Play to Win

 If you’re a sports fan, you’ve probably heard these two expressions:

 “They played to win.”

 “They played not to lose.”

When sportscasters and analysts use the first expression, it’s always a positive comment. Teams that play to win are determined, they play hard, they don’t hold back. If a “play to win” team loses, the analyst will admire the effort. “At least they tried their hardest,” he’ll say.

Conversely, when the second expression is used, it’s a negative comment. Teams that play not to lose are careful, conservative, defensive. If this kind of team does lose (and this is often the case), the analyst will be critical. “They held back,” she’ll say. “They didn’t take control. They were passive, not aggressive.”

Now let’s put the above in marketing terms.

A company that plays to win is determined to succeed. They go and get business – they don’t passively wait for business to come to them. Management understands that growing a business requires great marketing, and this can cost money. They know a company’s got to spend money to earn money. A company that plays to win sees marketing as an investment.

A company that plays not to lose is afraid to fail. This kind of company opens their doors and hopes the business will come to them. They don’t make things happen. Management understands that growing a business requires marketing, but they don’t want to spend the time and money. They don’t spend money for fear they’ll lose it. A company that plays not to lose sees marketing as an expense.

What kind of company are you?

Play to win. That’s good marketing.