Five Lessons from Coach Vince Lombardi Applied to Your Marketing

By: John Houle

In many offices and locker rooms, you may have seen the famous speech by Vince Lombardi on “What it Takes to be Number One.” It may have inspired you, and you may realize that the lessons from an iconic football coach from the 1960’s are still relevant today.  Since so much of marketing-communications involves effectively connecting with people, let us take a look at some of the major principles of Vince Lombardi’s major treatise, and see how it could revitalize your company’s marketing.

Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all of the time. Winning is a habit.

Every press release; every ad, whether it’s a small program ad or a full page ad in the daily paper; every video, no matter if it’s for a 30-second TV ad on Broadcast TV or a YouTube video simply offering well-wishes – it always should be your very best. Every marketing piece, advertisement, Social Media post, and press release reflects who you are as an organization. You want everything that you put out about your organization to be the finest you can produce.

Just like winning is a habit, so too is successful marketing.  A good marketing campaign builds off its previous successes. This is why new campaigns cannot show complacency or become stale, but need to continuously stay fresh.

You’ve got to be smart to be number one in any business. But more importantly, you’ve got to play with your heart, with every fiber of your body. If you’re lucky enough to find a guy with a lot of head and a lot of heart, he’s never going to come off the field second.

While your marketing campaign should be targeted to the right demographics and properly executed, it equally needs to show inspired creativity to help your message break through the clutter. When you have a campaign that reaches the right people and properly speaks to that audience, your campaign will always win.

Running a football team is no different than running any other kind of organization – an army, a political party or a business.

The principles are the same.

Any leader of any organization who competes in a competitive marketplace needs to have a plan.  What’s your marketing plan? If you have one, when was it last updated? Are you still doing the same things as last year, without properly analyzing what worked and what didn’t?  Do you think Vince Lombardi went into the Super Bowl with the same game plan? Of course not, he adapted his strategies to the competition, and developed a specific game plan each time he stepped on the field. That’s what it takes to win, in marketing too.

The object is to win fairly, squarely, by the rules – but to win.

It doesn’t benefit a team if an individual player is named MVP, but the team still loses. No differently, who cares if your ads win awards if it doesn’t sell.  At the same time, like in any field there are rules to follow in marketing and advertising.  Even though the dirty little secret in political advertising is that negative ads work, do you really want to reduce your business to that level? Instead, you can stay above the fray and promote the positive attributes of your brand as your key differentiators over your competitor.

But I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour — his greatest fulfillment to all he holds dear — is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.

When you do all the important tasks in marketing that you know you need to do – proper planning, strong creative, and effective execution – and work your heart out, you will come off the field victorious.