Gold Medal Marketing

The Olympics are in full swing and much attention has been paid to this year’s flag-bearer for Team USA, Michael Phelps. One of the many video segments that NBC showed continually leading up to the 200m Butterfly event showed his primary rival, Chad le Clos, shadow boxing directly in front of Michael Phelps who sat there with quiet intensity. He was unfazed by the extraneous activity in front of him while remaining focused on the goal set before him.

Flashback to the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 – Michael’s preparation leading up to those games was centered around ‘small wins’ and developing habits which lead to success.  Charles Duhigg chronicles the journey of Michael Phelps in the book, ‘The Power of Habit.’  The process instilled in Michael by Bob Bowman focused on the little things, done to perfection over and over again. Bowman would have Phelps develop successful routines, repeated religiously until they became automatic. These powerful, positive habits increased his efficiency during each race which increased his overall performance. Another influential step was for Michael to visualize the perfect race, play that mental tape before each event, then go out and make it happen.

Marketing decisions you make as a business owner will ultimately influence your results.  It is difficult to resist the star-driven ad campaign designed by the agency. Lots of color, motion, and special effects – it’s flashy!  It touts your history, your pedigree, and your brand in hopes of attracting potential customers. Yet, sitting quietly in the corner of your marketing budget is your on-hold advertising program. This part of your overall marketing campaign is focused solely on the purpose of communicating directly to your customer individually when they call.

Your external marketing is le Clos, franticly moving his arms and dancing around in the hopes of drawing someone’s attention. Your on-hold advertising is Phelps, laser-focused on the task at hand. He has already put in the time, developed the process, and visualized the end result.  Every marketing campaign needs le Clos AND Phelps. The danger lies in focusing on the flash of your external campaign and neglecting the focus of your on-hold advertising campaign.

In 2008, Michael Phelps won Gold and finished with a World Record despite the fact that his goggles were filled with water and he basically swam that race blind.  Yet the little things he did prior to the race prepared him to overcome that difficulty because he had already visualized the end result so many times he could do it, literally, blind folded.  In 2016, those same habits helped him reclaim the title from Chad le Clos, on his way to his 20th Olympic Gold Medal.

Gold medal marketing is found in the little things, like your on-hold advertising program. Visualize the experience you want your callers to have. Then call your business and get placed on hold.  If what you hear does not match the experience you pictured, put in the work necessary until it does. That’s what champions do – focus on the little things and develop the habits that ensure success. Once you follow through, your on-hold message will precisely mirror what your company is all about; and that’s gold.

Don’t get me wrong. A little flash isn’t bad.  However, please note that le Clos didn’t even make the podium in the 200m Butterfly this year. 

Just sayin’.

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee