One of the world’s leading sports marketers talks success, profit, and bad assumptions that can tank your product.

The Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine, as it became known, went to market in 1994, and with George Foreman leading the charge, went on to sell over one hundred million grills worldwide. The iconic infomercials we associate with the grill set the platform, and eventually created a revenue stream for Foreman that is estimated to be over two hundred million dollars, much more than he ever earned in boxing.

According to Dave Meltzer, the CEO of Sports 1 Marketing – one of the world’s leading sports & entertainment marketing agencies- the formula that made this particular sports product launch so successful is a sweet spot many miss.

A Strong Track Record

Meltzer co-founded Sports 1 Marketing with Hall of Fame Quarterback Warren Moon, but  prior to S1M, he was CEO of the world’s first smartphone company, and later became CEO of the world’s most notable sports agency, Leigh Steinberg Sports and Entertainment.  He is an award-winning humanitarian, an international keynote speaker, best-selling author, and with all of this under his belt, we knew Meltzer could give us the insights we were looking for on sports product marketing.

Meltzer, and his counterparts at Sports 1 Marketing spend their time bringing athletes, celebrities and businesses together to amplify their impact and profit. Their angle, when creating campaigns, is to rely on the credibility and emotional connection of potential customers, to their athletes or celebrities. As an example, let’s go back to the George Foreman Grill.

  1. Credibility: Foreman was known for his physique and he clearly ate. He was an athlete with celebrity power, but he also had something so many didn’t have: a powerful physique, which in and of itself is a major selling point. This type of multi-level credibility lent tremendously to the success of the grill.

  2. Emotional Connection: The more emotional connection, the bigger the impact that can be made, both in profit and in lives changed. People buy based on so many emotional elements, and understanding this buying process cannot be overlooked.

According to Shakespeare

During our videocast chat, Meltzer dropped in the famous Shakespearean quote, “The world is your stage” to really shine a light on how much room we have to grow and expand our products and campaigns if we have all of the right pieces in the right places. I always say hope isn’t a plan, and this is especially true when dealing with athletes and celebrities: status is a big piece of the pie, but it isn’t the only piece of the pie. This alone gives a foundation to entrepreneurs launching too- because status isn’t everything. An influencer with millions of followers just failed to sell thirty-six t-shirts, which reinforces our points above on credibility and emotional connection.

Profit First Mindset

Mindset is so important, because it truly is the foundation for everything you do and every decision you make. You’re constantly making decisions, every single day, and those decisions have a big impact on your business. Meltzer talked a lot about developing a profit first mindset and the importance of not being in love with your product, so you can focus on the profitability. His sequence looked something like this:

  1. Profitability

  2. Purpose

  3. Passion

Your product is about creating a margin, then distributing, amplifying, and perpetuating that in as many places as possible. The only way you can land in this kind of success is to prioritize in this order above.

Assumptions and Decision Making

Back to the decision making portion of your tasks, let’s talk about assumptions. A lot of times, what seems obvious in the present moment, is not the right decision. And one bad assumption can tank your business or product because those assumptions, along with our mindset, are the foundation for every decision we make. Life is just an accumulation of those decisions and assumptions, and of course our mindset, so Meltzer uses his platform with sports marketing to make people more aware of this underlying process. In my 25+ years of experience, I’ve found that inventors and entrepreneurs are the worst when it comes to assumptions because they get “on fire” about their idea, they love it so much, and they assume everyone else will share in their excitement. Seven out of ten products going into mass market fail, and poor assumptions contribute to over half of those failures.

Takeaways from my conversation with Meltzer were not only loaded with great information and insight, but also consistent with what I’ve experienced in the world of product launching. There needs to be this handful of key ingredients working together to create, not only the winning product, but the winning launch, team, and profit margins.

Read the original INC article published on June 4, 2019.

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