Marketing is a Full Contact Sport

Marketing your business is a full contact sport. And I don’t mean in the cutsie, marketing brings in contacts to your list or propsects for you to call <puke>.

I mean it in the way that you need to get out there and take a couple of swings. Maybe even get hit in the nose before you actually start to figure it out. And just when you think you have it figured out, your opponent jukes, slips your jab and comes back with a stinger right under your chin.

Ok. That’s enough of that metaphor.

But here’s my point… a first time boxer doesn’t learn how to box by sitting back and studying the sport. They get in a gym and start throwing punches. They also start taking punches.  The quickest way they learn and improve is by doing.

Not a fan of boxing for this analogy? How about football, baseball, tae kwon do or knitting.


Have you ever tried to learn to play baseball by just reading about it? Sure, you can read the rules, study up on strategy and follow the players. That will not make you a great baseball player. The fact is though you will never really get to know the game until you get out there and play it. There are just so many subtleties of the game that no amount of study can replace.

Marketing your business is a contact sport. You need to get out there and do it. You can go ahead and study, attend webinars, go to events, read books, listen to podcasts and all the other channels you use to learn. These are all valuable just know that there is no substitute for actually doing the work.

When you jump into the actual work of marketing your business, you get a much better insight for applying the concepts in your webinars, at the events, during the podcasts.

You learn something about it when you get out and take a couple of swings. It just gives you a sense of a few of the nuances. Just like reading about how to properly swing a baseball bat.

There’s the technically perfect way to do it. Then there’s the way to ACTUALLY get a hit! You can only read and study so much before you have go out and try it.

I have spent a lot of time in school including post-secondary and graduate studies to learn about marketing and business. There was only so much a professor, a lecture and a text book could teach me about marketing busiensses. In fact, it actually skewed my point of view about the subject because when I jumped into working for real companies who were investing real dollars into their campaigns and initiatives, my clever review on their 4 P’s and marketing mix got me laughed out of the boardroom.

There was no substitute for getting out of the classroom and running a busienss of my own to learn some hard lessons. Lessons that I wish I had learned much earlier in my career that would have saved me 6 years of my life and many thousands of dollars in student loans just to ‘study the subject’.

Of course studying your craft and observing those who are successful can help make you a great marketer if that’s what you want. Only if you get out and do the work. The study alone is not enough. You have to do.


Here’s the trick…. you don’t have to be great at it but you do have to work at it. Coaches and managers in 3 major professional sports were most likely players before they became coaches.

  • 83% of managers in Major League Baseball were professional players
  • 60% of NHL coaches played in the league
  • 43% of NBA coaches were also players

The really funny thing here is that many (if not most) of these coaches weren’t the best players in their respective leagues when they played! But they did play.


And you should! You will be all the better at finding who might be worth their price tag and who isn’t if you have taken some swings, got hit a few times and have a feel for how the game is played. It’s not necessary to be the top of the food chain amoungst marketers (unless marketing is your business).

I am not even advocating that you do it by yourself! Just be involved so that you get all the real world learnings AS IF you were marekting your business yourself.

After you understand some of the nuances of marketing yoru business for growth, then you will know when someone is feeding you some bullshit. I mean really know. You might have always had that gut feeling but know that you have had a chance to play the marketing game, you will know if what they are selling you is ACTUALLY reasonable.

I have many stories of cold calling SEO, Advertising or Social Media account reps calling or emailing me at any one of my multiple businesses promising that THEY are the ones who are going to help my business get sales. Unfortunately for them, they ran into someone who actually knows what they are talking about as much (if not more) than they do.

So many promises without the strategy to back it up. I once even had a consultant tell me they could get 10,000+ follwers on my Facebook page but was completely stumped when I asked how many of them would actually buy.

My disappointment is that there are people who know little about how to market their business because they’ve never really tried. They didn’t get in the game to take a swing. Instead, they sat on the sidelines watching and hoping to be able to glean everything they need to know before they start. These are the people who are likely to waste their hard earned profits into strategies that are unlikely to generate results.


You can do this on a very reasonable budget. There was a time when marketing beyond your local yellow pages was out of reach for most businesses. Television, radio and print were the advertising stables and a meager campaign would costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Now you have acces to a pool of billions of people for $5 per day. What a great way to jump in to the game and keep your risk low!  Gone are the days when you have to commit to a 6 month print campaign with your local trade publication at $3000 per issue.

Get in the game and take some swings! When you do, let me know how it goes.