Monday, February 20, 2012

Ice To The Eskimos: How To Market A Product Nobody Wants By Jon Spoelstra

Ice to the Eskimos: How to Market a Product Nobody Wants

Ice To The Eskimos: How To Market A Product Nobody Wants By Jon Spoelstra

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Product Description

That's Right. YOU.
You've got a problem.
You've got a product that's not first in its class.
It's not even second.
You've got to find a way to market that product.

What Are You Going To Do?

You're going to read this book, that's what.

Let's face it. There comes a time in the life of every business when a product or service does not sell up to expectations.

Maybe your product is outmoded. Or hasn't been positioned correctly. Or is competing in a crowded market. Whatever the reason, Ice to the Eskimos is dedicated to helping you reclaim that lost ground. It's about taking a product or service and turning it into a winner. If you've got a product that is not the best in its field, then you will love Ice to the Eskimos. Take the principles Jon Spoelstra writes about and run hard with them—you'll be amazed by the results.

Written by the former president of the hapless New Jersey Nets, Jon Spoelstra is the man responsible for tripling that team's lagging revenues in just three years and increasing the season-ticket holders base by 250 percent. This guy knows what he's talking about. What everyone else had seen as a lost cause, Spoelstra saw as an outstanding opportunity to reawaken a tired and beaten product to achieve unprecedented profitability.

Not just for sports marketers, this lively, entertaining book successfully makes the jump from sports to whatever your product may be. The techniques Spoelstra perfected while working for teams in the NHL and NBA—from innovative packaging to image overhaul—apply to any product in any company. The numerous winning examples are sure to make Ice to the Eskimos a must-read for anyone with a product or service to sell.

Ice to the Eskimos is sure to be an instant marketing classic. It will show millions of readers how to market their product...sometimes even after they've given up hope. By using the powerful techniques in this book, you too can learn to achieve the impossible and market ice to the Eskimos.

Product Details
  • Amazon Sales Rank: #225770 in Books
  • Published on: 1997-05-09
  • Released on: 1997-05-09
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 1.06" h x 5.75" w x 8.51" l, .82 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 288 pages
Editorial Reviews Review
Lessons drawn from the world of sports have long proven applicable to the world of business. Jon Spoelstra, who pushed sponsorship and fan revenue to unprecedented heights for the lowly New Jersey Nets basketball franchise, shows how to put big-league marketing expertise to use off the court in Ice to the Eskimos: How To Market a Product Nobody Wants. His 19 "jump-start ground rules," sprinkled liberally with sports anecdotes, are designed to apply to any product or service.

"A superb book. I couldn't put it down. I kept quoting it to everyone I ran into. Spoelstra knows his stuff and has a proven, no-baloney message for all of us." -- Tom Peters, author of In Search of Excellence

"Spoelstra has a very creative marketing mind. Everyone can learn something from reading his book." -- Philip H. Knight, chairman and CEO, Nike

"There are so many fresh marketing ideas...that it will jump-start any company, whether it be a two-person lemonade stand or mega corporation." -- Harvey Mackay, author of Swim with the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

From the Publisher
The New Jersey Nets ranked 27th in a universe of 27 teams; their gate receipts were the lowest in the NBA; and the hometown fans, if they came to games at all, were as likely to root for the visitors as for the Nets. They couldn't get Michael Jordan or Shaquille O'Neal. So the Nets drafted Jon Spoelstra. And things at the Meadowlands Arena suddenly started to look up.

Jon Spoelstra, the top-rated marketer of professional sports teams today, reveals how he jump-started the Nets in Ice to the Eskimos: How to Successfully Market a Product Nobody Wants (HarperBusiness; June 18, 1997). His savvy marketing techniques increased attendance, corporate sponsorship, and the team's profits. Now, outlined in Spoelstra's book, they offer hope and solid help to anyone who has to sell a less-than-ideal product in less-than-ideal circumstances.

Faced with a product that had more negative than positive attributes - the Nets played terribly, the team members were hardly charismatic, and the ready-made market of geographic identity most teams enjoy had been pre-empted by the New York Knicks, just six miles away in Manhattan - Spoelstra took a radical approach. He not only eschewed marketing the Nets as a traditional home-town team, he shaped his initial campaign around their opponents. At the chronically undersold Meadowlands, it was easy to get tickets to see Michael Jordan, Shaq, Charles Barkley, and Patrick Ewing, and Spoelstra lost no time in trumpeting that fact. One other touch completed Spoelstra's master plan. In counterpoint to the fat-cat corporate atmosphere of Knicks' games at Madison Square Garden, he positioned Nets basketball as family entertainment and focused his marketing efforts on reaching the people, the "neighborhood" fans and their families while soliciting corporate sponsorship from carefully targeted local companies.

Like most marketers, Spoelstra could not improve the product itself, so he concentrated on what he knew best: creative marketing. Guided by two Golden Rules - "Only try to sell a product that the customer wants to buy" and "Try to sell the customer just a little bit more than what they want to buy" - he introduced innovations that resonated from the ticket-sales office to the once-sacrosanct ivory tower of top management. As he recounts his successes - in his four-and-a-half years with the Nets, only one of Spoelstra's ideas was rejected by the owners - he presents simple ground rules any business can adopt and provides helpful hints on carrying them out, including:

Use the "quick-fix silver bullet" approach. Increase the frequency of purchase by your own customers by approaching them on a one-to-one basis and addressing them with friendly, personalized messages rather than with costly brochures and overblown hype.

Keep up with the day-to-day details of sales. As president of the Nets, Spoelstra not only kept a close eye on sponsorship sales, the team's biggest source of income, he had face-to-face approval meetings for the hiring of every ticket-sales person, held annual "ticket sales boot camps" to re-enforce sales fundamentals, and attended twice-a-week sales meetings.

Make innovation a way of life and pay people for their mistakes. Most breakthrough ideas are born in the free exchange of suggestions for improving standard practices. By rewarding sales and marketing people even for ideas that may eventually fail, a company encourages better suggestions - and better chances for a plan, large or small, that will increase revenue.

Turn your client into a hero. In a whole new spin on the concept of selling, the people in charge of corporate sponsorship sales for the Nets provided an annual report for their clients (and their clients' bosses) that proved just how successful the sponsorship was.

Find out what the problem is and help fix it. This simple sentence comprises Spoelstra's ten-second policy manual, his essential rule for keeping the customers who make the greatest impact on the bottom line.

For Spoelstra, jump-start marketing requires the involvement and commitment of high ranking executives. He urges top management to abandon their ivory towers, give up their perks, meet their customers face-to-face, buy their own products or services and even answer their own phones. Ice to the Eskimos proves just how much fun - and how profitable - Spoelstra's hands-on, innovative methods can be.


Widely acknowledged to be the best pro-sports marketer in the country, Jon Spoelstra spent eleven years as the general manager of the Portland Trail Blazers before he became president of the New Jersey Nets. He is currently the president of SRO Partners, a sports marketing consulting firm. He lives with his wife in Portland, Oregon.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful.
5Ice to the Eskimos
By A Customer
I run a small company with almost 100 employees. My background is finance so you can think of my surprise when I received this book as a gift. I've always thought that marketing was part voodoo and part bull. But, I decided to read just one chapter of this book. That led to another chapter, then another. Then I started to SEE and UNDERSTAND marketing. We initiated some of Spoelstra's ideas to fit our company and we received almost immediate big results. I see... Spoelstra has another book coming out next year. I personally will try to be the first one to buy it.

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
5Superchage your marketing campaign!
By Adam F. Jewell
Eskimos have all the ice they need and presumably don't perceive the need to get any more, let alone buy it. Joe Spoelestra illustrates how to take that ice and turn it into something desirable (a Slurpee) for example, or bundle it with something that makes it desirable - a sled and a lift to create an experience to sell.

Joe details his experiences, primarily in sports marketing. They are especially applicable to those in the entertainment and service industries but can be applied in virtually any industry. The book is full of new ideas, fresh insights, and ways to repackage that which nobody wants in such a way as to change the customers' perception of value and create a compelling value proposition.

The book is much better than this review. :-) Pick it up, read it, enjoy it and act on it. "Ice to the Eskimos" will give you fast easy ideas that can be used to jump start your business!

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful.
5How to market products that nobody wants
By John C. Dunbar
The author starts with damaged goods, typically a sports franchise that is not winning. He then applies great thinking and action to turn around their sales.

The author tells you lots of stories of his successes and then describes the techniques that he used. There's lots of practical advice here.

He has just released another book, "Market Outrageously", in 2001. I have just finished reading the new one, and read this older one when it came out about 3 years ago. In some ways this older, original book has more material. However, the newer book adds to this information and has enough new material to make the purchase worthwhile. If you are a marketing professional, or a business owner, you should buy both.

Or, buy the newer book first, then if you like the style and information, then buy this older book to supplement the first.

You can also see my review comments for "Marketing Outrageously" in that book's review section.

Both books are fun and easy to read. In both books you'll be totally absorbed in the material.

The author has strong opinions and has produced strong results. So I rank this book as "highly recommended."

John Dunbar


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