Using creativity to communicate value or persuade someone to take a particular action is what I enjoy most about working in marketing. I would argue that the creative process is the aspect of the job that stimulates most marketers. Contradictively, I would also argue you don't fully enjoy that process unless the campaign performs well.
The parallel I draw with sports and marketing is that although you can enjoy playing the game, you don't fully enjoy it unless you win. Saving the performance of a campaign to avoid a negative result by making adjustments mid-flight may feel like a hard-fought draw, which is certainly gratifying, but it's not going to cut it long-term.
If you consider creating a video campaign that the team feels proud of, there's no doubt you'll likely enjoy that project. But if you deliver the campaign and the results are poor, I struggle to imagine a reality where everyone is still buzzing. Similarly, you can go out and play a football or rugby match where the team plays well, but you lose 1-0. I think it's fair to say nobody is coming into the dressing room after the game with a smile on their face! 'But we played well', the manager explains, and although it may cushion the blow of losing the game slightly, you're probably going home in the car that day dissatisfied.
A bad performance during a marketing campaign or competitive sports doesn't mean you'll throw in the towel and give-up of course, an altered approach along with the ability to dust yourself off and go again will often suffice. Now don't worry, this isn't a piece where a twenty-five year old tells you to dust yourself off and go again like I'm Tony Robbins, but more on the reality of managing performance in marketing and sport!
Competitive team sports entails a level of game-management to perform well consistently, with the marketing equivalent of game-management being the management of marketing data to ensure your campaigns are running efficiently, and profitable. As you progress in either walk of life, you'll be required not to enjoy the process solely, but consistently deliver results - and creativity/talent alone probably won't provide that.
With the ability to see your campaign performance in more granular detail, unlike the days of Don Draper in Madmen, attribution technologies create more accountability in the marketing department. Thankfully, the use of data in marketing also gives you the chance to better inform what you do in the next campaign or the next strategy.
Comparatively, the rise of technologies from the likes of Statsports and Catapult means that you probably won't get away with running below your potential anymore; hence, accountability for your efforts has increased. Gone are the days of Don Draper coming to work on Monday with solely creative prowess, or Arsenal's Tuesday Club coming to work on Wednesday with predominantly talent - now they'd have to contend with marketing attribution and sports science.
In recent weeks, PRMG tasked me with the project of creating a marketing reporting system for the agency. The company were glad to see I didn't literally try to replicate a marketing version of 'game-management' in competitive sports, but I'm drawing similarities nonetheless. We are working towards a system that integrates several data sources (Google Analytics, Facebook Ads, MailChimp and so on) into a platform that allows us to inform the marketing strategy and campaign decision-making. This will act as our anchor to ensure a level of consistency and transparency over the work we do throughout the year.
In-short, the marketing reporting system is our game-management, the data from our marketing channels is the performance of the football team informed by game stats, and a positive return on investment for a marketing campaign your team just launched is a 2-0 win on the weekend... at least that's how I see it.
Images taken from https://magazine.wharton.upenn.edu/ & https://talksport.com/