Skip to content

Michael Jordan, Failure, and Setting Content Goals

My favorite Michael Jordan/Nike commercial came out toward the end of his career. It’s a 30 second spot of Jordan getting out of his car, walking passed photographers, and out a door. There’s no flash. No game winning shot. It’s just Michael…and then you hear his voice.

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.

The one thing that most people take from this commercial is that you have to try in order to succeed. But I think the meaning is so much deeper than that when we look at our marketing and content goals.

On Setting Goals

Success is easier to define for athletes (sorry athletes ;)). There is usually a very distinct goal that an athlete is shooting for: a championship, a gold medal, or simply to win the game. Michael Jordan always stated that his goal was to be the best basketball player to ever play the game. He measured that goal by winning the NBA championship six times, including countless scoring titles and MVP awards.

For us mere mortals and marketing managers, this is where we must start – we must have at least one tangible goal.

Michael Jordan knows when he’s failed because he knows what his goal is. If a person doesn’t have a goal, there cannot be failure. I believe that is why so many people don’t set goals…they don’t want to set themselves up for any failure in life. In some cases, the same is true for marketers.

Goal Hunting

I can’t stand the phrase “goal setting”. It sounds too easy when it comes to content marketing.

Finding content goals that ultimately drive your business can be an excruciating process. You don’t set goals…you hunt them. It takes passion, determination and some soul searching to truly determine what kind of content you could create that could have an immediate impact on your customer.

Think of it this way: if all your content marketing were erased from existence, would anyone notice?


So, let’s go hunting for some higher purpose content goals that will make an impact on your customers and prospects AND deliver on your business goals. Start first with the pain points of your customers…then match those with your business goals.