The Signs of an Olympian Level Marketing Team

by Michelle McGinnis on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 in Marketing Measurement

Are you one of the millions glued to your TV, watching match after match during the Olympics?

There are obvious reasons to love the Olympics. The best athletes gather in some corner of the world to compete. It’s a time when passion, grit and fine-tuned skills are on display.

Most marketers will probably never battle it out at the Olympics. But plenty know what it’s like to go head-to-head against the competition. To win, modern marketers need to prepare like athletes with the top-notch resources and clear-cut strategies. Here are four elements of an Olympic level marketing team.

Strength
Watch a gymnast on the balance beam or a swimmer lunging through the lane in 400-meter medley, and it can be easy to forget just how much physical strength goes into looking that graceful. Olympic athletes take fitness seriously, turning their bodies into machines.

Similarly, marketers need strong, robust tools to compete in today’s rapid-fire environment. They need to dabble in an unprecedented number of tactics (email marketing, content production, lead generation, social media, direct and online ads, to name just a few). And as the team scales out its efforts, they need to trust their tools won’t fail when things heat up. 

Agility
There are many Olympic tracks where the athletes need to perform more than one function: track and field, gymnastics, swimming, etc. In these high-pressure sports, the athletes need to demonstrate agility, an ability to bounce from one event to the next, to even make the team.

Marketing isn’t so different. While one member of your team might specialize in demand generation while another focuses on product, no one can afford to fly solo. You need the flexibility to comprehend and participate in multiple functions.

Training
Olympic athletes dedicate their entire lives to making the cut, and ultimately, bringing home a medal. They spend countless hours not only practicing their sport, but also studying how to improve their performance and endurance.  They watch film of themselves, examining the little touches that can make the difference between bronze and gold.

Marketers can’t rest on their laurels, either. The best take time to hone their skills and pick up new ones. They take education courses to expand their knowledge, download eBooks and analyst reports, and attend webinars. Even more importantly, marketers need to benchmark their efforts to understand what’s working and what isn’t.

Coordination
Most Olympic athletes are on teams, striving to achieve common goals. Think of cycling, basketball or rowing: each team needs to go in with a game plan, a strategy for knowing their role in helping the team succeed.

Winning marketers need to work with sales as a team. Whether it’s distributing messages or delivering high quality leads, they need to set and adjust a strategy for both functions to follow. This kind of collaboration requires setting clear goals, expectations and seamless communication.

These are a just a few elements of elite marketing. How are you preparing your team to compete at the next level?

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