I always enjoy the lead-up to the Super Bowl, and I’m amused by the “in-depth” storylines that fill the two weeks of dead air since the last playoff game: Is the Cheese Head just as iconic as the Terrible Towel? Will Brett Favre be watching at home? Will he be texting during the game?
A better storyline: extra prep time
As a half-serious fan, a storyline I’m following is the two-week layoff between the playoffs and the Super Bowl. These teams have played every week since September, so they’re used to “game planning” their weekly opponents in just a few short days. But suddenly, they’re allotted a full two-week window to prepare for the big game.
To me, the team that makes the most of these two weeks has the best chance of winning. But just where will the teams focus their extra time? On the practice field? Scouting the other team? Evaluating key matchups? Studying film? Conditioning? How can they assure their game plan is up to the challenge?
What would we do with an extra week?
Just for fun, I wondered what our marketing agency would do if we were handed an extra week to prepare for the biggest B2B campaign of the year. Crazy, I know; we rarely get extra time. But say we’ve developed a smart strategic plan for a client, and we’ve built a clever campaign that we’re primed to introduce. And boom! Just like that, we’re given a one-week extension.
With the gift of an extra week’s preparation, what would be our best use of the extra time? In a word: Scouting. Yes, gathering as much additional intel as possible about the professionals we’ll target in the upcoming campaign. Sure, we could focus on some new creative options &mdash but we stand to gain so much more by listening and confirming our approach.
To the credit of my agency, we’re constantly developing our instincts to understand customers’ motivation to purchase, the dynamics of the buying process, the role of influencers, etc. We tend to do our best work when we roll up our sleeves and ask questions. So it’s quite common for an account team to initiate customer phone interviews, launch online surveys, and monitor social media conversations. And we bake these learnings into decisions that guide a better campaign strategy (our game plan).
On Super Sunday, we will finally see which team made the most of its extra week of preparation. Back at the agency, we may think of every client engagement as the Super Bowl, but we seldom get that extra week to prepare. So the lesson we’ve learned: Build serious customer intelligence into the regular season and make the resulting campaign a champion.