Imagine that you must pick between a competent team of marketers or a mediocre team with one or two brilliant standouts. Which would you prefer? This question came to me when I listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s fascinating podcast about strong link/weak link theory. Gladwell applies it to higher education, but I think it has interesting applicability in the business sphere.

The book that launched the strong link/weak link phenomenon analyzes what makes a successful soccer team. A former professional goalkeeper and a behavioral analyst posite that soccer is a “weak link” sport. That means it requires a base of skilled teammates to bust all the right moves that result in a goal. A striker relies on backfielders, midfielders, wingers, and attackers to move the ball into just the right position to score. No matter how good that striker is, he can rarely win a game without a solid team behind him advancing the ball down the field.

By comparison, the authors classify basketball as a “strong link” sport. One LeBron James can blaze down the court and score, score, score. The team can succeed with LeBron even when the rest of the players are mediocre.

So, what kind of marketing strategy works best for your small organization? A strong-link stable of alpha, high-achieving superstars or strategies? Or a weak-link network of competent, interdependent people or approaches that support each other to reach a goal?

There are times when the answer might be a strong link approach. Perhaps you are introducing a new fitness club. In that case, an endorsement from the local NFL team’s star quarter back might be all you need to drive in traffic in droves.

For most small businesses though, a weak link strategy of a competent team and multi-channel marketing will always work better than a single superstar.

How do we promote our business and the services we offer? We have a solid team that creates content that circulates via our blog (Hi!), our email newsletter, a robust marketing automation program, social media, and networking. Our team members and strategies layer on top of one another to create our irresistible sales approach.