Even if you are not a football fan, you can learn a lot from this year’s play action.

This season, we have witnessed a transformation in the world of sports. Shift your focus to the National Football League for a minute. The Dallas Cowboys had built a legacy of mediocrity in the past few seasons, choking in big games and never quite living up to their expectations.

That’s why their utter domination shocked the sports world and has positioned the Cowboys as the de facto prized possession of an extremely competitive NFC. But how did Dallas ascend from the depths of mediocrity into the best team in the NFL to date? Did Jerry Jones out-fiddle the devil somewhere in the heart of Georgia?

The answer is simpler than it appears. Dallas implemented small, iterative changes in their philosophy that together have made an enormous impact on performance. Their recipe is as follows:

• Accountability in leadership
• Focusing on real needs
• Sticking to a plan
• Playing small-ball

Believe it or not, this recipe for change can also be applied to your online marketing strategy and help you make a digital transformation. Let me explain.

Make Your Team Accountable

What does your website traffic look like this month? What content is driving the most new business? Who are your top social media influencers? If your company can’t answer these questions, you may have an accountability problem.

Strategy without accountability is destined for failure. It results in missed deadlines, mismanaged commitments and missed opportunities. Strive to make your marketing team accountable by building processes, setting clear expectations and meeting with your team regularly. There should be a defined team who “owns” every piece of your online marketing strategy, and that team should clearly understand the details of their role.

Get Focused

Online marketing is a vast sea of tactics just waiting to sink your ship. For most marketing teams, it’s simply impossible to do everything and succeed. And yet many organizations fail to stay focused, always chasing the shiny new toy.

Instead of trying to do everything, focus your efforts on the tactics that will actually get you results. Are you creating a new product category? Skip search and focus on education and awareness campaigns instead. Do you have a complicated product with a long sales cycle? Try video marketing or animations to get your message across. Are you strictly B2C? LinkedIn may not be a good fit.

Whatever it is you’re marketing, stay focused and try to pick the tactics that will make a real difference in your bottom line.

Stick to a Plan

“Hey we’ve been doing this blogging thing for over a week now, why aren’t we seeing results?”

If I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that, I’d probably hire someone to write a better transition than this. Online marketing is not an overnight activity. It takes time, consistency and just the right amount of luck before you start seeing meaningful results.

The key to success is being consistent, managing your expectations and setting reachable goals. When you do this, you’re more likely to stick with it and see results in the long run. Think of it like getting in shape: no one goes from stomach flab to tight abs in a week.

Little Wins Create Big Successes

While it is generally a good idea to invest your time into one to two large campaigns, don’t place all your eggs in one basket. Working on smaller micro-campaigns can often add up over time to bring you consistent results.

For example, individual blog posts might not bring you nearly as much traffic as a well-researched and written white paper. But if you produce 100 articles over the course of a year that each drive 5-10 visits a day, the aggregate daily traffic can produce significant wins over time. These small victories create a foundation of success for your online marketing efforts, and allow you to gamble on the big wins while mitigating your risks.

So whether you are positioning your team into championship contenders or positioning your online marketing strategy for success, the recipe above can help get you there. Remembering that small strides, planning, focus and accountability with equal overall transformation will make a sometime daunting process clear, concise and effective.