Thursday, June 11, 2015

What the NBA Finals Can Teach Us About Marketing

Basketball shot
Our hometown Houston Rockets might be out, but that doesn't mean we're not enjoying watching the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors duke it out in the NBA Finals.

Watching the Cavaliers' LeBron James drive to the hoop and the Warriors' Stephen Curry hit long 3-pointers got us thinking about some things we can learn from these two juggernaut squads. Here are a few tips you can take from them to make sure you're set up for success.

It Takes More Than a Superstar


LeBron James is as big a superstar as they come, but even he needs good teammates to give the team a chance to win. With players such as J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson playing their respective roles, the Cavaliers are in the finals for the first time in eight years and are trying to give the city of Cleveland its first major championship in more than half a century.

Just as you wouldn't ask Thompson — the Cavaliers' second best rebounder — to take 3-point shots (he didn't attempt even one this year), you wouldn't ask one of your marketing team members to produce every aspect of a campaign. When creating a campaign, let the graphic designer, the writer and the web developer each do their respective jobs. They'll produce a better campaign as a team, playing to each other's strengths, rather than if a single employee took on all the work.

Focus on Your Forte


The Warriors' Stephen Curry broke the record for most 3-pointers made in a single season and also led the 2014-15 season in number of 3-pointers attempted. Why did he take more than 620 3-point shots, you ask? We're pretty sure it's because he knows he can hit them; hence that whole record-breaking-3-point-shots-made-thing.

If you do something really well, keep doing it. Don't kick out your most successful ideas just because it's time to try something new. When you strike gold with a campaign, ad or promotion, keep it running so you can generate a greater return than you would on less-loved campaigns. If Stephen Curry won't stop shooting threes, you shouldn't either.

...But Don't Be Afraid to Take Risks


As we mentioned, you'll get a large return if you keep doing what's always worked. But at the same time, risks can still have a big payoff. Just take a look at the coaches in the finals. Cleveland coach David Blatt had never played or coached in the NBA, and Golden State coach Steve Kerr didn't have any coaching experience going into his rookie coaching season in the NBA. The teams took risks hiring newbies, but so far it looks like it's paid off.

Whether it's making the most of a modest budget or doing something out of the ordinary, taking risks when it comes to marketing campaigns can sometimes not only generate buzz but also a healthy return on investment. If your campaigns are getting a little stale, maybe it's time for a brainstorming session with your team. Some of the craziest ideas can turn into great campaigns.

If you're more interested in sports with wheels, learn about how "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" can apply to your call tracking needs in our post "How to Make Sure Wins on the Track Turn into Wins in the Showroom."