How to be the LeBron James of your marketing team

Thu Oct 08 2020
Terilyn Walker

King James? The Goat? The Chosen One? Whatever you call him, you can’t deny the fact that LeBron James will go down in history as one of the NBA’s greatest players ever.

Why? He can guard all five positions, he either leads his team or is top 5 in every major statistical category, and he will  do whatever it takes to get his team to the finish line. in other words, he’s really good at his job.

Much like basketball, marketing is a team sport. The best marketing teams act as one, cross-functional unit with the social, PR, digital, and brand teams all working together to reach a common goal. But instead of aiming for the net, you may be aiming for sky-high ROI.

So, in honor of James’ 10th appearance in the NBA finals, here’s how you can become your marketing team’s MVP. 

Put your teammates in a position to score

While James’ dunks, steals, and three-pointers are impressive, LeBron’s ability to assist his teammates and be a team player is just as important. In the first 2 playoff games, LeBron scored 58 points. But more impressively, he created 52 more points through assists. 

Marketing is a team sport, and the best marketing teams work together. To empower your teammates to be better at their jobs, think of the one thing that all marketers need more of. 

Content!

Your team’s social media manager might just be the unsung hero of the marketing team. They hold the keys to a stockpile of community-generated content that you can repurpose across all of your marketing channels. And since most of community-generated content is a byproduct of influencer campaigns, it’s already owned and paid for.

 So, ask your digital, email, and performance teams what type of content they need, and leverage your community to make their dream a reality.

Take a risk 

Because who doesn’t love wearing shorts with their suit?

LeBron has been known to task risks on and off the court. Though the media has questioned his fashion choices, Lebron sports his fits like a true boss. 

In order to take your brand to a whole new level, you need to take risks. This could mean testing a new marketing campaign, new content aesthetic, or new strategy. Sometimes the biggest risks have the biggest rewards. 

For example, Wolverine, a footwear brand that specializes in work boots, typically partnered with real construction workers, celebrities, and male influencers. The brand’s marketing manager decided to take a risk and partner with a new market of influencer after they discovered that men in the trade often don’t do their own apparel shopping – women. The team identified female bloggers whose husbands are construction workers, plumbers, or others in need of Wolverine shoes. Working with this new profile of influencer allowed the team to position their product in a new angle and reach a new market of consumers. 

Stand for something

Since 2013, Lebron has traditionally stopped posting on Twitter and Instagram on break that he calls “Zero-Dark Thirty 23 Mode”. However, with all of the social unrest in 2020, LeBron has done away with his social media hiatus and used his platform to be more vocal than ever about the Black Lives Matter movement, social justice, and the importance of voting in the 2020 election.

Everyone loves a good cause. Use social media to promote yours. Philanthropy will increase engagement, spread awareness, and ultimately aid in making their world a better place.

Take Love Your Melon,  a beanie company that donates 50% of their proceeds to pediatric cancer research. Because the brand is loud and proud of it’s cause, it was able to partner with 250 influencers in one month based on free products alone, creating millions of impressions. The brand’s network of influencers support its cause and spreads the message to a wider audience.

Crush your competition

LeBron is no stranger to a little smack talk on the court. I know I’m not the only one who rewinds playoff games just to read the lips of the players’ sometimes heated interactions. 

A little friendly competition never hurt anyone. For example, Wendy’s is notoriously known for its viral Twitter clap-backs that poke fun at other fast food chains. Not only is the back-and-forth banter between competing brands entertaining, it increases engagement online and boosts brand affinity. 

Silent competition more on-brand? Give yourself a competitive edge by investing in your community to build an unbreakable loyal following.

Be a fan of your fans

James is highly regarded as  the king and he isn’t afraid to say it. However, he doesn’t let his legendary status go to his head. LeBronis an avid fan of his fans and shows it — by giving away his shoes after games, building houses and a school in his hometown, and even just responding to fan tweets.

The best thing you can do for your marketing team is to emphasize the importance of putting the needs of the consumers first. In other words, become customer-obsessed. That means seeking out and implementing product feedback, talking with your customers, not at them and overall making them feel like valued partners.. Because it isn’t us marketers who shape our brands, it’s the people who support it.

Businesses rely on their community for product feedback, content, growth, retention, and in-person advocacy. By investing back into the people who love you most, you can dramatically impact your company’s bottom line through improved retention, higher product quality, and more dramatic growth.

Need help getting your MVP status? Contact one of AspireIQ’s experts today.