Saturday we watched the Marshall University Thundering Herd get beat in overtime by West Virginia. I'm not the football aficionado in the family but even I got caught up in the emotion of this game where the underdog (Marshall) led by 15 points until the last seven minutes of the fourth quarter. The announcers made much of the history of the Marshall team and the "100-year rivalry" with West Virginia. You may remember the 2006 movie "We Are Marshall" about the tragic loss of the entire Marshall team in a 1970 plane crash. But the reality is that no one really expected anything but a win for West Virginia.
What struck me as I watched the game turn around was how dramatically the momentum changed. The Mountaineers quarterback did a great job rallying his team in the fourth quarter but what seemed even more important to the outcome was the fact that the Herd got defensively timid. By the time the regulation clock ran out, Marshall had allowed the West Virginia to score twice and then couldn't score in overtime.
But this isn't just about football. What happened to Marshall happens in business, too. It's very easy to lose momentum - and it's not so easy to get it back. Getting your team on a winning streak takes work. Keeping your team pumped up and scoring takes constant attention. And if there's a shift in the marketplace and the competition appears to gain the momentum, what are you doing to get it back? Well, for certain, that's not the time to get defensive. It's just the time to get back on offense. Those businesses that are struggling to maintain momentum in this economy are the ones who are not playing offense. Now is definitely the time to keep your eye on the ball.
With the uncertainty about future revenue, I've seen a number of businesses pull back on their marketing efforts in an attempt to save money. This may be just the wrong thing to do if you want to maintain the momentum. And successful businesses are taking advantage of the defensiveness of their competition to gain momentum.
Are you playing offense or defense? And how's it working for you?
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