Hoops & Marketing: More Alike Than You May Think

Its no secret that we are huge sports fans at Kaufer DMC. The University of Oregon Ducks (Kelsey and David’s alma mater) are in the Sweet Sixteen and we couldn’t be more thrilled. And while we sit on the edge of our seats to see what teams will advance to the Elite 8, we couldn’t help but think that marketing has some outstanding similarities to basketball.

Each player on a basketball team specializes in certain skills. It’s not too often that you see a 6’8 guard, or a center with excellent ball-handling skills. While it is possible, the most important thing to remember is that each player is part of a team that shares the same goal: winning.  Whether that’s crushing your opponent or making a kick-ass inbound marketing campaign, a team must work together to win.


Below, we explore the five positions of basketball, and how each player’s roles and responsibilities on the floor relate to a key element within a marketing strategy.

Point Guard: Arguably the most important position on the floor, the point guard is the glue of the team. He (or she!) is responsible for getting the team down the floor, starting the offense, and creating scoring opportunities for players.  They are also often in charge of directing plays.

Marketing Takeaway: Project managers are our point guards. They keep the (marketing) team organized and running efficiently. They also improve communication and have a knack for organizing. Sound familiar? It’s often the point guard that brings the ball out and slows the team down after a hectic play or remains clam during a full-court press. Project managers have a wide range of knowledge and skills, but most importantly, provide leadership to the team.

2.   Shooting Guard: Just like the position states, this player’s main role is to shoot and score. They must be diverse in their range of scoring, such as also possessing the ability to drive to the basket and sometimes playing the backup point guard position. They are often relied on during close games as the player with the best free throw percentage.

Marketing Takeaway: Every team needs a player that can score consistently, especially under pressure. In our world, this role often falls to Account Managers or Executives. They are agile and know when to pass the ball. Rather than taking too much on, they delegate tasks and trust others. High-assist teams make for a good offense.

3.   Small Forward: This position must score points, be a key rebounder, and also not be afraid of physical contact with opposing players. They are aggressive, and known for “getting to the line.” Their success at the free throw line is an imperative skill.

Marketing Takeaway: Aggressive marketing means displaying a sense of urgency and initiative. On marketing teams, the SEO strategist often plays the role of Small Forward – setting aggressive goals. The opposite of aggressive marketing is reactive marketing, which is not a proactive strategy. Develop a plan that helps you attack the competition and plays to your team’s strengths – don’t let someone beat you to the basket (or search rankings).

4.   Power Forward: Lebron James is the premier power forward in the NBA today. They often play with their backs to the basket, but can also shoot a solid mid-range jump shot (and attack the hoop). They are typically some of the great rebounders of all time and help secure possession of the ball.  Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman and Karl Malone were all classic power forwards.

Marketing Takeaway: Offensive rebounding gives your team extra chances and frustrates the defense. Our Power Forwards are content strategists and creators! As inbound marketers, our job is to create opportunities to convert potential customers into leads with quality content. Content is more than just a blog, it is also email marketing, social media, calls-to-action, etc. You need to give your team as many opportunities as possible to be seen!

 5.   Center: This position is often the tallest person on the team. They are excellent shot blockers and are said to be the “anchor” of the defense.

Marketing Takeaway: It is important that the center has a strong presence on the court. What does that mean in marketing? Our Center is our social media director.  In today’s increasingly noisy world, it’s more difficult than ever to have a strong presence online. Be consistent and responsive on your social media outlets. Even if you aren’t as tall or as big as the others it is still possible to compete (if you have the right person in the position).

Some may argue that one position is more important than the other. However, a team of individuals rarely leads to success. As said best by basketball and football coach Vince Lombardi, “Individual commitment to a group effort – that’s what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”

Here’s to the Sweet 16 and future marketing success! Go Ducks!

Published March 27, 2013.
Categories: Marketing