What Marketers Can Learn From LeBron James: It’s the Total Offer

Actionable Marketing 101

NBA free agent, LeBron James, generated a unprecedented amount of fan and media attention from his recent announcement of his future team. While this move was carefully orchestrated to maximize attention, the marketing lesson has more to do with his choice of team. Contrary to statements by Cleveland Cavaliers owner, Dan Gilbert, it wasn’t just about the money. It was about the offer.

Joining the Miami Heat provides LeBron with the ability to play with his buddies Dwyane Wade and Chris Bos, rather than being the lone superstar. As part of an overall stronger team, he has the potential to win a championship title and the accolades that go with it. Additionally, he will work with the well-respected basketball executive and former coach, Pat Riley, who can help ensure that three strong players work together productively. Lastly, he gets to live in Miami where the winter weather is better than Cleveland and where there’s no state income tax.

25 Offer-related marketing questions

Like Dan Gilbert, many marketers focus strictly on the price of their product overlooking the fact that there’s more to your offer. Don’t get me wrong, price is important, but it’s just not everything. Here are twenty-five questions to answer regarding your offer organized around marketing’s 4 Ps:


  1. What else do consumers get when they buy your product? This includes the bundling of related products as well as intangibles.
  2. Do your consumers consider your product to have close competitors or substitute products?
  3. Is the product a high involvement or major purchase where consumers may be willing to pay more to ensure its performance over the lifetime of the product?
  4. Does the product require installation? If so, is it included?
  5. Where and how is the product made? Does this matter to your target market? For example, is the product hand made?
  6. What is the quality of the product?
  7. Are other considerations about the product and its ingredients important to consumers? For example, being green.
  8. Does the owner need training or support to use the product? Is this included in the price or a separate expense for the consumer?
  9. Does the product require alteration? Is this an added cost or included in the price?
  10. Does the product enhance the consumer’s image?


  1. How is your product priced relative to its perceived value? Too high or too low can result in consumers feeling that there is an inconsistency.
  2. Does your price include shipping and handling? This can be a big factor for many online buyers.
  3. How frequently is the product purchased? This may affect how much consumers are willing to pay?
  4. When is the product being purchased? Is it before the season starts? After the season when merchants are liquidating inventory?
  5. Do you offer other payment options such as layaway?
  6. How does your price compare to your competitors and close substitutes?


  1. Where is the product sold? Does the retailer’s brand enhance or detract from the product?
  2. What does your brand stand for? Do your prospects, customers and fans want to be associated with it?
  3. Does brand matter for your product? For example, a branded article of clothing or a pocketbook may provide added status that may make the product worth the cost, while the store brand of tomatoes may not.
  4. How do past customers feel about your product and its competitors? Do they share their opinions widely on various social media and ratings sites?
  5. How available is your product on social media platforms?


  1. Where is the product purchased-Retail, online, phone?
  2. How widely available is your product? Does this influence consumer purchasing?
  3. Does the purchase location add value to the buying process such as personal shopping services or other forms of special treatment like beverages?
  4. Do you make available customer service/support or other additional services that enhance the shopping experience?

Just as one amazing player doesn’t make a basketball team, the same holds for your offer.  Every component of your offer influences the consumer’s buying decision. It’s the entire package that attracts your customers, not just one piece of it.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Photo credit: Fazen via Flickr

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