How marketing can be like playing golf

This is a little bit of a stretch but there is what I hope an interesting thread here.

Anyone that has seen me play golf knows that I have to be a much better marketer than I am a golfer. Lately I have been playing better and more consistently so than ever before. Practice always helps but focused practice has made a difference. I thought about the fact that there are some similarities in honing my golf skills that are akin to honing my skills as a marketer. For both I am in a ‘continual improvement’ campaign. Fortunately for my family do not need to depend on my golf skills to help support us. That’s a very good thing.

I love working on marketing projects for clients new and old. New client initiatives and challenges keep me fresh and interested. I also love playing golf as well as a place to clear my head and focus on the task immediately at hand.

There are a number of tools in my personal marketing toolbox that I employ when working on various projects. If I am doing it right I am using the right tools for the right engagements. I like to think that most of the time I get it right. Approaches for both marketing and golf at times have to be tweaked after learning a better method. That’s how we improve such that we can create an even better program or play a winning game. (Yes both marketing and golf are very competitive if you have not noticed).

I carry 14 clubs in my golf bag and there are choices to be made on which club to hit, whether to play a high or low ball flight and how to negotiate getting around the inevitable trees that always seem to get between my ball and the target.

Marketing at times can have obstacles that remind me of trees, bunkers, and water hazards on the golf course. There are times to be bold and take chances and times to be conservative and play it safe. The right partners can be invaluable in marketing as well as on the golf course. In golf a good partnership is often called ‘ham and eggs’. The same should be said for marketing partnerships as well.

I will never be anything like Tiger Woods on the golf course but I do think I and our agency has the chops to be a Tiger Woods to our clients. But on both counts I won’t ever stop trying to achieve that kind of greatness. It inspires me and keeps me thinking that my next marketing project or golf game has the potential to be my best ever. Until I go out and play again.

About markkolier

Futurist, entrepreneur, left lane driver, baseball lover
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1 Response to How marketing can be like playing golf

  1. Nader Ashway says:

    Great post, Mark. Golf is indeed a lot like marketing. One of the most compelling lessons about the game is that there is a stringent set of rules, a generally accepted school of thought on technique and most importantly, a consistent scoring system. And the aspect that many forget is that the objective is not “how,” but “how many.” Same is true in marketing.

    Some marketing practitioners have all the cool resources, lots of neat methods and procedures, and are able to attract clients based on their “how.” But it really doesn’t matter if the programs they create don’t move the needle for the client objectives.

    Another really interesting aspect of golf is that you have to stay focused on the long-term objectives and live with the shots you take…if you hit a bad shot, you can’t complain about it for too long, because pretty soon, you’ll have the opportunity to make a recovery effort. If you hit a great one, you’re usually rewarded immediately with a wonderful result, like a birdie putt.

    In marketing, when you take action, you have to live with the results, whether they’re positive or negative. The really good marketing practitioners know that when you hit a bad one, you’ll soon have an opportunity to make something great happen out of the mess you’ve created. And when you hit a really good one, you’re rewarded, but the pressure’s on to close the deal, and elevate the performance to another level. Fore!


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