The Novak Djokovic Guide to Software Marketing

Novak Djokovic World Tennis # 1Novak Djokovic is currently the world’s number 1 player, and he’s been pretty dominant the last couple of years. Right now he seems pretty invincible, winning in all sorts of conditions, on all sorts of court surfaces, and against all sorts of opponents.

As I’m a tennis fan and hacker, as well as a copywriter, I wanted to see how Novak’s on-court habits could be applied to marketing. So read on for The Novak Guide to Software Marketing.

Gather the Right Team

Every tennis player has a “team” with them, you’ve heard them mentioned whenever a player wins a tournament. They thank their “team” or their “box”, because they know while they’re the only one out on the court playing, there’s a line of people that helped them prepare.

In Novak’s case, he’s got a coach, a fitness coach, a strength coach, regular hitting partners, tournament-specific hitting partners, a nutritionist, massage therapist, and physiotherapist. While the two therapists are only used on an ad-hoc basis, Novak uses the other six regularly. At one point he even had a coach that was helping him with his serve and another to help with his volleys.

The same can be said for marketing. You need to have specialists working with you to make sure you’re crafting the right message for the right audience, and getting it to them the right way.

  • I’m mainly concerned with the writing, so make sure you hire a copywriter to craft your marketing message. You don’t want the developer or QA person writing your product descriptions or home page content. You want a writer that understands developers and QA people. A software copywriting specialist (like me.)
  • You don’t want the son of your CEO handling your company’s social media accounts (unless he’s a social media specialist). You want a social media specialist; someone who understands when your audience is logged in to their social media accounts, who can handle customer service in short bursts via social media, and knows which networks you should be using for your market.
  • You don’t want the graphic designer coming up with your branding alone, you want the graphic designer to work with your marketing staff to develop it. You want your graphic designer to work with your marketing staff and the social media manager to develop your branding. All marketing channels of your company need to use the branding, so it makes sense to have everyone involved, bringing their specialty to the table.

Change Your Habits

At the beginning of his pro career, Novak was known as a tough player, but who often faded in long matches, or in the heat. If his opponents could just get him to that final set, often they would win. Sure, Novak had a great backhand, and a good return of serve, but if it the match went to a 4th or 5th set, he was vulnerable. Novak tried everything, from tweaking certain parts of his game like his serve, or working on his fitness and endurance with various coaches. But nothing was working.

Until 2010, when, after meeting with a nutritionist, Novak discovered he had a gluten intolerance. After changing his diet and eating habits (he often ate a lot of pizza, as his parents own a pizzeria in Serbia), he started feeling stronger and quicker, which coincides with his sparkling rise up the rankings. He felt so much better that in 2011 he challenged a 27-year old record: he won 41-straight matches to start the year, second only to John McEnroe’s streak of 42 consecutive matches in 1984. Clearly changing his habits helped him.

What marketing channels are you using with your software company?

  • Press releases + social media?
  • Blog posts + trade shows + social media?
  • Email marketing + cold calls?

Maybe it’s time to change your habits. Even if you’ve been successful with certain marketing channels in the past, are there others you could be exploring right now? What are you competitors doing? Are they having any success? How about your potential customers? Where are they spending their time?

Take a look at your marketing channels and see if there’s anything you can add or change to the mix for this year. You may notice a difference.

Add in Some Cross-Training

When he trains, Novak uses a variety of methods to ensure that he’s ready for his matches on the tennis court. Sure, he does on-court training, but he also does some yoga and Pilates for core strength and flexibility. He does sprint training to work on his explosiveness. He runs to work on his cardio. There are rumors he even uses a fitness pod to boost his blood circulation.

Are you stuck in a marketing rut and are still doing the same things? How about busting out of it and doing a little marketing cross-training? What I mean is that if you’re always doing email marketing and trade shows, how about starting a corporate blog? If you always do press releases and newsletter articles, how about writing up 1-page quick reference cards and printing up mini-cards for your salespeople?

Doing the same thing because that’s what you’ve always done can lead to stagnancy, so adding in a little variety and cross-training can help energize your marketing materials, as well as your staff.

Be Relentless

One of the hallmarks of Novak’s tennis game is that he chases down every ball on every point. Even if he’s probably going to lose the point, he tries to get there. Even if that means doing the splits. On a hard court. Ouch.

How can you be as relentless as Novak in marketing? No, I’m not suggesting you learn how to do the splits. But you can be consistent like Novak. Be there all the time.

  1. If you’ve got a corporate blog, post on it regularly.
  2. Follow up on the comments regularly.
  3. If you have a corporate newsletter, make sure you produce it regularly.
  4. If you’re on social media, make sure to be on there regularly. Follow up with all inbound leads regularly.

(Noticing a theme here?)

You’ve got to be relentless with whatever you do. All the time.

Finally, the last point in The Novak Djokovic Guide to Software Marketing:

Have Fun

Novak has fun on the court when he plays. I have fun when I play. I don’t always win (make that: I rarely win), but I have fun every time.

I know that as a B2B software company, you think you can’t be as “fun” or “creative” as B2C companies, but that’s just not true. Try adding a bit of personality into your marketing materials. Add some quotes from your staffers in there. Have a weekly series on the writers that blog on your corporate blog. Let your graphic designers add a bit more color into your website or latest marketing brochure. Give your salespeople some fun name tags to use at the next trade show. Have your copywriters come up with a fun tagline for your next campaign.

Having fun doesn’t mean being unprofessional or un-corporate. It just means you’re letting the rest of the world in on the magic in your software product, and the camaraderie you and your colleagues feel at work.

If you follow The Novak Djokovic Guide to Software Marketing, I’ll bet you see in similar gains in your business like Novak. Will you rise to Number 1? Possibly. But you’ll never know if you don’t try.