What Marketers Can Learn From Bad Football

From My LinkedIn Blog – 1/17/19

January is great time for football, unless, like me, your team is the Giants. If you’re in the same, sad boat, you might hear something like this from the head coach at the team’s year-end press conference:

“We’re going to trade all our offensive lineman and only hire skill-position players on offense. Because they score more touchdowns. The agents representing those skill-players shared an analysis with us that showed winning teams score more points than the opposition. And since offensive lineman don’t put points on the board, we’re not going to spend any more money there.”

But that’s absurd. Even the Jets wouldn’t do something like that. (Sorry, an irresistible cheap shot from a Giants fan.)

The takeaway here for business owners, marketing directors, or media professionals trying to get the most out of their advertising budget?

You have to draft for every position, or you’ll look like a football team with an incomplete roster.

And here, at the beginning of 2019, that message is still getting lost in a sea of conflicting information about the best way to advertise.

Let’s say you decide the best path to success is to put all your money in “digital.” And why not?  Ad tech behemoths like Google and Facebook have been taking credit for years for all the points your marketing plan is putting on the scoreboard.  Ad tech metrics can clearly demonstrate how much traffic your search, display, and video are driving to your site.  So they say, “look at our results, TV is a waste of money, let us do it all for you.”

This narrative is false, though.

TV, unlike any other platform, now utilizes that same technology to target specific audiences – at scale or down to the zone level – while providing an emotional connection you just can’t replicate.  And more importantly, comparing TV and “digital” is misleading.  Back to our football analogy:  Nobody compares great pass-rushers to quarterbacks. They do different things.

This year, our industry needs to finally cure itself of the misperceptions about what makes a successful advertising plan. It’s the time for resolutions. So, let’s resolve, together, to do the following in 2019:

1. Stop telling yourself that you need to choose between TV and digital.  It’s a false choice. TV media is just as “digital” as the solutions that Google and Facebook sell. The choice isn’t about spending more on “digital” versus something else; it’s about aligning your media investments to your marketing objectives.

2. Understand the role each media platform plays in the marketing mix. Google and Facebook cornered the market, in part, by blurring the lines around their capabilities. Today, they are the world’s best direct marketing platforms. The Internet and their technology (and mass stores of data on your every move) have made it incredibly easy for any advertisers to send a direct message to anyone in the world.  That’s an incredibly powerful tool for your business.

But direct marketing long predates the Internet.  And for years, with few exceptions, the brands that won were those that took a balanced approach instead of putting all of their hopes on “one position” on the team.

3. Make sure your consumers know who you are and form an emotional connection to your brand. Nothing does that better than TV. 85% of consumer purchases are driven by emotional attachment, and audiences are six times more likely to consider television advertising emotional or memorable versus social media advertising.1 And now, thanks to advanced, data-driven targeting tools like AudienceApp, you can precisely target the people you want to reach on TV. The combination of better targeting with the right creative message is the winning combination for establishing awareness and trust with your target audience.

The direct, one-to-one messaging capability of search, display, online video and social are critical components of a great marketing plan. Your business needs to be there, but if you want to truly grow in 2019, your advertising investment can’t ignore the need to reach an entire audience group and forge a real relationship with consumers.

The data makes it clear that a fully integrated advertising campaign anchored in TV will drive better results for your business. Adults spent 4 hours and 46 minutes watching live and time shifted TV in 2018, compared to 46 minutes watching on TV-connected devices, 10 minutes with video on a computer, 10 minutes with video on a smart phone and 5 minutes on a tablet. 71% look up information online related to the TV content they were viewing, and 45% of consumers watch TV while using their digital devices.2 And TV provides the most opportunity for businesses to get creative and form connections, instead of showing up as one in a long list of clickbait.

So, here’s to a successful 2019 for your business, with the right marketing mix behind you.  And here’s hoping the Giants get it right next season.


  1. Source: LEAP Media Investments” and “TV/Ad Nation, 2016, Ipsos Connect/Thinkbox, adults 15+”
  2. Source: Nielsen Total Audience Report Q218



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