Extremely few vendors and service providers selling solutions, certain technologies and intellectual capital will bluntly admit the following to a prospective client: the best in the world . . . usually fail. Research suggests this holds true be it business, sports or nature.

Successful marketing directors and CEOs of medium and large organizations already know this intellectually. Mitigating risk versus reward is where good editing and the wherewithal to correct under-performing demand /lead generation programs are indispensable.

If this is true, how so and what is the best way to overcome this?

Case 1

Tony Gwynn is a former All-Star outfielder for the San Diego Padres. His career batting average is over .330. (In baseball, any hitter over .300 is like the best of the best.) Be that as it may, it still means that even the best like Gwynn, Joe DiMaggio or Ted Williams get a hit just a third of the time at best.

Case 2

Michael Jordan is a world champion basketball player, baseball player and 1992 Olympic gold medalist. Many consider him the best of the best in basketball. Mr. Jordan was so good and famous, he had TV commercials for big brands like Gatorade and the iconic Air Jordan athletic shoe campaigns by Nike for years.

One of his most notable posters is understated in black and white showing a head shot and a list of career statistics. The interesting part of this poster is those statistics are not of his achievements. Instead, the poster lists his failures.

27 times, I missed the last shot of a game . . .

300 times I turned the ball over . . .

80 times I missed a critical free foul shot, et cetera.

This poster inspires in sports and business – and life – because even the best of the best fails plenty. Despite training, team doctors, Air Jordans named after him and practicing with the best champions in the world, Michael Jordan fails a lot.

Case 3

Great white sharks are among the apex hunters in existence on earth. They have been for over 4 million years. Every year on Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” marine biology experts will venture out to sea and observe the great white and produce captivating videos for the TV show of the animals doing what they do better than anyone – hunt and eat.

Scientists estimate the great white eats about one in every eight hunting campaigns. That is roughly a 12 percent success rate despite their greatness, experience, natural instincts, rows of teeth, savvy predatory maneuvering and the like.

Lion prides in Africa are about 33 percent or so. Lion team hunting strategy will be in part II of this article.

Think of your marketing and advertising operations in terms of any of the above three cases. Many times, the hardware, software, social media and all sorts of business tools are accessible. The same way Michael Jordan has access to trainers, analysts, coaches and game video reels. Tony Gwynn was known for hitting t-ball for hours daily in spring training. He watched himself on video to perfect his swing like some golf instructors use at the driving range present day.

Old-fashioned self-reliance, common sense, practice and guts has worked for the great white since the dinosaur age. It will work for today’s CEOs hunting new profit centers and developing customer relationships.