The nation had a soft spot for Manning in this 2014 Super Bowl.  Well, everyone but my mom and aunt, because my aunt lives in Seattle, but we’ll forgive her just this once.  It’s not hard to understand why. We wanted to see this great guy, a guy with a great American work ethic and leadership skills rise to stardom on the stage of all stages.

Those are the same reasons we want our businesses to succeed and grow.  Because we work hard, we take care of our clients and we want to have the satisfaction of a job well done with the plan of making  a living while we’re at it.   But despite all the belief we have in our business sometimes we are still passed over for a younger company, or one without as much experience or knowledge.

So what can we learn from this Broco’s epic fail in front of the nation?

If you listened to the half time interviews or postgame interviews the Bronco’s were fairly clear in where they feel they went wrong:

  1. Too many turnovers
  2. Poor defense
  3. Failure to adjust their game plan

What their failures can teach us about marketing.

1.  Too Many Turnovers

Think of a turnover in business as anytime a client or prospect chooses to work with your competition.  This can happen when you’re on offense: marketing, selling and prospecting for new customers.  Turnovers can also happen when you’re on defense, during a project or after the project is completed because you didn’t follow through on what you said you would do or maybe you just not keeping in touch with current clients so they find another person who will.

By maintaining awareness of when turnovers happen in your sales or post sales processes you can adjust your sales or marketing and insulate your post sale processes to decrease customer loss.  How can you adjust your message or workflow to insulate against turnovers?

2.  Poor Defense

Think of marketing defense as working to keep and grow the customers you already have.

As small businesses and growing businesses we spend most of our time on offense, working for new business.  We all know keeping a customer requires far less energy and investment than acquiring a new one so why do so many businesses overlook a strong defensive strategy?

We’ve all heard the saying “defense wins championships”.  In sports championships build legacies, those teams we all remember from our youth: the Chicago Bulls, the Dallas Cowboys. In business the saying applies as well, because although we don’t have championships we are all working to build a legacy, “defense builds legacy”.

Legacies are not built on one and done clients.  They’re built on a reputation of good work and return business.  If your marketing mix doesn’t include marketing to your current clients it’s a component worth looking at again for the coming year’s strategy.

3.  Failure to adjust their game plan

Failure to adjust your game plan is equally as debilitating as turnovers and probably the biggest success limiting factor. Your marketing plan is like a game plan ready to guide your business though the year to successful sales goals.  Businesses fail to execute their game plans in three ways:

A. They don’t have a marketing plan

Running an ad here and there because a salesperson says it’s a great deal is not a marketing plan.  It’s a marketing fail.  Occasionally adding in a marketing opportunity or two because they reach your target market and compliment the other components of your plan is totally acceptable and even commendable. But first you have to have a plan before you can add in complimentary opportunities.

So many small businesses don’t have a plan because they don’t know where to start or are afraid to have a plan because they know they won’t follow through.  These are valid excuses, however, excuses do not win Super Bowls.

B. They have a marketing plan but don’t make the time to do it

This is the syndrome of the dreamer, the person who actually has the guts to plan but not the guts to follow through.  You did a great job planning now respect yourself, you are just as important as your clients, so treat yourself like it.  Remember, good intentions do not win Super Bowls.

C. They have a marketing plan and do it but don’t track anything or don’t look at their tracking and fail to adjust

To those who have the self-respect and discipline (or possibly just the staffing) to actually have a marketing plan and act on it, you are leagues ahead of the rest.  And your business likely benefits from your efforts tremendously.  Or so you think.  Do you really know if all that blogging is working?  Do you have any idea if you get leads from running ads in the newspaper?  What does hosting that event cost you in relativity to the number of leads you acquire?

We have pride in our marketing and don’t want to be told that it’s not working; even a spreadsheet can bruise our egos. But you didn’t build your business without adjusting and your marketing plan is no different.  If you don’t have the guts to be wrong you’ll never have the satisfaction of knowing you’re right.


As businesses owners we stare potential failure in the face every day we can’t let it hold us back from getting the job done.  We don’t crumple in the face of adversity; we pick ourselves up, adjust the plan and get back to work.  Fortunately, most of us have the luxury of failing and succeeding in our own offices and not on national television.

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