March Madness 2018. It’s finally here.

The stakes are high and the competition is fierce as millions of Americans rush to fill out their NCAA brackets predicting the winner.

Surprisingly, digital marketing is a lot like filling out that March Madness bracket.

Three lessons can be learned in particular.

March Madness bracket

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. We pick our favorites, even though we shouldn’t

Everyone has their favorite team they would like to see win.

As a result, when it is our team against a stronger opponent, we are tempted to go with our favorite team anyway, despite the odds of the stronger team beating us. This wishful thinking to see our favorites win ends up messing up our bracket as a whole.

The same mistake is made in digital marketing all the time. We may have a favorite social media platform we use for our marketing. Perhaps we use Instagram in our personal lives, so it is simply easier to transfer it to our business too. But just because it is our favorite does not mean it is the best for our brand.

Pinterest is dominated by women. So not the best platform for selling videogames to guys. Snapchat is dominated by teenagers, so not the best platform to market to older folks.

Cold numbers don’t lie. If analytics show low engagement and traffic from the social media platform we love, perhaps it is time to dump it in favor of something new.

2. Yes you are ranked high, but there’s no guarantee you’ll stay there

Part of what makes March Madness so fun are the Cinderella story upsets, when the underdog knocks out a top-seeded team and screws up everyone’s bracket. In fact, nobody has ever been able to fill out an entire bracket successfully for the whole existence of the NCAA tournament.

Digital marketing has the same problem. You can be the top result for a google search term today, but there is no guarantee you will stay there. Nothing holds back a new business, or ‘underdog’, from entering into your niche and unseating you.

And just as the game of basketball is constantly changing, so too are the rules of digital marketing. What worked last year, last month or even last week may not be what will work in the future. Google is known to tweak the algorithm it uses to rank pages every few months. Facebook recently dumped video content on its newsfeed forcing businesses to rethink their entire Facebook strategy.

3. The importance of the team

Your brand is only as good as the team behind it. If each college basketball player were to only focus on their own stats and scoring the most points, their team would not go very far.

The same holds for your business. You need a great team made up of individuals that know how to work together and that see their roles in the greater whole. If your team members just focus on themselves, your brand will suffer.

So as Q1 comes to an end and we head into Q2, it is especially important to come up with defined goals, a clear plan and a great team to support that vision. The competition out there is tough and March Madness serves as a good reminder of that. Nothing is guaranteed. But with a great team, hard work and team spirit, you will have the necessary ingredients to help you come out on top and stay there in 2018.

someone drawing a diagram with "Brand" at the center, a laptop, a cup of coffeehand and iPhone