Why doesn’t the kicker get any glory in football?

If marketing was a football game, direct marketers would be the kicker. Why? Consider this:...

If marketing was a football game, direct marketers would be the kicker. Why? Consider this:

• The kicker gets called into the game at specific times at the request of others. The offense has scored the touchdown, the team just needs to add the extra point. Almost inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. But then again, kickers are often called in when the offense has failed.

• The efforts of the kicker are immediately measurable and under the microscope. If they succeed, we are the heroes. But we are often asked to provide results in a no-win, last resort situation.

• Direct marketers tend to be a little quirky, a little bit apart from the broader world of marketing. Ever see the kicker standing by himself at a game? That’s sometimes how we feel.

• The offense doesn’t spend a lot of time as a team strategizing the kick, it’s always the touchdown. The kick is just something that happens in the game, and the kicker is always expected to perform at 100%.

• We both work well under tight timelines and immense pressure. How many times have you watched a last-second field goal attempt?

The one positive side of this analogy is that just like the kicker in football, direct marketers have the ability to completely change the complexion of the game. Championships have been won and lost on kicks. Dynasties have been created or destroyed on kicks. Just ask the Buffalo Bills.

But direct marketers are not bound to traditional roles within marketing. We have the ability to change the perception that others have of us. It’s easy for us to move into the role of quarterback, or even a running back pounding out a few yards at a time with amazing consistency. It’s up to us to not let ourselves fall into the role of the kicker who waits patiently to be called into the game.

So the next time you meet a direct marketer at a party, just remember the entire fate of your season could rest with that person. Treat him or her well.

John Peloza is director, response marketing at Vancouver-based agency Bryant, Fulton & Shee.