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‘Pitched’ Battlegrounds

Cricket ‘pun’dits may come up with unlimited metaphors that apply to the world of business. Suffice it to say that the pull of business, just as in cricket, is diverse. Whether you get hooked, or let it slip, depends on your drive

When back in 1988 we had played an inter-agency cricket match at KSCA Bangalore, the headline of a pavilion banner had proclaimed: “Life is one-sixth of an over”. In cricket, one ball can make all the difference. A single delivery can script victory or plunge you in defeat.

Cricket, they say, is like a religion. Indeed, a great deal of philosophy is built into the game. Let’s explore the intersection of some cricketing concepts with the world of marketing and communication.

1. Assessing the pitch: The marketing battlefield must be well understood. Who have been playing there thus far? What is their track record? How have customers taken to the product category, if it already exists? If the product/ service is totally new, how has the need it fulfils been served so far? Therefore, what business are you really in? There are industry experts (pitch curators) to be accessed for advice, or surveys (primary/secondary) conducted to obtain better predictions on how much turn the surface could yield.

2.Fitness training and net practice: Your team needs to be fighting fit, mentally agile, its own talents well-honed and sharpened, aware of opposition strengths and weaknesses, ready for competitive responses. It will determine the way you go about team selection, batting order, bowling line-up, and field placements based on the batsman’s wagon-wheel.

3.Taking guard: In marketing warfare, your stance says a lot about your intent. No successful marketer can afford to leave loopholes in customer experience. Getting one’s eye in, acclimatising oneself to conditions, and pace of the wicket are important in building a solid defence before striking out for runs (revenue). 

4.Setting or chasing the target: How well can you define and understand your target consumer? Does your offering look like a winning total to them? Against their scorecard of price, can you overcome them with delightful value? How do you pace your innings in the game of relationship-building so that the result is always win-win?

5.Power play: In the context of constrained timelines, territories and resources, you have limited opportunity windows. Whether you will take the risk of going over the top and focus on spending most of your marketing budget plundering boundaries when the competitive gaps are apparent, or play the waiting game, rotating the strike, is a matter of strategy. Keeping eye contact with your partner, and with your captain in the pavilion, is key. It would be suicidal to be run out or stumped because of an error of judgment or communication.

6. Decision review: While governmental umpires endeavour to set a level playing field, there are times when teams discover opportunities to disrupt the status quo. Go for it, if you believe you can establish an ultra-edge or are in line to make an accurate impact with your innovative idea. There could always be more than meets the naked eye.

Cricket ‘pun’dits may come up with unlimited metaphors that apply to the world of business. Suffice it to say that the pull of business, just as in cricket, is diverse. Whether you get hooked, or let it slip, depends on your drive.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.




Indranil Gupta

The author is Founder Director & Chief Executive Officer of BrandNEW Associates Private Limited

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