The Rio Olympics of B2B Marketing | DMA

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The Rio Olympics of B2B Marketing


Sport is my therapy. After a week spent taxing my brain, all I want to do is flop onto the couch and watch someone else workup a sweat for the glorification of their own club or nation, and the Olympics is my favorite.

No other sporting event allows the kind of quality binge watching that the Olympics does. The only problem is that the Olympics falls short in one crucial aspect: it doesn’t always take my mind off work. In fact, the Rio Olympics have even encouraged more work-related thoughts.

A strategic brain is hardwired to spot and learn from all kinds of associations involving its primary concern (in my case, sales and marketing), and the Olympics just offers too many opportunities for comparison. Take diving for example. It takes incredible skill, timing, and confidence to land a perfect dive, but the whole thing is over in just a few seconds. In that way it’s a lot like telemarketing. Both divers and skilled B2B telemarketers make their craft look so easy, when, really, they’re having to rely on all their experience and training to execute a maneuver perfectly.

And that’s only one of many events that invites comparison. Here are four others I’ve noticed since the Rio Olympics started.


It’s hard to watch one runner pass the baton to another and then not draw an analogy between this event and inbound marketing – an approach in which social media, blogging, conversion assets, and automated emails each take a turn in helping to deliver visitors to the point of sale. Just like runners in this crowd-pleasing track event, the different elements in inbound need to hand over traffic to the next channel at just the right point, and without losing momentum.


Every time I watch Mo Farrah sprint across the finish line, I can’t help thinking of how SEO is similar to a marathon. A long distance race starts a bit slow but then builds in speed towards the end, where it usually ends in a sprint. And a well developed SEO strategy develops in much the same way. When you first start optimising your site and producing content to draw traffic, your visitors might only come in dribs and drabs, but with time, your aggregation machine will build momentum, eventually driving the traffic at a speed and ROI that no other channel can.


Archery is all about hitting your targets, and so is email marketing. If you don’t take a targeted approach to your email, you’ll only generate low open rates, high bounce rates, and many undeliverables – problems that can even get your account blacklisted. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you need to profile your audiences properly, segment your mail lists appropriately, and then ensure that those lists contain only relevant contacts and up-to-date details. Again, preparation is key.


PCC is all about speed, and, in that way, it’s just like a sprint. If you want a chance at a medal in the 100m, you don’t recruit a distance runner like SEO. You call on PPC to deliver results there and then. Also, where a sprint is concerned, there’s not much in the way of strategy. You tend to get out what you put in. Watch Bolt when he runs. He’s not thinking ‘should I go for it now?’ It’s always maximum effort, right now. Go, go, go!

So, as wonderful as these events are to watch, there’s a part of me that won’t miss the Rio Olympics too much now they are over. My work brain will get a real break over the weekend, and I’ll start every Monday with just a little more cerebral energy to develop marketing strategies. To find out what these are and how we create ROI-focused lead generation solutions for our clients, I suggest you download our Holistic Lead Generation Guide. In this eBook, you’ll learn how by combining channels, you can often achieve greater results than by any single channel alone.


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