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What Agile Marketing & Boxing Have In Common

I’m willing to bet that most of you have been glued to your televisions this summer. I’m no different, this summer has been a sports bonanza. I’m constantly finding myself watching a sport of some sort on television this summer, and last night was no different. Last night I watched some amateur boxing. While I’m not a huge boxing fan, I will say that I do find it entertaining from time to time. Anyway, watching the two guys square off last night got me thinking: agile marketing and boxing have a surprising amount in common.

Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face

This is of the many contributions of Heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, to the sport of boxing. Whether it’s in the ring or inside an organization, the champ’s right. The principle applies to both. Boxers study their opponent and devise a game plan before a fight. Similarly, marketers take time analyzing their target market before crafting and executing marketing programs and campaigns. Both boxers and marketers enter the ring with a plan of attack. However, once that opening bell rings, the fight begins and the first punches are exchanged, odds are that pre-scripted plan is out of date and you go into survival mode. Survival quickly becomes about being able to adapt to what the situation calls for. Once you’re hit in the face (whether it’s literally or figuratively) it’s important to adapt so that it doesn’t happen again. This is where agile marketing can help turn your team into a heavyweight champion.

Float like a butterfly…

Some pretty good advice. How do you adapt so that you’re not punched in the face yet again? You’ve got to float like a butterfly. Ali’s strategy of stressing agility to keep his opponents off balance was new and unseen in the world of boxing. It was a way to counteract the traditional strategy of exchanging blows in hopes brute strength will be the deciding factor. The same phenomenon is happening in marketing. Companies aren’t able to compete using traditional strategies. The traditional long planning cycle of marketing programs and campaigns, makes it very difficult to adapt to unforeseen changes. Essentially, they are setting themselves up to be punched in the face.

No one enjoys getting a black eye. So today, companies are trying to float like butterflies to stay in the game. This strategy enables organizations to adapt on-the-fly to changes (expected or unexpected). Similar to when Ali adopted this strategy, agile marketing is a new and unheard of approach. By adopting a more agile culture, businesses are learning how to quickly react to changes in real-time and are able to capitalize on the unexpected instead of getting punched in the face. So, let’s learn from Ali, become more agile and get our marketing teams to float like a butterfly.

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