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CRM: Article

Catch the Joy of a Wilson Football in Business or Life

How a Simple Product Makes You Think about Improving Your Offering

It’s time for football in America and we all know that football is the most popular sport in the country. Research shows it’s far more popular than baseball, 43% say it’s their favorite sport vs. 12% for second place baseball. The NFL is a slick marketing juggernaut and college football is full of players that may never play in the NFL that are simply amazing athletes to watch.

The Football is Simply Perfect
What I want to talk about is much more personal than that. I want to discuss my sincere product loyalty to the Wilson NFL “Duke” football. When I see a Wilson football, my heart skips a beat. know other sporting goods companies have tried to make footballs and some of them are decent. But the Wilson NFL football for me is by far the best football made.

Whether the ball is old or new, it doesn’t matter. It feels right. Something goes off in my brain where all of my memories of pick up games and balls thrown or chased down come rushing back. And memorable smiles that showed up in buckets. Smiles from friends, family members and even people I didn’t know who drifted into games or just tossing the ball around. In my early twenties, one of my best friends and I used to get into tackle pickup games in one of the roughest areas in Houston with some pretty unsavory characters. We wore no pads and there were some vicious hits out there but men always seemed to show up even on Sundays when games were on TV. Why is that? Because we felt the power of living in that moment where the sport was pure and it was ours. Imagine if you lived each moment that way, what kind of results would you be getting in life or your career?

I wanted to write this article to show the reader how passionate some products and services can make us feel. That sometimes a buyer is floored by the wonderful fact that they can buy a product. Do your buyers feel that way? Can they? How many people would talk about your offering to the people they influence?

The Moment of Play
The ball is a simple example of an extraordinary product that gets your attention because you sense the attention to detail about how it works. It would be great if all products and services gave the buyer this feeling.  When you pick up a Wilson NFL football, the thread rises up to meet your fingertips as if to say, “I’m ready and I have been waiting for you, let’s play”. The leather has been made to have a rise in its texture to deliver a recognizable and perfect grip in your hands so the ball sticks just enough for you to get some velocity.

If you have thrown enough balls, you know the instant it leaves your hand that you have delivered a tight spiral and the ball is singing happily through the air. It zings. You have punched a hole in the matrix and the perfectly shaped Wilson football is on its way to someone who is now happily forced to live in the moment.

The national health plan, insane bosses, the person who invented liquid paper and late book reports are all forgotten by the receiver. The moment is now and the mind-body is responding. Yesterday, tomorrow, the next five minutes? Gone. Eyes on the prize, the receiver’s hands reach up and that wonderful leather is back where it belongs, sticking just enough for them to catch it with hands out in front of their body. If someone is not very good at first, it truly doesn’t matter. Like all sports, improvements come with each and every day of tossing the ball. A key health tip here is to throw short passes first to warm up those muscles. Even NFL quarterbacks warm up so they don’t throw their arm out, so should you.

Catching the Joy with Others
My son and I have thrown many footballs just in our front yard. There are no stadiums, no cheerleaders (not counting our dogs) and certainly no endorsements. But there is always joy. On some days, we might get a few more one-handed catches than the last time or fifty yard bombs where stride is never broken and the ball gets caught. When balls are dropped for no reason, we like to tease each other but it’s in a way of saying “hey, it happens” as opposed to being mean about it. Life happens, dropped balls happen and it rarely matters. What matters is you get back out there and run it again. A good catch is only possible if you play and the joy is waiting on you.

If you’re a mom or a daughter, I expect to see you out there. That Wilson football loves you just as much as it loves Brett Favre. By you getting out there, you are communicating that you don’t sit on the sidelines. You’re a player in the game of life. Both of my daughters play catch with me. They have learned to catch with their hands away from their body and they throw a good ball. But here’s the important thing, they are with me and that moment is ours forever.

The Wilson’s NFL football is not a cheap football. You can find them on sale around $80. That’s less expensive than a lot of personal technology that you can buy and it’s unlikely that a PDA is going to get you any exercise or help make your most valued relationships stronger. The smell of grass, the cool autumn air and the Wilson NFL football make for moments of joy with just about anyone. I hope to see you outside connecting with someone you care about soon.

Full disclosure: I am not affiliated with Wilson in any way. Just a life long fan of this product.

More Stories By John Ryan

John is an experienced leader with a strong background of defining and executing company strategies. He is especially skilled in channel management, market analysis, brand marketing and selling technology products and services. He has successfully served in a number of executive positions and has been in management for 20 years. John is currently writing a book on increasing revenue generation. He has been a co-author of a comprehensive marketing methodology for high tech companies and has helped venture capitalists and private equity firms gauge their technology investments. In 2004, John served as Vice President of Marketing for the NA arm of the $6B IT Services division of Siemens, AG. John served on the board of directors at WebTrends, purchased by NetIQ (NTIQ) for $1 billion in 2001. WebTrends was highly successful dominating the web site analysis and reporting space. Prior to WebTrends, John was the Vice President of Marketing for Tivoli Systems. John has worked as a contracted consultant for established companies, start ups and top analyst firms. John can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @buyersteps