Dan Naden

Why I like Marketing

As I little boy, I dreamt of on stepping onto the soccer field as a professional player in front of thousands of fans.

I could visualize wearing Arsenal’s jersey with pride or maybe even the hometown jersey of the now-defunct Chicago Sting. Screaming for the Sting at Wrigley Field (yes, they used to play soccer at the home of the eternally under achieving Chicago Cubs!) will always be one of my most cherished live sporting moments.

I transported myself from a 10-year old boy to the finely-manicured fields of England, Germany, and United States through a wonderfully brilliant game called Subbuteo.

subbuteo
My fervor for marketing was ignited by a magical tabletop soccer game.

My friend Kevin and I jumped feet-first into this incredibly intricate and realistic tabletop soccer game.

On Friday nights, we staged elaborate soccer matches: the New York Cosmos vs. the San Diego Sockers or the Montreal Manic vs. the Vancouver Whitecaps. Powered by endless bowls of buttered popcorn and salty pretzels, we played until it was way past bedtime. We recorded the matches, announced the participants, kept statistics and standings – this was more than a hobby; this was a BIG deal.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the game for me was imagining, creating, conceptualizing and building the advertising that adorned the bleachers and stands bordering the game field.

I took care to place hand-written advertisements in spots that would be seen by the standing-room only audience.

This NASL Championship sponsored by:
PEPSI

State Farm Insurance
Rest Easy Tonight

Empire Carpet
1-800-588-2300

Pizza Hut
The official pizza of the NASL

Marketing and advertising became a passion, ignited by rolling a small soccer ball across an extremely lifelike soccer game.

So why do I like marketing? Why does it still inspire me years after the final whistle has blown on the all-night Subbuteo games?

It stirs my soul because:

1.       The challenge is great. Whether your industry is air conditioners, potato chips, or office supplies, the competition is strong and only getting stronger. As a marketer, it’s up to you to not only find the ‘right’ person for your message, but incite him to investigate, research, evaluate, and solve his challenge with your ‘answer’ – not one of your competitors.

2.       The data leaves a trail of insight. If you are building a landing page, mobile campaign, or PPC experiment, you can get immediate, instantaneous feedback that would leave marketers from the 1970s jealous. Today’s remarkable analytics platforms give marketers unparalleled evidence as to why a particular campaign/site/page is exceeding expectations, missing the mark, or somewhere in between.

3.       There’s no shortage of learning opportunities. If you have a mentor, you are in a great position. If you don’t, start searching now for a match. Marketing moves quickly and you can’t harness all the rapid changes on your own. In between mentor meet-ups, leverage the abundance of online marketing resources at your fingertips.

Some of my favorites are:

If you’ve a soccer-playing son, daughter, cousin, friend, introduce them to the wonderful game of Subbuteo. The game’s magnetism might just have them dreaming of playing for their country in the World Cup 2026. And who knows, you might unearth a curious, eager marketer in the process, building advertisements that cause a zealous audience to act.

Until next time,

Dan Naden

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