In a recent article we suggested that like golf, marketers need to be proficient with all 12 clubs in their bag. To further extend the metaphor, we also highly recommend marketers leverage the value of a good caddie. Why? Because caddies play a critical role in the success of a player’s game. In fact, research published by Loughborough University found that there is a clear link between the “golfer-caddie relationship and performance success” and concludes that the right caddie can make a difference of “30% or more.” What wouldn’t marketer or for that matter any business professional want to have that kind of improvement to their business game?
Every professional golfer uses a caddie. They often choose the same caddie year after year because they know that while carrying the bag is a big part of the job, a good caddie is also an essential playing partner. Yet few business and Marketing professionals employ “caddies” off the field.
Marketing professionals, whether running solo or a part of a larger team, are typically playing round after round in the field and therefore need someone on along-side to help them keep their Marketing game at the top of the leaderboard as well as offer real-time perspective. Just like professional golf players, marketers rely on their caddie to:
- Help them understand the challenges and obstacles of the golf course being played.
- Suggest the best strategy for playing it.
Caddies serve as a vital resource both before and throughout the game. In advance of the game, a good caddie walks the course, identifies ideal targets, landing spots, and “danger” areas to avoid, checks the yardages, slope, and breaks of the green, confirms weather patterns, and judges the prevailing wind direction. The player and caddie together use this information to make informed decisions for the tournament.
Your Caddie is There to Help You Improve Your Game, Not Teach You How to Play It
Just like in professional sports, Marketing professionals and teams should routinely take advantage of three resources: teachers, coaches, and caddies. The first resource is your teacher, which is generally not a caddie’s specialty. Teaching is about to explaining, demonstrating, and imparting knowledge about a skill, which should never be done while playing. Instead, teaching should be reserved exclusively for practice time.
Caddies are also not coaches. Again, playtime is not about fixing a swing, stance, or grip flaw. It is also not the time to maximize your abilities and motivational reserves. During the game, it’s all about the game. However, it is still wise for marketers to invest in coaching as they prepare to compete in the big game.
Caddying is instead about decreasing both the physical and mental burden of the golfer. The player is the one swinging the club, but golf is about so much more than just hitting the ball a certain distance. If you think about it, it takes only seconds for a golfer to swing his or her club. Yet a round of golf typically takes 4 hours. What do players spend the majority of this time doing then? They are focusing on and preparing. If they are not careful, they will find themselves second-guessing or taking mental detours. In fact, many tournaments are won/lost by what happens inside a player’s head. Jack Nicklaus once said that the most important six inches in golf are those that lie between the ears — that is, your brain. Caddies are there to make sure that doesn’t happen. While it is up to the golfer to make the shot and the win the game, it is the job of the caddie to help the golfer achieve that success through good counsel. This is the real reason caddies not only make the difference between winning and losing but also help players achieve that desirable 30% improvement.
As in golf, there are many moving parts in the business. There are numerous ways to connect with customers and compete in the market. There are also infinite possibilities to improve customer engagement, customer acquisition, customer loyalty, and ultimately market share. Take a page out of the professional golfers’ handbook and secure a good caddie for your Marketing professionals and include the caddie in your partner marketing network.
Just remember: Don’t expect your caddie to design the Marketing game plan, that is the job of the Marketing team. Caddies are not accountable for business wins and losses. After all, they are not the ones striking the ball.
So what should you expect from the caddie on your Marketing team? Start with these four capabilities:
- Understanding your market.
- Helping guide your team in the right direction to beat the competition.
- Bringing solutions for “playing the course”.
- Helping you use data to make the right decisions.
Ready to take your game to the next level? It’s not too late in the year. Summer is just beginning to heat up, and there’s plenty play left in the year. So bring on a caddie today.