I've been a basketball fan since I was a kid. And it has always been pretty clear to me that a lot of people who aren't basketball fans, do tend to enjoy March Madness. Maybe it's the competitiveness, or the bracketology, or the cinderella stories, or maybe just the chance to win a buck!
What has stood out to me over the last few years, however, is that the "hype" doesn't seem to be as great as it used to be. Is it me? This year's tournament, in particular, has more than its fair share of Cinderella stories. From Harvard to LaSalle, to Florida Gulf Coast and Wichita State who are both still in it. And teams like VCU, Butler, Baylor and George Mason still seem to carry that Cinderella aura even though they've managed to actually become somewhat regulars in The Dance.
Maybe, over time, it has just become harder to "wow" people. And this probably has a lot to do with expectation. Managing expectations, interestingly, has become a major component of business. Building a successful integrated marketing communications plan has as much to do with setting and reinforcing expectations as anything else. And times when we've failed or been disappointed typically point right back to our inability to manage expectations properly. If the "wow" bar is set increasingly higher, then, naturally, our ability to hit or exceed it with clever multi-channel marketing tactics and technology is going to be challenging at best. This isn't necessarily an indictment, simply an observation of what has become the "normal" climate.
We've written and read a lot about the "new" normal lately. It could be that "madness" has simply become part of what we expect—what is now "normal" in our lives. Personally and professionally, a culture and an environment of madness seems to be much more common than one of tranquility. We could probably all benefit from a few deep breaths and a chance to pause for a moment. But with constant performance pressures and the line between success and failure being so fine, "winning" is tied directly to that mobile marketing campaign you're working on right now!
As we move on to the Elite 8, I guess I too am hoping to be wowed. And if ever there has been a year when it seems like that might be possible, it's this one! So good luck to FGCU and Wichita State...let's hope the madness continues!