Businesspeople can learn a lot from March Madness, whether you’re a basketball fan or not. To put it simply, March Madness is when “the small guys face the giants to see how good they really are.” Diane Hurd, guest writer for PR Daily, wrote an article providing five lessons from March Madness that PR professionals can learn from. Using the same key points, here’s my take for businesspeople:
>> Preparation is KEY.
It’s important to do your research. Coaches are always seeking reports on their opponents to be ahead of the game. Research your industry’s news and latest trends, as well as your competitors. You never know what you may find that may get you ahead of your industry. Our best PR campaigns start with industry, publication and even individual reporter profiles.
>> Each player has to be on the same page.
It’s important to make sure all contributing staff/employees are on the same page. It’s hard executing a strategy if your message is lost or if there is conflicting ideas among the team. For example, the goal for both sales and marketing is to increase revenue for their company. So, it’s absolutely necessary for them to be on the same page in order to integrate their tactics smoothly to achieve the main goal. The best way to find compromising ideas is to brainstorm and make yourself open and available for any new ideas, questions or concerns your team may have.
>> Adjustments can be made throughout the game.
Sometimes plans don’t pan out. In a game, if a certain play isn’t working out as planned, the coach and team will make adjustments accordingly. Likewise, have a backup plan if your initial one isn’t delivering the results you expected. This advice reiterates both #1 and #2: Be prepared, make sure everyone is on the same page and be open for new ideas.
>> Two lay-ups are still better than one three-point shot.
When a team begins to fall behind, players are tempted to go after more difficult shots to raise their team’s score. On top of that, the term “go big or go home” is not the type of mindset any businessperson should ever have. Both of these factors cause chaos. For example, it would not be savvy for any businessperson to spend thousands of dollars on neon lights for their exhibit at a tradeshow and ignore opportunities to pre-show promote, create interesting booth content and have a post-show plan in place. As Hurd said, be sure to “pace yourself to ensure that the momentum continues.”
>> Stay hungry.
UCLA has won more National Championship titles for the NCAA Men’s Division I than any other team. One taste just wasn’t enough for them, and it shouldn’t be for you and your business partners. It’s important for each contributor to stay motivated and passionate about what they do, which allows them to feel confident enough to take on risks. Risk-taking is a good to technique that allows you to learn from mistakes and improve on successes for the future. Being a risk taker can certainly shape you into becoming a stronger competitor in the market.
To see some of our client-partner risk takers, click here.