What if your favorite football team hired a new coach who NEVER punted on 4th down?
Or went for an onside kick every single time, regardless of the score?
Or ALWAYS tried for the two-point conversion?
You’d probably want this new coach fired before he ever stepped onto the sideline.
I mean, conventional football wisdom says this is a horrible scheme.
What if Coach Crazy’s plan turned your team into not just a competitor, but a perennial winner?
Sure, you’d probably think the coach is still a little nutso. But you know what they say—there’s a fine line between genius and madness.
Just ask Kevin Kelley, coach of Pulaski Academy’s high school football team.
Pulaski Academy is a private school in Arkansas. Before Kelly was hired by Pulaski in 2003, the school’s football team was terrible—basically the Cleveland Browns of Arkansas high school football.
Then Kelley came on board… with an outrageously off-the-wall game plan:
- NEVER punt… EVER?
- ALWAYS onside kick unless you’re up by 21 points or more
- Go for the two-point conversion NO MATTER WHAT
Before Pulaski Academy played it’s first game under Kelley, everyone heard about his crazy scheme.
Rival schools laughed. Parents got PO’ed. And even Kelley’s players scratched their heads.
This was NOT the right way to play football. It seemed reckless. Stupid. Even irreverent.
And then the games were actually played. Here’s what has happened since…
- Pulaski Academy football has won seven state championships
- Their record the past three years is 41-1
- They beat their opponents by almost 30 points per game
- Adidas has sponsored them
- College scouts regularly attend their games
After seeing the results, everybody who doubted Kelley changed their tune.
Now the team has national recognition. They basically NEVER lose. And major sports publications constantly interview Kelley to find out more about his unorthodox-yet-brilliant game plan.
All because Kelley had the stones to try something brazenly different than what was considered “acceptable.”
How To “Coach Kelley” Your Marketing…
Here’s the lesson: Don’t be afraid to try something crazy with your marketing. Especially if you’re not getting the results you want with your current plan.
I’m not talking about updating your logo. Or offering a 20% discount instead of a 15% discount. Or sending out three postcards instead of two. No one will care.
I’m talking earth-shaking ideas that will make people wonder if you need to be put in a straitjacket.
- Like Avis’s “We’re No. 2, So We Try Harder” marketing campaign
- Or driving a duct-tape car off a cliff
- Or calling the car you manufacture a “lemon” in the headline of your ad
- Or offering naked tours at your contemporary art museum
(Don’t worry—that last link is safe!)
All of these ideas spit in the face of what’s considered “acceptable” or “the norm.” But they worked spectacularly well not in spite of this… but BECAUSE of it.
Here is what you need to know if you want to create innovative marketing that works…
You have to have thick skin
In Malcom Gladwell’s 2009 New Yorker article called “How David Beats Goliath,” Gladwell says that innovators have to be willing to do things that are “socially horrifying.”
When you NEVER punt, people will think you’re a weirdo: Coaches, parents, opposing teams, and even your players. You must be willing to be hated by your competitors, mocked by “the establishment,” and even questioned by consumers.
You have to learn to be creative
Look at your business from EVERY angle. Leave no idea—no matter how weird or impractical it seems—off the table.
Avis knew they were the second most popular car-rental service. Ninety-nine out of 100 companies would never, ever think about saying that in an ad. But Avis said, “Well, why NOT say it in an ad?”
What’s that? You say you’re not creative? Boloney. It’s not that you’re not creative… it’s that you don’t know HOW to tap into your creative side.
There are plenty of great books on how to unleash your inner creative genius, so I won’t go into details here. But one piece of advice I can give you is to study successful stand-up comedians. Guys like Jerry Seinfeld, Larry David, and Jim Gaffigan dissect the mundane aspects of everyday life and look at them from new, unexplored angles. As a result, they can transform even the most boring things—like shopping at the supermarket—into something funny and interesting.
Make sure there is a method to your madness
Watch this highly entertaining 6-minute video about Kelley, and one thing becomes apparently clear: All of his zany schemes have statistics to support them.
Analytics show that never punting results in more points. Failed 4th-down conversions yield relatively few gains for the opponent. And always going for the two-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point is statistically a better option as long as you convert above 50%.
When an ad says “We’re No.2, so we try harder” that ad is going to get read. The same with a headline about a car that simply reads “Lemon.” Curiosity-based headlines are statistically proven to be effective.
Bottom line: When you get to 4th down, don’t be afraid to keep your offense out there.
People might think you’re crazy. And you may want to call an audible and go back to the same old safe “punt-on-4th-down” strategy you’ve been doing.
But stick with it… and make Coach Kelley proud.
P.S. Since we’re discussing innovation, you should know that MYM has “Coach Kelley’ed” the pay-per-click game with No-Risk PPC.
- There is no monthly budget.
- You pay for the leads only AFTER we deliver them to you and you review them.
- We guarantee a cost per lead of $200 or less.
People in the industry think it’s nuts. Our competitors hate it. Contractors who aren’t clients wonder how the world it can possibly work.
Well, it does work… precisely BECAUSE it’s so different.
© 2018, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.