The marketing days of “toss it against the wall & see if anything sticks” are long, long gone. I understood the value of targeting my audience several decades ago when handling marketing and promotion for an NBA team then the Harlem Globetrotters.

The NBA then was not the dominant pro sports force it is today. Sellout crowds were rare and season ticket sales even more rare. College basketball was often a bigger draw than the NBA. And where NBA teams shared a market with a minor league ice hockey team the skaters usually drew bigger crowds.

My success came when I understood how to target my NBA audience in a market with pro football, major league baseball and a minor league hockey team – all with Division 1 college teams in our drawing area.

What I learned in my two NBA seasons played well when hired by the Harlem Globetrotters to bring needed skills to that venerable enterprise. Our tools then were rudimentary, but the basics haven’t changed much over time.

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