Tipoff is Here: Do You Have What it Takes to Play till the Buzzer Sounds?

shutterstock_90617275With the play-in-games behind us and all 68 bracket spots filled up, now the fun really begins.

Today, 16 teams take to the court to inch one step closer to the Sweet 16, and millions upon millions of fans from across the country figure out a way to squeeze in pressing work meetings with live streaming from their desks. (Did you know the groundswell of excitement surrounding college basketball and brackets costs $1.2 billion for every unproductive hour at work?)

March Madness is officially here and every company can actually learn a thing or two from the tournament about best practices and corporate mindset.

In fact, all one really has to do to learn a lesson or two about improving business SOPs is to take a look at my alma matter, Syracuse. On February 12, with 4.4 seconds to go, the Cuse—down by one to Pitt—passed the ball to freshman Tyler Ennis who unbelievably nailed a 35-footer and, in so doing, safeguarded the Cuse’s undefeated record. The moment was truly awe-inspiring for fans of the game all across the country as it reminded all of us that the game is truly not over until the last buzzer sound.

In fact, the Orange is living proof of the expression “It’s not over until it’s over.” Our 25-0 undefeated record did not come easy; in fact, many of our games at the end of the season came down to a final few seconds and one bucket to protect our title. Some of our best players reminded us time and time again that heart, perseverance and an unwavering commitment to excellence can never be benched at any point in the game.

So what about you and your content marketing efforts? Have you fouled out too many times; fumbled the ball; experienced turnover after turnover? Are you exhausted, sweaty and eying the bench? It doesn’t matter what quarter of your marketing strategy you are in; you can never bench your key players like Heart, Perseverance and Commitment.

Much like in basketball—or any sport for that matter—your marketing plays will not always go in your favor. Sometimes, a wonderful idea for a webinar will be met with few registrants or an avant-garde concept for a podcasting series will drive little traffic. But that’s no reason to sit out the rest of the game. Instead, it’s simply time to change the plan mid-play. The idea of 21st century marketing is perhaps the longest game you will play in your career. That’s because consumer expectations are constantly evolving, your opponents are getting increasingly aggressive on the court and you can feel like you are playing in unfamiliar territory all too frequently. But if you are at the helm of your marketing efforts, it’s pivotal to remember what characteristics our favorite college basketball teams possess that will drive them to the Final Four and all the way to the end game.

So happy March Madness everyone… and marketers, find the Ennis from your alma matter who will remind you that sometimes your best marketing breakthroughs will come in double overtime.