46.7%. That’s was the lousy free throw success rate of Chinanu Onuaku in his first year of US College Basketball. In comparison: NBA center players like Serge Ibaka (79.7%), DeMarcus Cousins (74.6%) or Kristaps Porzingis (79.3%) achieve much higher success rates. So, what did Chinanu Onuaku do to improve this shameful statistic?
Together with the University of Louisville he started working on an alternative, underhand free throw technique. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a bit like your mom would throw a ball (no offense). Or rather your grandmother, because the underhand technique is also known as ‘granny style’.
Despite evidence that the granny throw improves free throw shooting, especially for big men, the technique had been abandoned from the NBA since Hall of Fame player Rick Barry retired in 1980. Admittedly, the granny throw looks silly. But you know what? The technique made a real difference for Onuaku. In his first year of practicing the granny style, he raised his statistics up to 59 percent. In 2018, he achieved around 70 percent.
But that’s not the whole story. Did you know that even some of the most renowned NBA players achieved much lower percentages? Even Shaquille O’Neal was notorious for his bad free-throw shooting. He finished his career with a 52.7 percent average from the line.
What does this teach us marketers?
Maybe that you don’t necessarily need the latest, coolest marketing tricks and technologies, and that it might pay off to look back at the old-school strategies that have never failed.
Instagram or Pinterest may not be your social channel after all. And maybe you’re not ready for VR either. Instead, you may achieve great results with good old email marketing. Maybe industry events are your true lead generation machine. Heck, maybe even postcards can generate leads.
The only criteria to judge this, are your customers and your results. If your methods reach your audience and bring in the money, that should be all that counts. Does your email marketing program send more visitors to your website? Do your events generate leads? Then by all means, focus on those.
I’m not telling you that you shouldn’t experiment with new methods or technologies. Nor that you shouldn’t measure your marketing efforts. But ultimately, there’s no need to feel silly when you are using tactics that are frowned upon by martech hipsters.