4 Surprising Ways Marketing is Like the Olympics


Your marketing needs a strategy or you’ll show up prepared for failure.

Whether you love the human-interest stories, the thrill of the competition or the after-hours interviews with athletes, it was almost impossible not to get caught up in the ’22 Winter Olympics in Beijing. And it’s no surprise that you found yourself being reminded of marketing over and over as you watched the events unfold.

Wait, are you saying you weren’t thinking about marketing during the Winter Olympics? Here are a few reasons why watching the Olympics should have immediately brought marketing to mind:

You Can’t Just Show Up: Athletes train for years and, in some cases, for their entire lives leading up to the Olympics. The athletes make it all look so easy, but behind those graceful and powerful moves are untold hours of training and practice. And there’s a strategy and plan for all of their preparation: they don’t simply show up to the gym, do a few pushups and call it a day.

You shouldn’t approach your marketing plan with a “just show up” mentality, either. From social media posts to emails to the voice you use in every area of communication, you need a strategy. Sure, you could just post on social media when you feel like it, but that’s kind of like trying to get to the Olympics for the luge by going sledding in your backyard.

You Need a Long View: Olympic athletes have their eye on a prize that can be years away, but they know that Olympic athletes aren’t made overnight. Neither are successful marketing strategies. You need to settle in for a bit of investment of both resources and time because it takes a while for campaigns to take off.

Don’t Let Setbacks Be Too Significant: On your way to dominating your market, you’ll likely have to navigate a few obstacles. Maybe you’ll pour money into a campaign that’s a flop or you will find out that your new product wasn’t at all what the market was demanding. Don’t let these setbacks define your strategy. Learn from these missteps and move on.

Celebrate Small Victories: While athletes wait for the Winter Olympics, there are regional, national and international contests. Even though these aren’t as big as the Olympics, it’s hard to imagine not celebrating a victory at a national contest.

Make sure your marketing plan allows for the recognition of small victories along the way. By using a set of metrics to assess how your marketing plan is measuring against goals, you get a chance to show your team some appreciation, even as you plan for bigger things.

At SJC Marketing, we’ve watched the Winter Olympics, too, and we couldn’t believe how much there is to learn about marketing from the Olympics. We’re excited to hear about your business and where you’d like to take it in the future. Contact us to learn more!

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