Deepak Gupta Sports Marketing

Annette Huygens-Tholen

Athletes have many skills and qualities that translate outside of the sport environment to be able to produce success in business and in marketing.  Teamwork, goal setting and goal achievement are obvious traits, but what are some of the qualities less spoken about.


  1. An ability to react quickly to circumstances – an athlete has to tune in to changes in the game, whether it is change in the opposition’s tactics, momentum or even energy levels.  A marketer needs to be similarly attuned to changes in the marketing environment – the customers, the industry, the economy and more.  A slow response will cause one to lose the game!
  2. Ability to think 2-3 steps ahead –  an athlete plans a play, much like a chess player does, and takes into account varying circumstances with a back-up plan.  In marketing, know what the first step will be leading to so that one can be prepared for the big picture.
  3. If something’s not working, change it – a ball sport player will go into a game with certain strategy against an opposition.  If it’s not working on the day, the athlete needs to either improve their execution of the strategy or be able to change in order to avoid a loss.  Good marketer’s will test and measure results and determine whether they have to improve their execution or be prepared to change strategy if they are not getting a desired result?
  4. Open to feedback and learning – successful athletes listen to their coach and are always looking to how they can improve their game and results.  To be successful a marketer needs to be open to learning new methods and getting constructive feedback in order to grow and get better results.  A coach or mentor can be a great help to a marketer in pointing out flaws and distinctions that can make a difference.
  5. Offense and Defense – in sport there is a time to attack and a time to defend.  Know when it’s time to do each.  Marketing can be aggressive and there may also be times when it is necessary to defend a position.
  6. A good start is important – in racing, a good start can help put a competitor out in the lead.  In team ball sports, a good start like a booming serve or long kick can pretty much win the game.  In marketing, you want to get it right from the very start or you could be chasing your tail.  Prepare well so that you can start with a bang.
  7. 7. Be consistent – a top athlete is able to play consistently well all of the time, due to the effort they put into training.  Even when their game is slightly off, their game is still good enough to beat the opposition.  A marketer wants to be consistently good.  Treat everyday like its game day and work out a way to win with everything you do to get the consistent results.

There could be more ways that sport is like marketing and perhaps you can find a few of those ways yourself.  If you are an athlete yourself, discover what specific traits you have that will help you in your business or career.


Annette Huygens-Tholen is a 2000 Olympian (beach volleyball) and now a Master Results Coach, Author and International Speaker helping athletes and everyday people transition their careers.  She has taught thousands of people in UK, NZ and Aus how to live the life they desire.  You can get free tips and learn about her book at

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2 Comments on What does Sport have to do with Marketing? — by By Annette Huygens-Tholen

  1. jd franklin says:

    That makes a lot of sense. The same mental attitude applies to both.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with this article. I’ve always been a huge fan of sports because of how the integrity, dedication, determination, and overall mental strength translates into real-world situations. Having a high scoring game in basketball or stealing second base in the bottom of the 9th typically leads to a high-level of confidence and motivation outside the arena of sports. Not only do sports build character and confidence, but it allows people to learn the value of communicating within a team. Just as championships aren’t won by one person, businesses don’t succeed because of one person. Love this article!

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