of our marketing plans. The boys are always connected or connecting to someone or something. This generation is beautiful, connected and kind - in that they all seem to celebrate similarities and common threads between their peers, while in generations past, we would point out differences. Community is a big part of the world, as is content. Marketing managers - are you listening? Community, content and a call to action. Sound familiar? Ok, now back to coaching and marketing insights. These players need to have the "WHAT" laid-out for them. WHAT is the play, the scheme, the positions on the floor, so net, the structure or blueprint. What is it? As a coach, (or Marketing Director) you have to lay this out - in a simple, compelling and clear way. THEN, and only then, will the players have the comfort level to get to work, being athletic, and performing the HOW. Yes the HOW. The players want and need to take care of the HOW. They relish being athletes and having the freedom to move about gracefully and orchestrating HOW they run the floor, play, shoot and jump and get to the rim. That is what they live for. However, the coach must lay-out the WHAT. Lay out what the play is, the structure, where they are supposed to run on this small court. Once the players are comfortable with the WHAT, they will flourish and show you HOW! Same is true with marketing and social media. We marketers must have convictions as to WHAT we are laying-out and investing in. What is the plan. What is the WHAT? Then, we must allow the consumers - at the heart of any marketing plan - the consumers, to react and engage in the HOW. They will show us HOW!!

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