As a Denver-based inbound marketing agency, we’re more than thrilled that Peyton Manning and our beloved Broncos are bringing home the Lombardi Trophy this year.
But, as marketers, there’s always a part of our brains that’s wondering, “what does this teach me? How can I use this?” And as I sat there following the game and thought about those questions for a bit, it became very clear:
The Super Bowl Champions are like successful inbound marketers
Sure, it sounds like a stretch, but hear me out.
Here are four reasons I think this comparison works:
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos Put in the Work
Before all the Charlotte-based hate mail starts, let me be clear:
I’m not downgrading the efforts of the Carolina Panthers at all. They had an incredible season and Cam Newton earned his league MVP title hands down. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see them back in the Big Game again next year.
But, comparing the two teams objectively, and especially over the long haul, you can tell that the Broncos - and Manning himself - just put in the work, longer and harder, than Carolina.
Here’s what I mean:
This was Denver’s 8th Super Bowl appearance and their 3rd win.
While Carolina has never been to the Super Bowl prior to this year, Denver has been back over and over again. Peyton Manning already won one Super Bowl as an Indianapolis Colt, and now he’s wearing a second ring.
No one’s claiming that the championship should automatically go to the guys that have been there longer, but there’s a real value in showing up year after year in a league full of tremendous talent and punishingly short careers.
“Putting in the work” means consistent effort, over the long haul. And Denver has definitely done that.
Inbound marketing is a long game. There’s no way to jump into it and expect instant results or incredible gains right at the outset.
It takes a lot of hard work over the long haul, and there are likely to be some losses - or at least less than favorable results - along the way. But the real “champions”, the companies that succeed in the long run with inbound marketing, stick with it, constantly improving their strategies and being committed to the process.
Peyton Manning will always be a superstar, but he didn’t win the Super Bowl
Perpetually modest, as he always is, Manning freely admitted a point that everyone had to reluctantly admit after the game Sunday:
“I’m just glad I have this defense playing for me and not against me,” Manning told reporters after the game, “our defense got us to this game and they won it for us tonight.”
The Denver Broncos as a team didn’t need Peyton Manning from 2006 to win this game. They needed a smart, solid QB who could keep the offense running smoothly enough to put a few points on the board and let the powerhouse defense make that good enough.
Honestly, if this had turned into an offensive shootout between Cam Newton and Peyton Manning, the Panthers would have run away with another crushing victory just like their NFC Championship game. But Denver’s defense removed that possibility.
Inbound marketing success isn’t about dazzling the crowds with amazing displays of marketing showmanship. That’s called advertising. Although inbound marketing certainly is impressive to those people it targets, it can look to the outside world like unglamorous, routine, even boring work.
But, like a strong defense creating a low-scoring, even “boring” game, inbound marketing gets the job done admirably well.
Cam Newton visibly lost his edge by the end of the first quarter
An emotionally vibrant individual whose on- and off-field antics have entertained (and angered) fans and critics alike all year, Cam Newton is obviously the heart of the Panthers. His “Superman” persona, incredible double-threat as a passer and a runner, and the sheer bravado with which he approaches the game have injected enthusiasm and drive into his fellow players and fans throughout this breakout season.
So, when this emotional powerhouse started pouting following his fumble and subsequent Denver touchdown, instead of using his dynamic personality to rally the troops, the entire Carolina team suffered in response.
Inbound marketing turns the company’s brand into its voice, and that voice stays consistent. This is one of the key reasons why it works so well over the long haul: it helps create a brand identity, then solidifies that identity with each new piece of content or social interaction. It draws people who want to engage with that brand identity and makes them feel special for doing so.
And, unlike Cam Newton, it doesn’t change that identity when challenges arise.
So, what does all this teach us about inbound marketing?
The chief takeaway is that an inbound marketing agency with experience and vision will beat a flash-in-the-plan agency looking for instant success any day of the week. Likewise, any business with the vision and commitment required to see inbound marketing through to its tipping point will reap the rewards it can bring.
That's because inbound marketing is:
- Strategic, with a long view
- Reliably hard working
And, like Peyton Manning and the victorious Denver Broncos, inbound marketing wins.
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