The Kid from Cincinnati

Lessons learnt about MailChimp from supporting the "wrong" team

When I was 13 years old,

…I started watching American Football on Channel 4 in the UK.  It was on Sunday evenings and it was either that or religious programming, and being a teenage boy, the choice wasn’t hard.

Apart from my Grandparents living in Long Island as I was growing up, I had no major connection to any city across the pond and as such, had free range on deciding who I wanted to support.

After much deliberation and reading several of the magazines about the NFL that had started in the UK (this was very pre-internet!), I decided based on something that was important to me as a 13 year old – how much I liked the team uniform and helmet!

..and with one brief decision, I selected the Cincinnati Bengals.

Little did I know how much pleasure (and pain) that simple choice would bring to me over the coming years.

You see although Cincinnati weren’t a bad team at the time (in fact in the late eighties they were actually quite good), from the early nighties all the way through to the mid 2000’s…  Cincinnati were the worst team in the league.

They flat out sucked.

But there’s one thing as a sports fan you know from an early age.

No matter how much your team resemble a steaming pile of manure, you can’t switch teams.

You just don’t do it.

You pick a team – and you stick with them… through thick and thin (If only when I was 13 had I realised how much thin there would be!)

I was reminded of this on Friday morning as I caught up on their game of the night before… and realised after a few seasons of respectability, Cincinnati have returned to suckitude.

…but did I waver in my support?


Because it’s not what you do.

You’re committed to your team, through thick and thin, so make the best of it.

This was brought home to me recently in relation to MailChimp.

(you know I’d get to that eventually!)

A recent conversation with a customer centred around the system and whether they should be considering an alternative tool for their email marketing.

Now, unlike being a sports fan, there was no inbound loyalty to MailChimp – moving systems would not have been seen as a betrayal!

…but the thing is, their motivation to move was for something they thought was “bigger and brighter”.

They saw the grass on the other side of the fence, and it looked mighty green.

It wasn’t that MailChimp was poor in their minds, just they felt that as they grew they should be using a different system.

The thing was… they’d not even scratched the surface of what MailChimp could achieve.

…and unfortunately, this is something I hear all the time.

MailChimp isn’t perfect.


I said it.

It’s a bit clunky at times.

There are some features I’d love to see improved on.

(Forms anyone?)

…but you know what?

For 95% of businesses out there – it performs brilliantly and will meet their requirements for several years to come.

If they just decided to embrace it and make it work.

…and I guess that’s the core message here.

Stop worrying about whether MailChimp is the right system for you – and start worrying about how to make sure that MailChimp IS the right system for you.

There are hundreds of email marketing tools out there.

They’ll all do the job.

You picked MailChimp.

So make it the right choice – because once you embrace it, it’s a very powerful, yet cost effective tool.

My love for the Cincinnati Bengals is only one way.

I have no influence on whether they do well or not.

I can shout as load as I want at the TV (and believe me when I say this is all too common!!!), but it has no impact on their performance.

…but with MailChimp.

The more I commit to it and work with it (warts an’ all), the more I get out of it – and the more you will to.

So stop worrying about the shiny new tool on the other side of the fence.

Work with the perfectly good tool you’ve already got and make it perform at it’s best.

In my mind there is no doubt that should you do this, your business will grow because of it.

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