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15 Jan 2015

Michael Jordan, Roger Federer and Marketing

There are so many different definitions of marketing it’s a wonder anyone ever agrees on one.

A few years ago, Heidi Cohen took the trouble to compile an article listing 72 Marketing Definitions – and those were just the ones someone with a clue had written down!

In the corporate world, marketing is all about stats. In small business, it’s all about a good looking website or social media. At Virgin, it’s all about Richard Branson. At school, it’s all about Peter Drucker (and I’m a huge Drucker fan, by the way).

So at the risk of adding to, rather than clearing up, any confusion, we’d like to offer the SeeSharp Productions take on what marketing is.

Using a sporting analogy, it’s all about footwork and positioning.

That’s what makes Roger Federer the best ever in tennis and Michael Jordan the G.O.A.T.* at basketball. They know how to position themselves, both on the court and in the media.

Whereas a lot of people see marketing as predominantly being the logo, name and cosmetic things you can see, we think that marketing is about who you are and how you position yourself in the marketplace.

There are plenty of businesses that know how to present themselves well, and if you happen to have many competitors who are good at that, how do you set yourself apart and rise above?

You get yourself into the best position.

Back to the sporting analogy.

Why is Roger Federer such a good tennis player, if not the best of all time? He doesn’t hit the hardest or have the fastest serve and isn’t the strongest or most athletic player on the circuit.

What sets him apart is how he positions himself to get ready to play every stroke.

His outstanding – and at times seemingly effortless – footwork lets him to play the same strokes as others play, only more accurately and more consistently.

The same goes for Michael Jordan, the greatest basketball player of all time. Sure, he was athletically pretty special, but there have been lots of other ‘ballers with similar physical traits.

His fundamentals of footwork and positioning allowed him to do everything superbly, no matter how hard the opposition tried to stop him. Ask Dean Smith, Jordan’s college coach, to tell you why high-schoolers-turned-pros like LeBron James are never comparable.

Most operators of SMEs are selling products or services generated by their business instead of selling the actual business. They’re working IN instead of working ON their business, according to Michael E Gerber.

How you dress, if you wear glasses, your hair style, what computers and programs you use, how your business card looks – that’s all marketing.

So the key is to create that positioning or identity which will then help you find the right place to position yourself.

When you talk to the biggest corporate marketers they look at a lot of data and we’re no different. You need to look at keywords, do a lot of research on what the potential competition is doing and try to find a niche that you can target.

That’s the footwork that allows you to position yourself successfully.

*G.O.A.T. = Greatest Of All Time


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