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Mayweather v Pacquiao; 3 Lessons for Marketers

Posted by andrew.mockridge | 12 May

If there is one thing that Mayweather does better than boxing, it's got to be making money. 

Rukkas estimates that Mayweather will take home $180MM for his performance after last Saturday. The estimate has since been adjusted to $250MM. To put this into perspective: "The Money" essentially got paid $1,220,000 for each of his 148 punches that landed during the fight. Of course that is flawed logic - Mayweather and Pacquiao could have put on an hour of Irish dancing without exchanging a single punch and not risk their paychecks - the money had already exchanged hands before either of them even stepped into the ring.

Unsurprisingly, many of us felt like we were watching two business men fight - truth be told, Mayweather and Pacquiao are business men first, boxers second. I cannot blame them. Both of them are walking away from "The Fight of the Century" with more money than the average NFL team makes in one entire season. Disappointing as it may have been for boxing enthusiasts, maybe we are all missing the point and we should really be admiring the beautiful performance the duo delivered outside of the ring prior to the fight. The numbers don't lie - with PPV sales estimated to be north of $5 million, Mayweather, Pacquiao and their PR companies certainly got a few things right in the weeks and months leading up to this major event.

As marketers, what exactly can we take away from the fight?

Whether our objective is selling professional services, luxury apparel, fried chicken or PPV tickets for a boxing match - we all compete in the same marketplace for attention and the wallets of our audience. Some fundamental principles apply regardless of the sector we specialize in. Below are three ideas that have power to help all of us understand how we can grow sales for our brand.

1. Get out of Obscurity

The number one reason why businesses, start-ups and product launches fail in this economy is because they never get out of obscurity. There is no exception to this rule - if people don't know your brand they won't buy it.

Mayweather knows how to get in front of people. There have been great boxers before Floyd Mayweather came around. "Sugar" Shane Mosley had a 39 wining streak at his peak in 2001 but he never made it onto Justin Bieber's instagram feed. Obscurity VS. Prosperity: Gulfstream not included, Floyd's car collection came with a price tag north of $8.5MM. "Sugar" might still be paying off his mortgage. Whoever can get the most eyeballs to follow his actions, whoever can get the most attention will not fail to grab his share of the market.
As a marketer, getting the attention of your audience should always be #1 priority.

2. Create a Sense of Urgency

The most successful companies know that the status quo is their hardest competition and create a strong sense of urgency in response. This is not about pressuring customers to make rash decisions. Quite the opposite. It is vital to build trust and give prospects sufficient opportunities to familiarize themselves with your product first.

Mayweather has immense credibility, a flawless track record and a reputation of being the best in his business, yet it is a widespread phenomenon among consumers to not part with their money unless there are strong emotional as well as logical reasons to make a timely decision.
Without tapping into the boxing fans' fear of missing out, Mayweather and Pacquiao could never have sold PPV tickets in sufficient quantities and at prices high enough to establish this earth shattering record in sales in the world of boxing. MayPac have done a tremendous job at positioning the bout as a once-in-a-lifetime occasion by billing the event as "The Fight of the Century" from the get go.

Outside of boxing - Be it via flash sales, product innovation or limited time premium offers - there is an abundance of tools to communicate to consumers that they cannot keep delaying their decision continuously. As marketers, we can all be more successful by bolstering our prospects' trust in their own ability to make sound decisions. Secondly it is vital to communicate that there is no benefit in hesitation once you have all the facts.

3. Protect Your Brand

One week the press loves Mayweather, another week they hate him, both weeks he gets paid. Mayweather's temperament, lavish lifestyle and even scandals have had little if any negative impact on his career.

Mayweather has a firm belief in being the best in the game. Whether or not people agree with the rankings or the judges’ scorecards is irrelevant. The true measure of his success is not his streak of 48 wins, but his ability to consistently attract people that are willing to pay more to see him than anybody else. I would argue that Mayweather's success in establishing himself as a brand stems primarily from creating a persona that stands out like a sore thumb in the boxing game and secondly staying so true to his reputation to the extent that it is perceived as authentic.

Talk about putting your money where your mouth is, Mayweather's $25,000 mouthguards contain gold flakes, diamond dust and $100 bills.

Building a brand in the CPG space for example, may not require that the company mascot gets audacious in arguments or drives expensive cars. Regardless of the sector however, every brand needs at least one and ideally several defining attributes that immediately jump to mind to justify premium prices. This is less about actual product benefits than it is about being recognizable in a marketplace where buyers are overwhelmed with choice. Geico is known for hilarious commercials and Dove has established a reputation for provoking dialogues about the definition of ‘real beauty’. These brand character traits can have very little if anything to do with the actual product features.

The most successful brands have extended their reach beyond mere consumption of their products and are actively involved in shaping what consumers do in their private lives.

*Rukkas Infographic

By Conrad Greiner