Marketing Lessons from a Soccer Mom: Motivation is Key

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Guest Post from Sarah Hums

I have spent an insane amount of time at the soccer fields this spring. Between practices and games for my four year old and seven year old, we are there practically every day of the week. It has been a huge time commitment.

So, when I see my 7 year old daughter slacking off, not trying, not running hard in practice, I am naturally a little perturbed. “Why are we spending all this time here if you aren’t going to try?” I ask. This leads to a conversation about how soccer isn’t “her thing” and she doesn’t want me to ever sign her up again. Ever. I agree to this, but say we need to finish out the season since she has made a commitment to her teammates. 12039767_10153545881365631_8115309550222757320_n

Fast forward, two days later. I take her to practice. I sit in my lawn chair as usual, expecting to see her slacking off, as usual. But no – what happens? She plays hard, and starts pulling out moves I have never seen this kid do! As if that’s not shocking enough, every night that week she goes out in the backyard to practice her footwork. On her own, without any prompt from me. I am left speechless, thinking, “what got into her?”

I come to find out she has talked to an older girl on the bus who is on a select soccer team. This girl tells my daughter about the glorious life of a select player – you get cool uniforms and gear, and you get to travel to all kinds of glamorous places to play in tournaments. You just have to practice hard and show determination.

My daughter is not inherently motivated to play hard. What she is motivated by, though, are her interests – fashion (cool uniforms) and traveling to fun places (away games).

My four year old son doesn’t necessarily love soccer either, but he keeps coming back because he likes the snack he gets at the end of the games. (He actually told me that’s the only thing he likes about soccer.)

This got me thinking. How many times do we send out campaigns and give the same offer to everyone on our list, expecting them to all be motivated by the same thing? How many times do we expect our prospects to find interesting what we find interesting? Couldn’t we possibly get a better result if we give them a reason to convert that directly connects to their interests?

If I was sending an email campaign to my daughter to promote signing up for soccer next year, I’d put colorful imagery of the uniforms and gear and places where the tournaments are held.

If I was marketing to my son, I’d simply put a big picture of an Oreo cookie and a Capri Sun.

Both would get them to take action and sign up for another season (my campaign objective), but only because I had tapped into their unique interests and personalities.

Oh the things you can learn from 5 days a week at the soccer field…


Marilyn Cox

Marilyn Cox is the Director of Marketing for Second City Works - the B2B division of the famed Second City.

You know the buzzwords; inbound, outbound, content, demand gen, lead gen, martech, social media, account-based, advocacy, customer success, sales enablement, and analytics.She studies it, plans it, executes it, experiments with it, and loves it.

Through discovery, creation, and innovation she's learned to say "Yes, And".Like business, her career is one big improvisational act.

She leads all aspects of the brand and culture, developing and executing a clearly defined, integrated marketing communications strategy.Marilyn is responsible for planning, organizing, staffing, training, and managing all marketing functions to achieve objectives of growth, awareness, customer success and making work better.

Marilyn exists to empower sales and support the customer. When not geeking out over marketing analytics, she can be found daydreaming about her unrealized dream as a professional wrestler with the WWE.

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