A football on the pitch in a stadium

9 Reasons Why Marketing is a Midfielder

Your competitors are pushing up against your defence and a goal is nowhere in sight. But one smart tackle puts the ball in the possession of your best midfielder, Marketing.

Marketing powers up the pitch, gaining momentum with a huge campaign that has the crowd roaring their approval. A few dodges and weaves, plus some nifty footwork, takes Marketing right up to the box. Then, it’s an effortless tap over to Sales, who heads the ball right past the goalkeeper’s fingers and into the back of the net.

The crowd goes wild! GOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!

Despite what you may think from our hot pink branding and fem-heavy team, HDK Marketing have long been using the analogy of Marketing as a Midfielder to better explain to our clients exactly what we can do to help them.

And so, in the spirit of the FIFA World Cup 2018, we thought we’d flesh out our ideas even further with this week’s blog post on 9 Reasons Why Marketing is a Midfielder:


1. Going the Distance

Your products are at one end of the pitch and your ideal customer is at the other. Most entrepreneurs get into business to follow their passions, their products and the industry they work in, not to play around with marketing through trial and error.

So, you need a reliable midfielder to take the ball and run with it. Marketing wears number 10 on the back of his shirt; she’s the star player on the pitch. And as is our mantra here at HDK: you know where you are now, you know where you want to be – marketing is how you get there.

Two footballers tackling

2. Possession and Energy

Midfielders are arguably the fittest players on the pitch; they must exert the most amount of energy and travel the longest distances, from box to box.

It’s all well and good having an ironclad defence (your products) and talented strikers (your sales team), but midfielders are usually the players who have the most possession during a game. Therefore, this is where your budget needs to be spent, but not unsurprisingly where many businesses are tight with their purse strings.

How can we justify marketing when we don’t have enough profit right now?

– Well, actually, that’s exactly when you need it; when you need some help reaching those goals. It’s during crucial moments in a deciding game that a manager brings on a star player.

How do I known that marketing is working? Where’s my ROI?

– Any football fan understands the importance of assists. Midfielders don’t always score themselves (though sometimes they do), but their crosses, throughballs and knockdowns are invaluable when it comes to creating chances to score.

I invested in marketing, but it didn’t work. So, I gave up.

– Are you sure you’re in position in the box, ready to receive the Midfielder’s passes? Often at HDK we see marketing campaigns fizzle out because leads aren’t followed up on, opportunities aren’t taken and momentum is lost. But watch out – because if you aren’t looking for the ball, your competitors are.

It’s unrealistic to expect marketing to generate sales straightaway or with every single campaign (although sometimes it does!). However, with every penny you invest in marketing, brand awareness is building, so nothing is wasted.

Sometimes your team just needs a little bit of experience playing together before you develop chemistry and find a formula that works.

Football kick on the pitch

3. Getting Defensive

Midfielders, like marketing, are also versatile. Perhaps, your company requires a more defensive approach. That could include market research, list building, maintaining good relationships with existing customers or even investing in a new website and/or SEO.

All of this is still marketing and the above ideas are all great ways to steal the ball away from competitors, yet all the work is done on the defence’s side of the pitch; we’re laying solid groundwork for a great game.

Goalkeepers diving for the ball

4. Back of the Net

On the flip side, perhaps your business needs more help pushing the ball forward and you require a more aggressive midfielder. Maybe you want to be focusing your efforts on creating opportunities and chances for sales.

This is when marketing really kicks into gear and transitions into advertising. Online and offline campaigns can bring customers to you, be it through a leaflet mail drop, an email marketing campaign, Google Adwords, events, social media advertising, or any other creative ideas.

After all, many successful midfielders are also successful goal-scorers.

Football stadium filled with supporters

5. Box to Box

If your business doesn’t fall into either of the above categories, that’s OK because midfielders can play box-to-box; perhaps starting out in the defence and slowly moving up the pitch. Midfielders are known to be hard-working and display signs of all-around abilities.

Similarly at HDK, we offer a wide range of different marketing services, so that you can build a marketing package that suits your specific requirements; picking and choosing those that apply to your business.

Playing football at night

6. Advanced Playmaking

Marketing is all about playmaking and the marketing midfielder is the offensive pivot of the team.

Midfielders aren’t just all horse power; they have to be shrewd. They must read the competitor’s defence and at the same time look forward for opportunities and open up chances for strikers where there were none before.

Although some footballers may have you fooled, playing midfield is a lot like chess; you need to be thinking several steps ahead.

In marketing, you need a similar strategy. You need to be looking at your products and existing customer data in an in-depth business review. Using this information, you need to look ahead to what steps to take next, what’s working and what isn’t working and where should you be focusing your efforts.

You might even what to try out something new – in football and in business, risks often pay off.

A view of a football pitch from above

7. Let’s Get in Formation

Speaking of strategy, let’s talk about formations. In football, midfielders can often be found in varying numbers in the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1 and the 4−5−1 formations.

In marketing, we have our own models. Here are just a few of our favourites:

  • The 4 P’s of Marketing: Product, Place, Promotion, Price.
  • The 12 Pillars of Marketing: Choose 12 pillars to hold up your marketing strategy. Too few and your roof will fall, too many and all the pillars get weaker).
  • Setting SMART Goals: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based Goals.
  • The BCG Model: Which category do you products fall into – cash cows, dogs, stars or question marks?
  • The Pareto Principle: Ideally, 80% of profits come from 20% of customers.

For more on marketing strategy, read our previous blog: 5 Simple Steps to Marketing Strategy You Need to Know.

Corner of a Football Pitch

8. Inverted Wingers

On the other hand (or foot, as it were), you can follow all the business models and marketing rules that you like, but nothing beats a bit of creativity and flair. The inverted winger switches up the dominant foot, a la Lionel Messi, thereby creating more powerful crosses and greater ball protection along the touchlines.

So what’s the message here? Don’t be afraid to shake things up, get creative and… *ahem* think outside the box.

Football Players Playing Soccer - Chance for a Goal

9. Disrupt the Market

Just as it’s a midfielder’s job to disrupt the pitch and disrupt an opponent’s attacks, marketing is at its most creative when it disrupts the market.

What is disruptive marketing? The traditional approach is when companies develop products or services and implement strategies to attract new customers, but in this new age of disruptive marketing companies must tap into a market’s mood in order to provide consumers with what they want.

Therefore, the best way to succeed in business today and beat a crowded market is to innovate and pay attention to consumers, delivering exactly what the market wants.

So, listen to the crowd. What are they telling you? Are those cheers of support, or are your supporters unhappy and uninteresting in your game? How can you give them what they want?

And England, if you’re reading this, what we want is for you to take it all the way!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on why marketing is a midfielder and hope you’ll join us in supporting England in the FIFA World Cup 2018. It’s coming home!

Helen Denby-Knight - Director - HDK Marketing - Sutton Coldfield - Email Signature

Contact HDK Marketing to learn more about building a marketing strategy that works for your business.