Putting the ‘Magic’ in Marketing at DMA2014
Earvin "Magic" Johnson's magnetic personality is something he begins cultivating when he wakes up at 4 a.m. each day. Speaking to direct marketers Monday at DMA2014 in San Diego, Johnson says he studies before every meeting in order to understand his audience and he's always "on time."
Those are just a couple of the habits the former LA Lakers basketball player credits with helping him succeed in business. Johnson, however, underplays just how much work he puts into those efforts. For instance, he started studying a week ago for the Direct Marketing Association's keynote. And by "on time," Johnson means he two hours early for his appointment to spout advice about ROI, retention and analytics between oodles of selfies.
"You have to over-deliver to your customer base," Johnson says.
Among the many examples he provides, he says knowing an urban customer base doesn't like scones but does like sweet potato pie and pound cake, while listening to Earth Wind and Fire, helps his Starbucks stores do well.
When he goes after new business, he learns about the company's core values, its vision and its 5-year history before submitting to any requests for proposals. (It's how he just got a contract to provide food to Drexel University, Johnson says.)
Even given all this preparation, Johnson advises marketers to never get too comfortable. He reinvented himself three times and they should consider it, too, because it leads to success. Also, never let anyone's discouraging words be an influence.
Speaking to a woman in the crowd who said her son, Alex, wants to be a racecar driver, but he's been told black boys don't race, Johnson recounted the number of ways he'd been told he couldn't accomplish what he wanted to accomplish. He was too tall to be a point guard. He was a "dumb athlete" who couldn't succeed in business. He wanted to invest in urban America and several banks and institutional investors turned him down.