May 20, 2024

The Art of Coaching

You can see it periodically on the NFL Network if you still have linear television (here is a clip:

That clip is about taking time off. How about you do that this Saturday / Sunday / Monday? It's a long weekend and it isn't meant for you to be checking in on the ROAS of PLAs.

In the show, there is a moment where Coach Belichick is talking about the plane ride home from a loss, and how his assistant coaches are buried on their laptops and tablets looking at advanced metrics. He gets visibly upset, and tells Coach Saban that if the players cannot do the simple things and cannot execute properly there is no amount of advanced analytics that can help.

The players are the product ... they are comparable to the merchandise you sell. If your merchandise stinks, there is no amount of "Breakthrough AI Leveraged At The Speed Of Disruption" that can help you. As George Costanza once muttered, "It's just something you say."

Coach Belichick's advice to Coach Saban (and he knew Coach Saban already agreed with this thesis) was for coaches to actually teach and develop players ... to "coach".

I know, somebody in New England is about to snap at me "oh yeah, how did that work out for him the past five years?" Great feedback. Thanks. Helpful.

I repeatedly talk about developing your merchandise. Do you develop the items you sell, as if they were a football player or basketball player?

And while many readers remind me that I harp on this too much, I have very little confidence that what I'm talking about breaks through. I'll subscribe to your email campaigns. I watch to see if you have welcome programs, if you work hard to promote new merchandise on a regular basis at full price, if you try hard to quickly make me happy after a purchase and then facilitate a repeat purchase within two weeks to three months.

Very few of you do this stuff (though I'm watching Lands' End try to reinvent their brand and reduce their dependence on deep discounts and promotions and I'll bet their community of discount-centric email subscribers is in revolt over this ... which in part is why you don't do this stuff).

Which means, in football terms, you aren't developing your players. You are instead looking at your analytics and measuring the ROAS of your campaigns and yee-haw, you keep paying tolls. That's what Facebook/Google wants you to do.

Are your sales down 10% this week? Have you ever tried to scrap your email campaigns and instead do something very different with your absolute best-selling items? When your feature your best-selling items, you should see a corresponding improvement in performance. Clients who do this see 10% to 50% productivity improvements. You're not really doing any extra work, and you get a huge amount of benefit ... by developing your best items to become mega-successful items.

Would you be willing to do me a favor?

For many(most) of you, summer is a time of low sales ... especially July and August. Would you be willing to take one email campaign per week, maybe your Wednesday campaign, and do something fundamentally different? Promote new items, expose customers to the very best-selling items that exist, take one campaign and do zero selling and instead tell a story about how one of your buyers fell in love with a specific product/item? I won't ask you to risk what you feature on your homepage until you demonstrate that you have success via email marketing.

One campaign per week.

Every Wednesday in July/August.

How about it?

If you want me to, I'll interview you and share your successes and failures - we'll just be open and transparent about the whole thing. I'll even interview you if you think I'm crazy about this concept, tell me why and I'll publish a video of our discussion.

P.S.:  I bring up this idea because awhile back I worked with an email service provider that was having a problem reactivating corporate accounts. They took my advice, tried stuff that made no sense whatsoever to reactivation candidates, and immediately saw a 20% increase in reactivations.

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I See Dead People

From LinkedIn, where I wrote this on Sunday: