Marketing lessons from wrestling

I love wrestling. 

I have no idea why, as it has every quality I detest in a TV show:

  • It’s fake,
  • The storylines make even the most outrageous soap opera look banal by comparison,
  • It has a high quotient of well-oiled men in Speedos (in hindsight, I wish I’d put that higher up)

I think what I appreciate about wrestling most is that, once you realise it’s not real, that’s when it starts to get interesting.

Let’s face it, any two dipsticks can stand up and fight until one of them is unconscious, but…

…to make it LOOK like you’re fighting…to make it LOOK like you want to kill someone?

That’s Oscar-worthy stuff, man.

That’s ART.

Wrestling is my ballet.

Performance. Choreography. Trust. 

Lots, and lots of trust.

There’s a rule in wrestling:

“Accidentally bump weiners? Just look meaner!”

Sorry, wrong rule…

“If you pick someone up, you’re responsible for putting them down – SAFELY”.

And if you think that doesn’t sound like a lot of trust, talk to Stone Cold Steve Austin. In 1997, Austin’s head was just a few inches too low during a move called the “Tombstone piledriver” (FYI, I think that’s also a position in the Karma Sutra).

Those few inches resulted in a broken neck and a career-ending injury.

When wrestlers perform high impact, high flying moves, they’re not only relying on their opponent to make it look like it hurt, they’re relying on their opponent to catch them on the way down, so they don’t injure themselves on the concrete.

Trust and responsibility.

Not only is there a lot of responsibility in wrestling, but there’s communication too.

How do you think each wrestler knows what the other is going to do in the ring?

They talk to each other during the match.

Trouble is, they have to do this while still keeping up the pretence that they’re wanting to beat seven bells out of each other, so they can’t sit down and have a polite conversation…

“Right, I think it would be absolutely smashing if I picked you up and threw you into the corner, only for to you to reverse it and throw me there instead. Once I’m there, you can run at me full speed, only for me to move out of the way at the very last second so that you crash into the turnbuckle. How does that sound to you, Tarquin?”

They have to find small moments in the match. They have to choose their words carefully. 

Every word – and every moment – counts.

Why use 69 words, when 2 will do:

“Reverse charge”.

If you want to be a wrestler, communication and responsibility are important.

If you want to be in business, communication and responsibility are important too.

If you “pick up” someone in your funnel or online world, it’s your responsibility to look after them and to make sure they’re safe in your hands. 

If you have a message you need someone to hear, don’t craft it to perfection so that Shakespeare would hang up his quill in admiration. Say it so the audience understands it.

(Also, now I’ve written about wrestling, that new Spandex singlet I bought is tax-deductible, right?)