What John Wooden Taught Us About Marketing/Advertising - Uwe Hook - MediaBizBloggers

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See Jack Myers speak at San Diego Interactive Day on June 16.

We toss around the word "great" or "legendary" far too quickly these days. John Wooden was a great man and a legend far beyond his accomplishments as a coach. He was a moral value teacher, asking his students to strive to live those values. His teachings can be applied to any vertical, any profession. Since my brain always focuses on marketing and advertising, I thought it might be valuable to apply John Wooden's teachings to our industry:

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

The advertising/marketing industry is too risk-averse. We need to reshape agencies into experimentation labs, playgrounds for new ideas. Instead of diving in and playing around the new marketing reality, we tend to wait and see. Losing the chance to be a first mover and reap all the benefits of innovation. Organizations have to be reshaped to encourage innovation and abolish stagnation.

It's the little things that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

Most people excel when it comes to big projects: Big Media Plans, Big Campaigns, Big Initiatives. The real measurement of good work is paying close attention to the small things: Is your banner campaign a lazy copy of your TV creative? Did your copywriter work on the added-value text link or was that a throwaway project for your intern? Did you consider the size of your CTA button or did you just size it the way it was always done?

Excellence is in the little details. And little details might generate results you never expected.

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

Boy, that's an easy one. Our industry often forgets that we deal with people with real feelings. Not targets. Not segments. What can be done with data sets and technology maybe shouldn't be done.

The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading old ones.

This quote should be posted in conference rooms of any Digital and Social Marketing agency. We tend to overhype bright, shiny objects. While we have to try new things, our business comes down to a basic principle: Good products/services combined with good ideas and good customer service will result in good profits. It's not that complicated.

Things turn our best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.

Life in advertising/marketing is the art of improvisation. Yes, there are plans. There are goals. And then there's real life. That's where the real work begins: Optimization. Adjustment. Relaunch. Great marketing is not based on a plan. Great Marketing is based in a mindset of perpetual alpha: Always improving. Always changing.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

The basic principle of Social Media: Delight people. Add value. And don't expect to get anything out of it immediately. It will pay off over time. In ways you never imagined. But companies need to understand this mindset when conversing on social platforms. Be humble. Be patient. Be present. Just like John Wooden for all his life.

We miss you. Coach.

Uwe Hook is the CEO and Co-Founder of BatesHook, Inc. (www.bateshook.com) and a veteran of the advertising and marketing industry with the goal of building connections between people and brands. Uwe can be reached at uwe@bateshook.com.

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