It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – baseball season (sorry Christmas, but snow, sweaters and eggnog got nothin’ on sunshine, ball caps and beer).
And that got me thinking about what it takes to win. Not just a game or a series. What does it take to win a pennant – a championship?
Teams that play in October cover all the bases, so to speak. They play small ball – rock solid fundamentals, slap a single, walk, bunt, sac fly, work the hit and run. Find ways to put a runner in scoring position.
In marketing, small ball tactics keep you in the game. You do your research, study your competition, mine the data, dig for insights and understand customer patterns, motivations and paths to purchase. You find ways to use new media channels and technology to get the right message in front of the right people at the right time.
But small ball doesn’t turn spectators into rabid fans. It’s not what gets people excited and keeps them coming to the ballpark.
People don’t remember walks. They remember the big fly. Soaring emotional home runs that enshrine themselves in memory. Fisk willing the ball to stay fair. Gibson limping into history. Puckett launching the Twins into game seven. They remember Maris’ 61st. They remember the Hammer, mobbed at the plate after 715. Because they remember how they felt.
And that’s the key to messages that stick with us– they make us feel something. They drive home their message with an authentic story that connects with us emotionally. Towering shots like Think Different, Find Your Greatness, I Will What I Want and We’re All Just a Kid From Somewhere.
It’s not that small ball isn’t important. Teams that can’t execute those tactics don’t get champagne showers or wear big gaudy rings.
But it’s the bases-clearing blast at the critical moment that brings fans to their feet. That’s what they relive long after the box score is forgotten.
If you want to be remembered, if you want to win, you have to know when to swing for the fence.