Free? Agency: Attracting Customers Can Be Costly

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Free? Agency: Attracting Customers Can Be Costly

LeBron James free agency I must admit—I had to resist the urge to put my head through the monitor this morning when I pulled up and saw this. Seriously, do we really need to be monitoring the seconds until a man who puts a ball in a hole for a living decides on his next team? But then I thought for a minute, and realized that although the media coverage is overblown, the situation is not much different than issues confronting agencies on a daily basis. Let me break it down like this:

Free agent LeBron James = free agent Company X

  • James has unlimited basketball talent and athleticism, while free agent company X has a lucrative budget and dynamic project potential.
  • James is coming off an amazing run of seasons with his “home town” team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, and is testing the free agent waters for the first time. Although he is comfortable and adored, Cleveland may not provide the stage that will help James reach his full potential.
  • Likewise, Company X is an industry leader with impressive history, but more specialized needs are forcing them to look for the agency that will really push them over the hump.

Agency A, B and C = the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets

So what’s an agency to do when there is a blockbuster free agent on the market? Well, make their grass look as deliciously green as possible, of course! The same holds true for the teams that court James this summer.
  • When Company X’s project is up for grabs, agencies typically fall over themselves to make the sale. One agency will have a knockout portfolio, another will promise the lowest prices, and the last will pledge unparalleled customer service and communication.
  • Every team with significant resources is trying their hardest to woo James, but the three listed have been floated consistently. Chicago has the best existing talent for James to play with, New York has the largest city and a global fan base, and New Jersey touts a new owner with unlimited resources and a brand new arena on the horizon.

The Known Factors

  • What we do know is that James will suit up somewhere next year. Someone, be it the Caveliers or a new team, is going to win this thing. It’s not a matter of if, but who. With that in mind, teams are preparing to put their best pitch together.
  • Similarly, if a business is committed to a web development project or marketing campaign, it will happen. The method, cost and timeliness are up in the air for an agency to tackle.

The Unknown Factors

  • We don’t know which factors are weighing LeBron’s decision the most. Does he want to stay comfortable? Does he want to play with the best teammates? Does he want an organization all to himself?
  • The motivating factors of a business searching for an agency can also be puzzling. They may want the cheapest package, or the flashiest campaign, regardless of cost.
So solving this whole puzzle is the end that we labor towards. We are willing to try a new strategy, and consider a fresh problem-solving method, but in the end we stick to our guns to pursue ideal client relationships. We stay with what we have learned from experience, because for every one team that does land LeBron, there will be 10 teams that don't and have to go to plan B, perhaps devastated. If we were to change our identity for one potential client, it could have damaging effects on the long term health of our company. It's always tempting to go after the flashiest free agent client, but ultimately, the role players, hustlers, and team players build a business or team. Keep that in mind this summer as the biggest free agents, in basketball and business, are teasing and tempting hopeful employers.

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