5 Lessons Winning Brands Can Learn from the World Cup

The world’s attention has been on Brazil as the World Cup displays a show of athletic power and human triumph. Here’s what marketers can learn from the games.

1. Complacency kills

We’ve seen this time and time again. A team scores a goal early on in a game, then lets down their guard just long enough to get outplayed by their opponent, leading to a loss. It’s never a good idea to sit on your laurels if you want to win, whether it’s on the pitch or in the office. Great teams have the discipline to stay focused on winning and don’t give in to the temptation to bask in glory before the game is over. Sure, you may feel good about your current sales numbers, but somewhere else a company is pushing forward to do better. Business is always moving forward, and if you stay in the same spot, you’ll be left behind. It’s not enough to settle for the status quo. Research in Motion (RIM) and Kodak are proof of how lethal complacency is. Lack of forward-thinking, satisfaction with current success, fear of cannibalization, and risk-averse thinking can drive companies into the ground.

2. The underdog always has a chance

The odds are against them, they’re smaller than the others, they don’t have the star power, they lack the big budgets, but they stun everyone by winning. Costa Rica’s fierce conquest for the World Cup allowed them to push past England. Puma’s crafty strategies have allowed them to get a bite out of a big advertising opportunity, despite not having anywhere near the budget of Adidas or Nike. Don’t let excuses get in your way. True underdogs are fueled by their intense desire to prove everyone wrong. Your brand can have the smaller budget and still give the heavyweights a run for their money. Work smarter, not harder. Find ways to do things more efficiently. For example, marketing automation can execute personalized marketing at scale. Relevant emails delivered through automation drive 18 times more revenue than email blasts (Source: Jupiter Research).

3. The refs aren’t an excuse for winning or losing

Complain about the rules all you want, but they’re not going to change, so you have to find a way to work within them. At the end of the day, winning or losing isn’t something you can blame on the refs. The same goes for marketers. You can complain about rules and regulations getting in your way or you can make it happen. Everyone has to deal with them – so it’s an even playing field. The rules and regulations healthcare marketers must deal with can seem insurmountable, but there are ways to do great work without upsetting your legal team.

4. Expect the unexpected and be ready to adapt

At any moment, the situation may deviate from what you expected. This is why great teams are ready for anything and capable of adjusting. When USA’s Jozy Alitidore got hurt in the first game, they didn’t have anyone to replace him. Coach Jurgen Klinsmann had three options: to play Clint Dempsey as the only striker, or play a two-striker formation with Dempsey and either Aron Johannson or Chris Wondolowski. Regardless, the team had to adjust to something different than expected.

Smart coaches don’t put all their eggs in one basket. Smart marketers don’t either. Avoid relying on a single channel, trend, or technology. A multidimensional integrated approach will be much more effective. Staying on top of the latest trends, consumer needs and preferences, technology, competitors, and the business environment will help you anticipate big shifts and better prepare for them.

5. Timing is everything

To score a goal, you have to be in the right place at the right time. Effective marketers understand the importance of timing when deciding the frequency and schedule of email, social, and other forms of content. It’s all about being available for your prospect at the time when they need you.

5 Lessons Winning Brands Can Learn from the World Cup - PW