Adaptability, creativity and multiple delivery methods make two-time and reigning UFC Welterweight Champion Georges “Rush” St-Pierre (GSP) virtually unstoppable in the ring. Despite your weight class — make that your business size — marketers can take a page from this Canadian mixed martial arts master.
Mix it Up
“Georges St. Pierre is not an exceptional wrestler, nor is he an exceptional striker,” explained Sensei Ono Northey, Founder of Shinka Martial Arts. “But he’s a master of synergy and timing.”
St-Pierre makes his strikes look like takedowns, and his takedowns look like strikes, making him unpredictable. “His strikes land because people are afraid of his takedowns, and his takedowns succeed because they are afraid of his strikes,” said Northey. “He knows the timing of when to use each technique to its fullest, and the sum of GSP’s techniques exceed their individual worth.”
Don’t rely on just one marketing technique. Keep competitors on their heels and connect with prospects through multiple marketing avenues, including online and offline tools and techniques. Consider ‘push tactics’, such as packaging and trade shows, and ‘pull tactics’, including contests and discounts. Also, it’s important to add social media ‘embrace tactics’ to the mix so you can continuously listen, engage and interact.
St-Pierre devoured Josh Koscheck in UFC #124 with countless jabs. But what really won the fight, explained Northey, was his timing.
“GSP is a smart fighter,” said Northey. “He studied and recognized Koscheck’s three-rhythm count, and countered it with a quicker one-count strike.” As a result, almost every attack attempted by Koscheck was jammed by St-Pierre’s well-timed jab to the face.
Study what your competition does well — and not so well. Can you learn from their successes, fill voids, or identify ways to differentiate yourself? Likewise, get to know your desired audiences to understand their needs and wants, or industry cycles and trends. Doing so helps define people’s ‘trigger points’, which will help you connect with them emotionally and generate higher conversion rates. You can gain valuable insight by attending association events, picking up the phone, or scoping out comments in Twitter, Facebook or forums.
Evolve With the Times
Mixed martial arts (MMA) is young and fast-changing, and leading mixed martial artists like St-Pierre are constantly re-inventing themselves with new approaches and moves. In fact, it’s the wide variety of techniques and skills taken from other combat sports that make MMA fighters more effective than ‘traditional’ martial artists. “Mixed martial artists aren’t limited by convention or past customs,” said Northey. “We get to pick and choose and form an effective, practical, real-world arsenal.”
For instance, Taekwondo was developed centuries ago to kick soldiers off horses. Likewise, legendary tales have Karate masters punching through body armor. Several conventional martial arts don’t even have defenses against side strikes as such an attack would be “dishonorable.” But chances of a hooligan approaching you on a horse, wearing armor, or abiding by a code of ethics are probably pretty slim.
Don’t stand still. The speed of change is accelerating and if you haven’t reviewed, improved or refined your brand, marketing messages, customer relationship management, distribution, or products and services in the past year, you could become obsolete. One way to generate creative ideas and solutions is to benchmark yourself against other companies in other industries. Could you adopt any ideas or tactics from your favorite airline, coffee shop, auto manufacturer or fashion designer?
Conclusion: Don’t Market Like an Idiot
Consider the words of St-Pierre: “I don’t fight like an idiot. That’s what defines me. I’m (not the) champion because I’m the strongest guy in the division. It’s not because I’m the fastest guy. I’m not the best grappler. I’m not the best striker. I’m not the best wrestler. But why I’m champion is because I fight smart every single fight.”
Take St-Pierre’s lead: always market smart and go for the title.