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CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy

Book Review
Ice To The Eskimos-How to Market a Product Nobody Wants

By Joe Spoelstra HarperBusiness,New York,1997,ISBN 0-88730-851-1 Reviewed by Anebella


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy 1. Book review on Ice to the Eskimos 2. My thought 3. Application 3.1 Areas in Marketing Strategy 3.2 Fluidra Malaysia Sdn Bhd 4. References

Book Review

Ice To The Eskimos-How to Market a Product Nobody Wants


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy By Joe Spoelstra HarperBusiness,New York,1997,ISBN 0-88730-851-1 1. Review Are you struggling to market your product and why is that? This could be due to outmoded product, product has not been positioned correctly, late entry into the particular market or you are competing in a crowded market. Ice to the Eskimos can help any organizations to reclaim their lost ground. Written by the former president of New Jersey Nets, Jon Spoelstra is the man responsible for turning Nets who is known as a bad product into a business success. Spoelstra had spent more than twenty years as an executive in NBA and had successfully turn crappy teams around off the court even when the teams still performed at their worst on the court. Spoelstra is considered to be one of the best at finding and identifying ways to market all types of products. In Ice to the Eskimos, Spoelstra presents the approach to marketing a product that nobody wants which he called jump-start marketing. Spoelstras basic principle of jump start marketing is to repositioning, reconfiguring or reshaping the product that nobody wants and make it into something that buyer cannot refuse. In this book, Spoelstra listed out the 19 ground rules in how to execute jump start marketing and using his experience in sport marketing as examples. He focuses on both internal factors such as dealing with human resources requirements and companys focus, as well as external factors such as competition and fans. The purpose of this book is to share how these concepts apply to any businesses. The most popular method used by many companies to jump start a company is by laying down employees and according to Spoelstra, this will certainly make the bottom line

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy looks better for short term. This action is just causing a delay in doing the actual thing which is, to jump start a company through marketing. Spoelstras main task was to identify and successfully breaking a market which success was inevitable and resulted in increased market share. Zooming into ground rule number 2: dont fool yourself into thinking youre somebody else, Spoelstra actually show us that companies need to accept the limitation of their products or services and start building from there. He mentioned that marketers of unsuccessful products are easily lured to marketing a market or market segment where they cannot win. Marketers are easily lured because they deny and refuse to accept the limitation and weaknesses of their products. A companies needs to think out of the box and the team needs to be highly motivated to try new things to reposition its product or service. Instead of luring people from Manhattan to come to Northern New Jersey for The Nets games as requested by the New Jersey Nets owners, Spoelstra and his team focused on luring the hometown people to the games by marketing the opponents. They did this because they know that this tactic will attract people who wanted to see the stars of NBA. This decision was done after identifying the factors such as having competitive team, hometown support and hope of a competitive team can be marketed to New Jersey Nets fans. Choosing Northern New Jersey as a market to focus on shows that, Spoelstra and his team had identified the market where they can win. Spoelstra foresees that Northern New Jersey with large population has high potential for sales if the plan is successful. Knowing and admitting that they cannot focus on selling season tickets to big corporations in New Jersey, they choose to focus on positioning the Nets games as family entertainment and emphasizing on fan friendly and family friendly environment. This was the first step taken by Spoelstra for the Nets to gain market share. Spoelstra introduces a process he called Quick Fix Silver Bullet as ground rule number 3. Spoelstra utilized database information for the execution of the quick fix silver

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy bullet method and this the quickest and least expensive way to achieved results. Database is a very important element for implementation of quick fix silver bullet because it consists of all the people that have interest in your product or service and very useful for market segmentation. Database information is used to identify active customers by determine frequency of purchases, the quantity purchase and method of payment. Spoelstra highlights that increasing the frequency of purchases by customers and using personal selling on one to one basis to get customer to purchase more are the keys to quick fix. This personable approach is frequently used by marketers and has proven to be valuable. Database is also useful for a company to focus on recovering business from the old and inactive customers. Database needs to be continuously updated in order to keep tracks on the people who are interested in your product and by having updated database, you can use the quick fix silver bullet all the time. A company needs to look into ways on how to increase and reposition the product in order to increase the frequency of purchases by the target group. In ground rule number 4: Get the name and address of the end user of your product, Spoelstra obtained the names and address of the Nets season ticket holders in order to reach to the satisfied customer. As manufacturer, a company should not fully rely on agents or dealer to maximize sales for the same customer. Company needs to work together with agent or dealers in ensuring the satisfied customers to increase the frequency of purchases. They can work together in applying the quick fix silver bullet program. By colleting the end users information, instead of sending colorful brochures to every household in New Jersey, Spoelstra and his team would gain higher return with less investment by contacting the appropriate target market. While creating and producing an advertising campaign, it is very important for a company to be able to reach the target customers. Top management should not be excluded in rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty when it comes to expanding and developing new business. Spoelstra emphasizes

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy in ground rule number 5:The Janitor isnt going to lead the charge for new customers that, a company cannot wait for innovation to bail them out but indeed needs a total and real commitment in getting new business. Getting new business is very tough and Spoelstra believes that in order for the marketing plan to obtain its momentum, the commitment must starts from the top. Top management should learn how to fit into new business effort. Employees will see the involvement and commitment from the top as motivator and that will drive them to get more new business. From new customer point of views, they see the top management involvement means the company valued its customers. Sometimes company needs to spend money in unconventional ways in order to execute its marketing plan. In this book, Spoelstra highlights to readers that it is very important for the managers to know all the components of sales and marketing such as the sponsors, the players, the facilities and also the ticketbox. Spoelsta took the opportunity to make changes in the organization by incorporating few ground rules of jump start using ground rule number 6: Create big change with little experiment. People do not like and fear changes. Changes will make employees stop thinking and be innovative. Instead of using the word change, he used the word experiment in order to create the culture of living change. Employees are very reluctant in giving opinions or suggestion when asked because they are worried that they will be blamed if the suggestions failed. In order to push a product that nobody wants, lots of ideas are needed to market the product. Spoelstra created think tank session and encourage employees to give suggestions by paying bonuses for mistakes. He believed that once they living change, those suggestions will lead to breakthrough ideas. Spoelstra is trying to share with readers his belief that people will try to be more creative and innovative in giving suggestion if you do not shoot their ideas down and rewards them for mistakes.

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy Innovative marketing is the word used by Spoelstra to describe ground rules number 7: Dont wait for a new product to bail you out-use innovative marketing now. Spoelstra encourages continues innovation but disagreed that a company should wait and rely on new product to boost revenue. He identifies that innovation is very important for marketing and introduces innovative marketing based on threes rules. The first rule is to find a better way to market the product that is already exist. Second rule is to define a marketing area where the selling of the product has chance to success and last rule is creating strategy in a defined area that was identify in the second rule. Using ground rule number 7, Spoelstra is actually marketing the same old product with different packaging. Sometimes repackaging is necessary in marketing in order to capture the customers and make them believe that the product had been improved. Most of the time, getting an approval for idea from a boss is difficult. Based on ground rule number 8: To get your ideas approve by the boss, prepare as if you were defending yourself in front of the supreme court, Spoelstra explained why ideas are rejected and how to convince a boss to except your idea. He mentioned that most bosses will not respond well to employees ideas because employees failed to make real preparation in order to defense their ideas. Spoelstra practiced this ground rule and he started by creating a terrorist groups for innovation to formulate new ideas that can be presented to the owner. The ideas need to be well thought and must be supported with facts. As an example, he made preparation to present and obtain approval for the idea of introducing a nickname for New Jersey Nets. He did face challenges in the process of creating his terrorist groups for innovation and preparation but, he believes that when you are well prepared, it will be easier for the idea to get approved. Unfortunately for him, his idea to give New Jersey Nets a nickname Swamp Dragon was unsuccessful because one out of seven owners disagreed. Based on his experience, Spoelstra concluded that victories are based on human nature.

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy In this book, Spoelstra discussed about the marketing golden rule he created when he was with New Jersey Nets. He listed this as ground rule number 9:Only sell a product that the customer wants to buy and the golden rule has two parts, which is only try to sell a product that customers want to buy, and find a way to sell the customers just a little bit more than they want to buy. Dive deeper and readers can see that this golden rule is boiling down to customer satisfaction. This strategy to ensure the fans of New Jersey Nets will come back and buy more for the next season. Selling what customer wants means sometime you need to repackage or customize your product. In order to avoid losing customers who cannot afford to renew season tickets, Spoelstra introduced down selling option that offers mini packages. This moved continue to keep the revenue stream flowing and open. Spoelstra highlights the benefits of jump start golden rules: an increase in customer satisfaction, increase in sales and higher worker motivation. In this chapter, Spoelstra proposes two options on how to handle a hot selling product. The best option is to produce more of the demanded products unfortunately, in some cases such as for New Jersey Nets game for example, this option is impossible to be done. If the Net game is sold out, it is sold out and no more people can be shoe-horned into the arena. The second option is built a waiting list for the potential customer and this is applicable to products that can be produced within a reasonable time frame. People in a waiting list will not be waiting forever, if theres other opportunity coming up they will buy somewhere else. If both options do not work out, Spoelstra suggests a mediocre option: try to sell the second best product. By providing options for customers, it creates a win-win situation for both customer and company. By offering more options, the company is being flexible by allowing customer to choose what they can afford. Customer is satisfied because he or she gets what he or she wants and most of the time, the satisfied customers will keep coming back. This is one way a company can retain and having loyal customers.

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy It is very important for owner or manager of business to go down to the field in order to understand the day to day operation. In ground rule number 10: Get the feel for jump start marketing outside the Ivory Tower, Spoelstra is focusing on the idea of getting first hand feedback from customers by owners or managers. It is very important for owners/managers to get to the front line with customers and experiencing the product from the customer perspectives. In this book, Spoelstra the readers that he did get out of the owners suite and sit at the cheap seat during some games. By seating with the fans, he got to listen and experienced the fans reactions. He strongly believes that this action is very important. This will enable the companies to understand where their products can gain advantage and giving them ideas on how to do product reposition. By observing first-hand, companies can minimize or even save cost on expensive research by getting to know their product, customers and experience on their own. Spoelstra presented many examples of marketing to a segment of one in this book and he explained it under ground rule number 11: Only target people who are interested in your product. Spoelstra looking seriously into the cost to revenue ratio before establishing advertising campaign, because this will measure the revenue resulting from a dollar spent on the advertising. The efforts on advertising should be focus on one market segment which Spoelstra identified as the people who are interested in your product. The reason of focusing on one segment is to ensure that the message trying to be delivered is efficient and accurate. Using the Nets as an example, they were focusing on selling to their current customers and at the same time offered incentive to buying more tickets. Many companies rely fully on research to market their products but not for Spoelstra, he does not fully believe in research as he mentioned ground rule number 12:Dont let research make decision for you. In this section he is trying to tell readers that research cannot be applied to everything. He mentioned that research can be invalid when researchers

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy approach the wrong group for example, researchers ask for opinion of people who did not go to any Blazer games. Companies need to know the type of data they need and the purpose of the research before start spending the money to execute it. Free research can be done by talking to your customer one-on one and this type of research will fool proof. Research can be useful in certain areas such as getting loan, getting investors, selling goods and product development. By making your big client a hero, he or she will be your friend for another year. This is ground rule number 13 and it emphasized on making your biggest client (in this book, it was the person that responsible on purchasing season ticket for large organizations) to look like a hero in the eyes of his or her superior. In this book, Spoelstra shows to readers the action taken to make these people become heroes. By making them heroes, they fell attached to the product. They have the potential to come back next year and this could be potential revenue in the coming year. Looking into ground rule number 14: Run interference for your budding superstar, Spoelstra mentioned that the people who share passion and talent for jump start marketing are very invaluable. He proposes for these people to be retained, nurtured and encourage within the company. These are the people that will continue the legacy of jump start marketing in an organization and contribute to the revenue. As mentioned in the earlier part, the purpose of this book is to share the principles on how to sell a product that nobody wants and in this section, Spoelstra is very convincing in stating that ground rule number 15: Make it too good of a deal on purpose, is a fundamental point. He kept emphasizing that companies must find a ways to reformulating and repositioning their products or services to make them too good to be refused by customers. An effective marketing plan consists of management technique, focusing on current customers and the utilization of employees. However, there are other factors that need to be


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy taken into account such as pricing. When talking about price, it is always related to quality and value. If the product does not have the balance of the two elements, customer will not be interested in buying the product. In this book, Spoelstra shares with readers how he created a deal that the fans cannot refuse. One of the way how New Jersey Nets implementing this rule is by creating an interesting package that includes barbeque family dinner and drinks with the games. The New Jersey Nets managed to sell the tickets by thousands with this packaging. From the example used, Spoelstra shown that without highlighting or emphasizing the core product (the quality of the team), this approach managed to reposition and augment the product in its place. Based on ground rules number 16: Feel free to butt in to other department, jump start marketing does not only focus to marketing or sales department solely. By now, readers should be aware that jump start marketing involves reformulating of product or service and it will also impacting various departments. Some people that are involves in the process may have problems and they need help, and this is where you can utilize ground rule number 14. It is not easy to get new customers to purchase your product but it is very east to lose customers. The jump start marketing will get new customers but it will not be able to provide a company with full effects if you keep losing customer at the same time. The idea here is not to get new business to replace the business that is gone. In ground rule number 17: Differentiate between big and little customers, Spoelstra highlighted that many companies fail to identify their biggest customers and suggests the reason for this is because the companies failed to differentiate between the big and small customers. They treated all their customers with the same service level. In Spoelstra opinion, the largest company accounts should deserve more time and attention compares to small companies to ensure that they do not slip away. Losing big account customers can have big impact on the companys business. The second reason proposed by Spoelstra is based on his experience, he mentioned about the


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy low level of sensitivity among customer service employees in keeping the customers. Instead of being consumed with the idea that all customers are scam artists, customer service should zoom down to empowering people to identify problems and help to fix it. In many cases, when the problems are identified and customers are treated fairly, companies will find that in return they will get customer loyalty. When business is down, we can see many companies will take the initiatives to exercise cost cutting. Spoelstra suggests ground rule number 18: When the going gets rough, increase the expenses that are not fixed, like sales people. He believes that when you reduce the number of sales representative, you are actually reducing the sales. For Spoelstra, he encourages a company to increase the number of sales people in order to generate more sales that will help the company to get out from the crisis. From his point of view, sales people are driven by commissions and this is a guarantee investment. By looking from the perspective of manufacturing industry, this idea of increasing sales people is tough to apply because companies are not dealing with one time products such as concert tickets, movie tickets and New Jersey Nets versus New York Knicks. However, manufacturing industry can use this approach towards agents or distributors which does not impact the bottom line in resources. How high can you jump? Spoelstra is very convinced that any companies will be able to go further by using jump start marketing techniques. In his last ground rule, he spelled out the reason why jump start marketing is a very good tool. The first reason mentioned in this book is companies will not go further if the bar is set too low, because they do not explore further on their capabilities. Using the jump start marketing, they are setting the bar higher and this will push companies to maximize their capabilities. Secondly, this approach can be use as a system to encourage people who want success to be creative and work harder to achieve success.


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy 2. My Thought Spoelstars approach in writing Ice to the Eskimo makes it easy and entertaining to read. He employs various writing styles that allow flows and integration of information throughout the book. He uses lots of real life experiences as examples to explain the complexity of business strategies in an informal context. He created mini quizzes at the end of each chapter for readers to think about what they have read and ensuring that they understand the key concepts discusses in the particular chapter. Even though this books is written based on sport marketing, but the techniques are not limited to sport industry; it can be applied to any business and industries. The only drawback of this book is the release year, it was released in 1997. Technology and the ways of doing business have changed over time so it will be fantastic if the book can be republish with more current examples using todays technology.

3. Application 3.1. Area in marketing strategy The concepts and approaches that Spoelstra has in this book are actually covered by the few areas in marketing management. Referring to one of the article on marketing; Marketing Myophi, Levitt Theodore,Harvard Business Review, July-August,1960, Spoelstra shows company has lack of foresight in realizing the actual market environment. Companies believe that leading and winning will lead to more revenues and success. Spoesltra pointed out in topic ground rule number 17, winning does not automatically translated into financial success. Taking Edmonton Oilers as an example, they have been continuously winning titles 5 times, yet their sales for the season tickets are declining.


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy This book also touches on company analysis. In marketing strategy, it is learned that organizations need to identify their internal factors and clearly defining their goals and visions if they want to be successful. This book also covered market segmentation. Spoelstra uses market segmentation to execute his quick fix silver bullet. He identified people who are interested in the products and help the New Jersey Nets to capture the market. Another area of marketing that Ice to the Eskimo has touches is brand image. Spoelstra did try to change the Nets name to New Jersey Swamp Dragon because he realized that the current name, and unattractive logo were giving negative effect on the image of the brand. It was an unsuccessful effort, but he managed to build the brand name using different approach. He created a concept of affordable tickets and family entertainment to reach out to the fans.

3.2. Fluidra Malaysia Sdn Bhd This is the company that Im attached to and my task is to build and establish business for a new segment called Fluid Handling in this company. This company entry to fluid handling business in Malasysia is considered too late. The challenge is to built a market for brand name CEPEX from zero ground. In order to kick start the business and catching up with the rest, we applied few rules of the jump start marketing. a) Ground Rule #2: Do not fool yourself into thinking that you are somebody We identified the demand and requirements of market in Malaysia, and we then we identify our strengths and weakness in fulfilling the market demand. Our limitation was on our product range, and we tried to figure out how we would market our product. We took the approach of supplying products as system and not individual


CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy parts. By doing this, we are riding on third party products to push and create awareness on our brand. b) Ground Rule #4:Get the name and address of the end user of your product Currently we are using the quick-fix silver bullet method to get some sales. We are utilizing the database taken from other business unit within Fluidra group to identify the people that are interested in our products and group them by type of industries. We are approach them one on one in order to ensure that we can support them with the right product and expediting the purchase process.

1. Levitt,T (1960) Marketing Myophia, Harvard Business Review, July-August 1960

CMGM 6101: Marketing Strategy 2. Philip Kotler,Kevin Lane Keller,Ang Swee Hoon,Siew-Meng Leong,Chin Tiong Tan (2013), Marketing Management: An Asian Perspective, 6th Edition, Singapore: Pearson