Small Business Marketing: Like the Giants, We’re Playing Small Ball

Romo and Posey have every reason to celebrate their sweep of Detroit to win the World Series

I’m a loyal and enthusiastic Giants fan, and we just got back from a few days of spring training in Scottsdale. It was heaven—warm, sunny weather, a few days away from work and stress, dinner with friends at Don & Charlies.

Happily, it’s baseball season again, and while we Giants fans wish we had a few homerun kings, the reality is that we don’t have the consistent clutch hitters who can be relied on to hit a grand slam when we need one. No Albert Pujols, Mike Trouts or Prince Fielders in our batting order.

Instead, the Giants are better known for their unique brand of small ball–organic, team-based baseball that maximizes tiny opportunities with a minimum of errors. When a team is playing small ball, it relies on speed and stolen bases, superb pitching and a formidable defense. They need players who can consistently be counted on to get base hits and RBIs–runs batted in–sending their teammates across homeplate to score.

Making small ball work
Small ball is all about the cumulative effects of many collective efforts that help win games, then division titles and finally, the big kahuna, the World Series. The Giants have done this twice in three years, so it’s not just a fluke, despite what the East Coast media may tell you.

While I basked in the warm Arizona sun, I was thinking that small ball is analogous to the marketing efforts of small businesses. We don’t have deep pockets to sustain the costly advertising, lavish client events, and glossy collateral that I knew from my old corporate days.

As small business owners, we are constantly playing small ball. Electronic delivery has opened up a whole new way of communicating with clients and prospects, and it’s free. Building relationships, one person at a time, is quintessential small ball. Endless networking and follow-up are critical components of growing a business and that never go out of style.

Just like the Giants, the cumulative effect of a sustained small ball strategy is winning—only for us the prize is new clients rather than the World Series. I’m looking forward to another great year for the Giants–I’ll take small ball any day.

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