LeBron James has earned the nickname “King James” for his consistent performance – he’s also set several youngest player records since joining the NBA. Over his relatively short professional career (he’s only been playing professionally since 2003), he’s already earned 25 awards. And, surprisingly, you can learn a lot about marketing from him!
Create a Message for Your Audience
James left the Cleveland team that he had been playing on since 2003 in mid-2010, after a very publicized courting from several different teams. He announced the move during an hour-long ESPN special that many argued was tactless and excessively ego-based, and a large portion of his fans viewed it as a brutal betrayal. However, it’s arguable that at least some of his choice came down to recruiting blunders from Cleveland, which other teams (namely, Miami, the team that he chose) didn’t make. Miami structured their recruitment pitch differently than Cleveland did, and got the results they wanted.
This applies in business because advertising and marketing is often done based on what the business owner thinks their customers or potential customers want or need, rather than what their customers or potential customers actually want or need. This results in a lot of wasted time, effort, and money, and an ineffective marketing campaign, to boot. This is part of why surveys are so incredibly valuable – if you can find out, from your potential customers and in their words, what they want to see from you, you can then create your products, services, and marketing around that.
Another aspect of this is that you should constantly be testing the way your site and sales page functions and using split-testing to see how certain changes affect the conversion rates. Always question your assumptions and test them before jumping to any conclusions.
These tactics make your products and services much more appealing to your customers, and will boost your conversion rates. They take some extra effort at every step of the sales and marketing processes, but they’re well worth it.
Keep Your Cool
Shortly after James’ departure from the Cleveland team was announced, the Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert sent James a scathing email, calling him “narcissistic“, “cowardly“, and accusing him of “quitting” on the team during playoffs season.
Some would say that the email was deserved, but whether it was deserved or not is entirely besides the point. By acting in such an unprofessional manner, Gilbert may have made himself feel better temporarily but seriously damaged things in the long run – do you think many free agent players want to sign to Cleveland after hearing about that? No, probably not. Acting in such a way makes it hard to believe that the Cleveland team would treat other player professionally in the future.
When you disagree with someone, if you must disagree in public, do so tactfully. Throwing a hissy fit isn’t a good look on anyone, especially not adult professionals. By acting with professionalism and tact, you’ll gain far more respect than you would have otherwise, which is obviously much better for business than the sheer drama and attention gained from acting wildly unprofessional.
Build Suspense & Control Your Message
LeBron made it known that he wasn’t going to speak about his plans until after the season was over, and that when he did announce his decision, it was going to be on his terms. And then he followed through with that. Not only did he have perfect control over the message, but his fans and the media were chomping at the bit to find out what he had to say.
You can use this to great success during launches, to make people absolutely crazy to see what you’ll put out next. Building suspense during your launch helps to build buzz and word of mouth, too, which will ultimately lead to a more successful launch – and, in turn, a more successful business.