Hall of Fame football coach Bill Parcells won two Super Bowls with the Giants and coached other teams that I choose not to reference because doing so would make me physically ill. He was once asked if his team was better than their record would indicate.
Parcells famously replied, “You are what your record says you are.”
In other words, you can have great talent on the field. You can have great coaching and management who put a great team together and develop a great game plan.
But if you don’t put it all together and execute the game plan, your record won’t be as good as it could be.
A fumble or interception could cause a 14-point swing and cost you the game. A player who loses his cool and gets flagged for a 15-yard penalty could put the other team in position for a game-winning field goal. Poor clock management at the end of a half could blow your chance to score points that could be the difference between winning and losing.
Ultimately, a football team isn’t judged by how talented it is or how well it played for most of the game. Wins and losses are based on one factor – the final score.
Your talent and ability might say you’re an 11-5 team, but if the scoreboard says you’re 8-8, you’re 8-8.
That record determines who gets into the playoffs and who gets home field advantage. History then judges playoff teams by their record in the playoffs and Super Bowls, if they make it that far.
Because you are what your record says you are.
What Does Your Marketing Say about You?
Let’s assume you’re really good at what you do. Your company is loaded with talent. You have an exceptional product or service. You have a finely tuned process for servicing your clients. You have an efficient operational model.
Your employees, clients and referral sources know how good you are at what you do. But what about people who are discovering your business for the first time?
Those people rely on marketing to form their initial opinions and shape their perceptions of your company. And you know what they say about perception.
You could be the best in the world at what you do. But if you don’t effectively communicate how well you do what you do, you’re probably leaving money on the table. And your company’s reputation could suffer.
Because you are what your marketing says you are.
Minimizing the Marketing Turnovers
It’s amazing how turnovers (interceptions and lost fumbles) directly correlate with wins and losses in football. According to data from Pro-Football-Reference.com from 2002-2013, teams with just one fewer turnover than their opponents end up winning 70 percent of those games. Teams with two fewer turnovers win 84 percent of the time.
For the sake of this blog post, let’s loosely define a marketing turnover as an opportunity lost due to ineffective marketing. You can dramatically reduce marketing turnovers by simply making sure the quality of your marketing matches the quality of your work.
Take a look at your marketing content, particularly the staples that don’t change frequently, like your website content, social profiles and brochures. Ask the following questions:
- Does your marketing explain, in the simplest of terms, what you do and the value of what you do?
- Does your marketing explain the results you deliver and your process for delivering those results?
- Does your marketing explain why your company and the products or services you provide are more desirable than your competition?
- Does your marketing get beyond stale marketing clichés (highest quality, lowest prices, best service, etc.) to provide relevant, compelling reasons to do business with you?
- Does your marketing tell your story and convey your company’s values?
If you can answer “yes” to all of these questions, people will have a good idea of what it’s like to work with you. They’ll be able to preview the outcome of working with you. They’ll start to feel confident in the quality of your work.
The best marketing won’t guarantee a sale, but it will help you avoid turnovers caused by marketing that doesn’t do justice to your company and how you operate. It will help you start to build trust and credibility with people who are discovering your business for the first time.
In marketing circles, we call this creating leads. And better marketing equals more leads.
Continue to be exceptional at what you do. Just make sure your marketing is equally exceptional.