Why New York Hurts Lebron’s Marketing Opportunity

May 14, 2010

marketing studio - sports business In the wake of last night’s Boston Celtics series clinching win over the top seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, there is much speculation that the “king” Lebron James, now a free agent, is going to end up a New York Knick next season.   New York of course is the “media capital of the world” and will provide Lebron with the biggest stage.  The biggest stage means the most money, right?

Why wouldn’t New York provide the best opportunity for Lebron to grow his business enterprise? This morning on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike, CNBC sports business columnist Darren Rovell explained why it’s a misnomer that New York provides the biggest revenue opportunity for Lebron.  In fact, the Knicks may slow down Lebron’s growth as a global brand.  I do my best to summarize Darren’s points below:

  • Lebron James was on national television 36 times during the 2009-10 season; it is unlikely this coverage can get any higher, no matter what team he plays for
  • National media coverage of a mega star like Lebron is not tied to his team, whether it be Cleveland, New York or any other city
  • Lebron’s Nike contract (his biggest revenue source) is not contingent upon the NBA team he represents
  • The guarantee in Lebron’s Nike contract will not increase based upon his team BUT does have a variable compensation component, tied to “Lebron” sneaker sales worldwide
  • Nike’s growth in the US is slowing, but the company is seeing double digit growth in China (where 300 million people play hoops, equaling the entire US population …think about that!)
  • Traditionally, sales of a sneaker brand in China is highly correlated with “winning NBA titles” (aka Air Jordan; this is exactly why Kobe Bryant is currently the “king” brand in China)

Kobe's championship rings has made him a king in China

Conclusion: In order to maximize Lebron James as a business (and sneaker salesman), he must not choose his next team by market size, marketing studiobut identify the franchise that will provide him the best chance to win multiple NBA titles.  Based upon the current make up of the New York Knicks roster, and their recent history of basketball operations’ mismanagement, it is fair to be skeptical of their chances to win, even with Lebron, in the near term.  Darren Rovell concludes that Lebron’s next team will be a franchise with a roster that has the potential to win a championship in 2011 or 2012 (this entire dialog of course assumes that Lebron and his advisers are choosing his next team strictly upon revenue potential ..a little presumptuous I know).

Write it down … Lebron James re-signs with the Cavs and makes another run at bringing his hometown an NBA championship (in my humble opinion).

Keep it Simple

April 5, 2010

Confucius said “Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” This rings so true in marketing. The companies who “dumb it down” are the ones who rise to the top and stay there … see Google, see Apple, see USA Today.

We often get fixated on certain terms and phrases, and our personal bias prevents us from clearly communicating to our market. As a B2B marketer you can never assume you are your market.

My firm’s business is predicated on bringing pharmaceutical companies together to work cooperatively to evaluate new R&D technologies. For years we avoided the word “consortium” to describe ourselves. We thought of “consortium” negatively and did not want to be associated with the term. Thus we started our own game of Taboo describing the business with words like “short term, multi-company projects,” “collaborative projects” and “collaborative innovation.” Our personal bias generated complex and inaccurate messaging resulting in confused (and/or unimpressed) prospects. We made our job much more difficult than it had to be.

Today, when describing our service to a big pharma executive I simply say “we manage an industry consortium to collaboratively evaluate new technologies.” It was Winston Churchill who proclaimed, “all the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word.” In our case, this single word is consortium.

Here is a fun and entertaining presentation by David Pogue of the New York Times during TED 2006 ….his focus is on technology …but the message is similar .. simplicity sells!

Follow-up to Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation” held Thursday, April 23, 2009

April 27, 2009

The Marketing Studio hosted a webinar and expert panel entitled  “Utilizing Facebook for Small Business Lead Generation”  on Thursday, April 23, 2009 at 12 PM ET.   A sincere thank you to our panelists! View the slides here and  links to their Fan Pages below.  Visit the Marketing Studio’s new FB page here!

Rachel Levy, Rachel Levy Consulting on facebook

Susan Liddy, AspireLifeCoachng.org on facebook

Hasan Luongo, Hoodiepeople.com on facebook

Mike Volpe, HubSpot on facebook

Small Business Case Studies – Leveraging Twitter!

March 8, 2009

Over the past year, more and more businesses of all shapes and sizes, are investing time to explore what all the hype is behind “Twitter.”  What many have discovered is that this microblogging phenomenon presents a great opportunity for their companies.  I list below links to four great posts/case studies on how different types of business are successfully using Twitter as a tool to ultimately …make ….money!

Leveraging Twitter as a lead generation, customer service, or overall branding tool takes time; a precious and scarce resource when you are running your own small business.  Time and lack of expertise are barriers preventing most small businesses from successfully utilizing Twitter for lead generation and networking.  According to a recent Marketing Studio poll,  79% of small business owners avoid Twitter because of: lack of expertise, not enough time or insufficent understanding of how it can make an impact on their business (i.e. no proven ROI model). 

Well here is a quick public service message to small business owners: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance” (Derek Bok, former Harvard University president).  Bottom line is this: if you are not making an effort to learn more about Twitter, you may be costing your small business an incredible opportunity.  

eventbrite   I have the privilege of hosting a live webinar Wednesday, March 11 at 12 PM EST where four experts in social media will not only answer the question “what the heck is Twitter?” but also outline three real life examples on how companies are actually leveraging Twitter to grow their business.  Join us (it’s free).  Meanwhile as a prelude to our discussion on March 11, I list below four interesting case studies/stories.

case-studies4 Four Case Studies

Zoomdweebie’s Tea Bar How Twitter saved a small business in Wichita, KS.  Now they may relocate because they need bigger space!

CoffeeGroundz Cafe Blog post by @ericaogrady discussing how Twitter has changed the way they CoffeeGroundz Cafe in Houston, Texas conducts business.

The Big Guys A Business Week article outlining how some of the biggest companies in the world are using Twitter to communicate with their customers.

BBGeeks A great, must read on the trials, tribulations and “results” of a self proclaimed “Non-Big Brand.” 


usa_dream_team  During Marketing Studio’s March 11 webinar we will feature three additional real life examples of how people are leveraging Twitter to Grow Their Small Business.  Below is our “dream team” of panelists with links to their latest blog posts:

Aaron Strout, VP, Marketing, Powered

Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur

Kyle Flaherty, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint

Monica Valentinelli, Social Media Expert, Musicnotes.com


*** Register for the March 11 webinar here (registration is free) ***

Who Are You More Likely to Follow on Twitter?

March 2, 2009

(vote via Poll above — don’t be shy, just click on an open square)

arrowOn topic, view the full interview of Evan Willimas, Founder and CEO, Twitter on Charlie Rose via this VentureBeat blog post.

arrowMake sure you register for the upcoming webinar How to Leverage Twitter to Grow Your Small Business, March 12 @ 12 EST (60 minutes in duration).   The session is free!  Our expert panel includes:

 Aaron Strout, Chief Marketing Officer, Powered, Inc.
Blog: Citizen Marketer 2.1
Follow @AaronStrout  

Elliott Kosmicki, User Experience Manager, Musicnotes.com
Blog: Goodplum
@iElliott on |

Becky McCray, Small Town Entrepreneur
Blog: Small Biz Survival
Follow @BeckyMcCray

 Kyle Flarhety, Director of Marketing, BreakingPoint
Blog: Engage in PR
Follow @kyleflaherty  on

What We Will Cover
* What is Twitter and how does it fit in with other social media platforms?
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for your B2C small business
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your small business 
* Four steps to leveraging Twitter for partnerships that will grow your B2B small business 
* Good peeps to follow to get started or to grow!
* Summary and Q&A

Register for free.

Who should attend?  Owners and/or practitioners that are responsible for market their small business.  (For the purpose of this webinar, small businesses are loosely defined as businesses that generate less than $5M annually).  These may be lawyers, consultants, software vendors, accountants, insurance brokers, store owners, service providers, publishers, etc.

4 Things to Quick Start A Social Media Lead Generation Program – for Small Business Owners and Practitioners

February 3, 2009

geico-commerical   Quick commercial …join us for a complementary webinar and expert panel: Lead Generation Tactics for Resource Limited Small Businesses.  Register at:  http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com …I know, not as entertaining as GEICO commercial ….at any rate, latest post below.

 frustrated-at-computer  When I speak with small business owners about lead generation and social media, I am often asked one rhetorical question (usually in a very loud tone of voice): “How can I find the time!?”

There is no doubt that when you are small, and busy selling and delivering your services/products, its lead nourishment and pipeline generation that often gets ignored.  

 desk-with-pile-of-papers   This is simply a fact of life … a fact of the small business owner’s life. Everything takes time. Social media is no different, but before you say “I am too busy to get in involved in social media” take one weekend or a couple of weeknights away from the television to do the following four things:

1. Find 10 blogs or discussion forums that your market may have reason to read – Remember to think of it from a potential client point of view and not your own
Think broader than your business! For example:

* If you are a personal injury attorney with a focus on “slip and fall” injuries don’t look for blogs covering only legal issues and plaintiff’s rights, look for content around physical therapy, wellness, treatment, etc.
* If you are a web design firm, rather than focus on content specific to design, follow blogs that talk abut branding, e-marketing or lead generation.
* If you are a benefits consultant or talent recruiter, rather than focus on human resource issues, broaden the scope to small business strategy.

2. Join twitter_logo_s

“Leveraging Twitter to Grow Your Small Business” is a topic of our March webinar, and the topic of many, many other blog posts, some written by very knowledgeable and talented folks. Thus I will give you only a few tips to get started on twitter:

* use Twitter Packs to start following “packs” of people who may be your target market.
* use your first and last name as your username and if that is not available add an underscore, middle initial or choose first initial, last name (don’t use your company name)
* upload a photo of yourself, people without photos are viewed suspiciously (don’t ask, they just are)… twitter is casual, so your clothing in the photo should be as well; business casual.
* don’t start promoting … listen, watch, observe …this also can be a great way to finding those 10 blogs you need to follow …
* anytime you see anything of value provided by other people “tweet it” and give the source the proper credit
* Google “Twitter etiquette” and “Twitter best practices” and read up on more details on how to best leverage Twitter (topic for my March webinar)

3. Start your own blog. You don’t have to say anything intelligent, don’t even tell anyone about it …. yet!  Just go to http://www.wordpress.com, sign up and write a simple top 4 list …see how it works, how it feels. ..no commitment …..just a test drive.

4. Start logging your insights in a word document. Before you leave the desk each evening, ask yourself what are the things that came up at work today that others may find interesting or useful to their business? For example:

* I saw a great example of how Starbucks is building customer loyalty and spreading the Starbucks “virus” through Twitter
* I had further confirmation on how simple, inexpensive and valuable industry polls and surveys are for lead generation
* I learned of a great new tool called Blitztime that can help complement web-based, social media platforms.

Within a week you will have dozens of topics for potential blog posts. The challenge will be deciding which ones have the most immediate interest to your market.

one-big-dayIn summary, the above list should take no more than a day to complete. Your effort will result in a basic foundation for you, the busy entrepreneur and practitioner, to generate more leads and further build your brand by tapping into the “groundswell” that is social media.

Another good post on the topic is byRick Burnes at Hubspot.

Email me if I can help or if you have additional questions.

Update on Webinar: Lead Generation for Small Business

January 7, 2009

Thank you for all your input!   The Webinar and Panel is entitled:

Lead Generation for Small Business: Tactics to Drive an Inbound Marketing Strategy
February 11, 2009 at 8 PM EST (sixty minutes in duration)

Register (free) at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com



I summarize below the insights I have received into three buckets.  Any additional thoughts are welcome …feel free to forward along to other smart folks as well.  Thank you all again!   


bucket  I. Strategy

* Do you have a lead generation strategy?

* What lead generation tactics work best for your business?

* How can small companies be seen among the ever-widening pool of larger companies who are flooding into social media?

* What are the biggest barriers to executing a lead generation strategy?


bucket II. Resource Allocation and Prioritization

* Sharpening your market focus

* How do you overcome resource limitations that often challenge small companies?

* How do you find  time to execute marketing programs when you are busy “delivering”?

* Tying your marketing strategy to what you are best at doing

* Focusing on tactics/projects that are vital to your survival and/or prosperity

* Allocating resources to try something different

* Ensuring new tactics are aligned with your existing strategy
* What are the best lead generation tools (i.e. website, CRM, networking, SEO, etc)?


bucket III. Client Retention

* Gaining a clear perspective on your core customer segments: their pain points and how you provide value to them

* Retaining existing clients – ongoing communication and feedback gathering (i.e. customer surveys), understanding their ongoing needs

* How are companies nourishing relationships with existing clients?

* What tactics are you using to increase sales/billable hours from existing clients?


Remember, mark the calendar for Feb 11 at 8 PM EST ….we’ll try to address a subset of these issues through an expert panel (session will be free).


Register at: http://marketingstudio.eventbrite.com/


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