Mental vs physical errors in B2B marketing


In sports, many managers and coaches talk about the difference between mental and physical errors.  Both are bad, both can cause you to lose a game or match or even a season.

Most smart managers, however, have more patience with physical errors.  Even for professionals, they’re inevitable.  You boot a ground ball, let a pass slip through your fingers.  The best players in the game commit physical errors.

But those best-in-class athletes rarely commit mental errors.  They’re prepared, have practiced infinitely, and have trained their bodies and brains to operate subconsciously when necessary.

In sports, mental errors include missing the cut-off man on a throw from the outfield.  Trying to steal third base with two outs.  Running the wrong route as a receiver.  These are mental errors, signs of a lack of preparation and discipline, and are more likely to, more quickly, put you on the bench or worse.

The analogies between sports and marketing, when it comes to physical and mental errors at least, are striking – at least to me.

Misspelled words in draft copy?  It’s gonna happen.  I consider that a physical error that affects the best copywriters in the world from time to time.

Letting that misspelled word make it to production?  That’s a mental error.  It’s a breakdown of process that just shouldn’t happen.

It’s worth thinking about the difference for your particular role and discipline, especially as we enter a new year with new goals, new roles, new expectations.

What are the mental processes you should have committed to memory, that should be second nature, that should be practiced and trained to become an extension of who you are?

Physical errors in any job should be minimized, of course.  But mental errors should be eradicated.

Curious to hear your thoughts on the difference between the two, as well as examples in both courts for your role in particular.