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Marketing Lessons from the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks
Posted on February 4th 2014
The more than 100 million people that watched the Super Bowl saw a STUNNER. Some people picked the Seahawks, but no one expected the Seahawks to utterly dominate the Broncos. No one expected the Broncos to get manhandled like they did. No one expected Manning--who threw more touchdown passes this year than any other QB ever--to play as poorly as he did.
Again, this game was a stunner.
In the postmortem analysis of the Super Bowl, marketers can learn several lessons from Pete Carroll and the Seahawks organization.
This is the Super Bowl! This is the time to bust out the most complex game plans, deceptive tactics, and veiled schemes. The defense needs to be complex to compete against the QB savant himself, Peyton Manning.
Wrong. The Seahawks defensive game plan for the Super Bowl was easily the most basic and simple defensive game plan they put together all year. There were very few blitzes, very few veiled coverages. They just lined up and beat the crap out of the Broncos. There was no chess match, no stunts and fakes. Just straight-up defense.
The Lesson - Sometimes marketers try to get cute, get complex, and get crazy. They try to measure obscure things and try random and unproven campaign tactics. They make offers complex and unnecessarily complicated.
These tactics don't work.
Simplicity is king. Whether regarding calls-to-action, content, landing pages, offers, etc., simplicity is always best.
The Seahawks are the most 'Moneyballish' team in the NFL. They track every useful metric they can think of. They make player personnel decisions, play-calling decisions, and even practice decisions based on metrics.
The Lesson - If marketers are making decisions based on anything other than metrics, those will be poor decisions.
The Seahawks easily have the most talented roster in the NFL. It isn't even close. Specifically, they have the most talented defense. This is in a league with a finite salary cap. So...how can they afford all these guys?
1) They spend less on their starting QB than any other team in the league. (In fact, Russell Wilson's backup makes more than he does.) Wilson only makes $572,000. This leaves a massive amount of salary cap space to pay other players. To put it into perspective, Peyton Manning made $18,000,000 this year. There just isn't as much room to pay other talented players when your QB is making that much money.
2) The Seahawks also got bargains on other players. They've drafted well, allowing them to pay young players less money. They sell the Seattle lifestyle, the chance to play in front of the best fans in the NFL, and the chance to play for Pete Carroll. They parlay those advantages in a lower salaries for their star players.
The Lesson - Find bargains and analyze the data. Cut corners on cost when you're generating leads. For example, we only attend tradeshows in Las Vegas and Southern California. They are closer to our headquarters (in Utah) and thus, cost far less to visit for an event.
ESPN analyst and Hall of Fame QB Steve Young took note of the Seahawk's unique approach to player management. Rather than just focusing on the x's and o's of the game, they focus on the holistic wellness of the person. They put them in touch with realtors to help them find homes, they have financial advisors available to help the players make financial decisions, they provide marriage counseling, spiritual guidance, and even childcare. The players know the organization cares about them.
Long story short: they care about the entire person. This, they believe, helps performance.
The Lesson - You may not be able to provide a marriage counselor for your employees, but you can let the employee know you care, provide literature, and even advice. Employees will be happier when they know their employer cares about them. Happy employees are more productive and do better work.
Despite their focus on 'new' methods of player management, psychology and metrics, the Seahawks are the most old-school and fundamentally sound team in the league. They tackle well, they cover well, they run very basic schemes, they don't turn the ball over. They do the basics really, really well.
The Lesson - Marketers shouldn't focus on the exotic things. They should do the basics really, really well. Generate phone calls and generate leads.
Positivity and Fun
The entire Seahawks organization oozes positivity. It looks like a fun place to go to work. Heck, here's a picture of the Seahawks GM in the locker room shirtless last night. Awesome.
Make your office fun. (Also, winning is fun, so there's that.)