Not many careers seem as unrelated as marketing and professional ice hockey. One spends their day creating content, optimising ads, updating websites, and managing clients. The other focuses on stick handling, cross-overs, body checks, and saucer passes.

Yet there are surprising similarities between these seemingly opposite worlds. Both require persistent dedication, a drive for excellence, and the pursuit of delivering results.

Desire for perfection and a successful outcome

Between setting goals and scoring goals, the mindset is similar. Nothing beats the feeling of achieving your goal, whether it’s increasing the conversion rate or scoring a hat trick. A desire for perfection, or at the very least, excellence, is a key driver for a marketing professional and an ice hockey player. In both, mediocrity is the enemy of excellence.

Success requires a desire to get better every day and a commitment to pushing boundaries and trying new things in a strategic, practical way. In marketing, you might measure good results through conversion rates. In ice hockey, it’s all about shooting, passing, and most importantly, championships.

But in a way, these two roles answer to their audience: the client and their target audience, and the fan base. Both of whom expect results. A client wants to see a return on investment, and the fans want their team to win every game.

And when those expectations are met, the feeling is…soundproof. Everything else just fades away into the background. When you achieve that goal or end the season as the champions, the feeling of overwhelming satisfaction and accomplishment takes over. It’s similar to launching a successful ad campaign for a client. But it’s only temporary before it’s time to move on to ad performance optimisation or pre-season training.

Staying ahead of the game, on and off the ice

In both marketing and ice hockey, the need to learn and adapt is constant. Marketing specialists must stay abreast of the ever-evolving digital landscape, or master new tools and strategies to keep their clients’ brands competitive. Likewise, hockey players must adapt to changes in game dynamics, keep up with the younger players with new skills and high energy, and study their opponents to know what to expect come game time.

The ability to keep up and outperform can only happen when you’re motivated to learn and evolve in the environment. It takes dedication to consistently learning and developing, through digital marketing courses and upskilling in new platforms, or working on new systems each season and adapting to working with new players on the team.

Teamwork makes the dream work

One of the most significant similarities between marketing specialists and professional ice hockey players is the concept of teamwork. Despite what some people believe, one marketing person can’t do it all. It takes specialists to make everything happen. Graphic designers, copywriters and website developers, to content creators, ad specialists and media managers are all called upon at different times, depending on the campaign or client.

Similarly, in ice hockey, individual performance is part of a group effort. It relies on the coordinated pursuits of forwards, defensemen, the goalie, and not to mention the players and staff on the bench who support and instruct their team throughout the game. 

Global ice rinks and Freddo frogs (the best of both worlds)

Overseas leagues, tournaments, and exhibition matches allow hockey players to play and compete in any ice rink across the globe. Marketing specialists typically find themselves in climate-controlled offices, surrounded by computers. And while that’s mostly still the case, improvements in technology have removed geographical boundaries so marketers can now enjoy their professional from anywhere with an internet connection.

Remote work has become a standard practice and something Threesides accommodates to facilitate a healthy work-life balance. For me, I’m privileged to continue working while competing in the European ice hockey season.

I do miss the stash of Freddo frogs while travelling though (just one of the perks at Threesides)!

While the worlds of marketing specialists and professional ice hockey seem lightyears apart, the core values they share are undeniable. The pursuit of excellence, dedication to learning and improving, and persistent drive to be the best unite these professionals across their unique landscapes.