I thought long and hard about writing this piece. I get a bit fed up of the plethora of articles with similar ‘catchy’ headings that I see appearing on my LinkedIn feed everyday… most without a huge amount of substance it has to be said! Bear with me though because I do think I have some interesting comparisons to make for those of you interested in online marketing and/or the world of tennis.
A BIT OF CONTEXT
Like most of the country, the team at Brinn have been following Andy Murray’s career from when he first burst on to the scene 7 or 8 years ago to the present day. Watching Andy’s progress over the past few years has been fascinating and I also think there are some real parallels you can draw between achieving success in tennis and delivering a successful online marketing strategy. Here they are:
HAVE A GOAL AND A GAME PLAN (AND STICK TO IT!)
Becoming a Wimbledon champion is the culmination of a lifetime of effort, determination, attention to detail and constant improvement. Has it been easy? Clearly not. Has it been worth it? You’d need to ask the man himself but I’m going to say yes! The same can be said for a successful online marketing strategy. You can’t build a hugely successful online business overnight. It takes a long time to get right and you’ll make a lot of mistakes along the way. But if you have the right plan in place it will come good in the end. When it does, you’ll have a business that generates income that will far outstrip the effort and investment you put in at the front end. Murray didn’t lose his first 2 Grand Slam finals and then decide maybe football would be a better sport for him, lose another 2 and then think it was maybe basketball, squash or table tennis he should be playing. It sounds stupid but this is exactly what businesses do all the time with their marketing. They try one marketing method, if it doesn’t work immediately they move on to something completely different, if that doesn’t work then they move on again. The result? Money wasting and marketing that never makes a lasting impact. Murray stuck to his game plan, he improved and he made it happen. To build a successful online business you need to do the same.
Murray is a master tactician. He knows his competition and he creates game plans that allow him to beat them. There’s not much more to say other than you need to do the same! And beating the competition doesn’t mean looking at what they’re doing and copying it. It means knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, knowing your own strengths, weaknesses and unique qualities and applying these in a way that make you BETTER than the competition rather than just AS GOOD AS. Murray also analyses his own performance both when he wins and when he loses. Guess what, you need to do that too! A famous old marketing line is “we know half of our marketing budget is wasted, we just don’t know which half". This no longer applies. Make a habit of using marketing analytics tools to judge what’s working and what’s not. Improve the things that aren’t working, make more of the things that are.
SMALL GAINS LEAD TO BIG GAINS
In 2012 Murray lost the Wimbledon final in 4 sets to Roger Federer, in 2013 he beat Novak Djokovic to the title in straight sets. That’s quite a turnaround but you can’t attribute this huge gain in performance to one single thing. Murray’s improved his fitness, agility, endurance, serve, second serve, footwork, ball striking, diet, mental strength and probably hundreds of other things that we don’t know about. It’s these small gains that overall add up to a huge performance improvement. Online marketing is very like that too. When something isn’t working the answer is very rarely about taking a huge change in direction. It’s about a series of very small changes that make the overall difference. We’ve run online advertising campaigns that have improved tenfold after making a series of seemingly insignificant changes to advert copy, keyword selection, bidding structure, advert placement, landing page design, form design and even changing the colour of a button on a web page. These small gains all add up to more than the sum of their parts.
DON’T GET TOO EMOTIONAL…
Mental strength and belief are two things that Murray completely turned around before he won at Wimbledon. This is a man who now dictates his matches and his opponents. He’s more aggressive, he believes in himself and he doesn’t waste energy on getting too emotional when things aren’t going his way. Running a successful online business is no different. Spending money on marketing as a business owner can actually be quite an emotionally fraught and mentally challenging process. Investing in good marketing isn’t cheap; there are no guarantees and when it’s your own business and your own money, it’s easy to make rash rather than considered judgements. This comes nicely back to my first point. When things don’t go your way at the start, don’t completely change course. Try to remove yourself emotionally from the decision-making process. If you’ve created a solid marketing plan at the start then stick with it, analyse how it’s performing at all times and constantly improve it. It doesn’t mean you can’t tweak and change your course slightly along the way but making rash wholesale changes will never lead to marketing success.
WELL DONE ANDY!
Andy’s unbelievable achievement was a result of dedication, focus and years of hard work – and there’s a lot the rest of us can learn from it. By looking at the problems businesses face from a different perspective, hopefully we’ve been able to give you a better idea of how we view the online marketing arena so you can refine your own campaigns into the future. As always, we’d love to hear your opinions and questions so get in touch via the contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.