My post from a few weeks ago, which concluded that “everything is a business” (from rock bands to sports teams) took on more profound meaning during my trip this past week to Dallas, Texas…to witness a beatdown of my New York Jets by the Dallas Cowboys (those are football teams for those of you who don’t follow American sports).
Note: You don’t need to know anything about American football to absorb these observations. Please stay with me whether you are a sports fan or not.
The fact that the game was far from competitive didn’t stop me from observing how the Dallas Cowboys have become the most valuable sports franchise in the world (by a wide margin).
And I saw it firsthand from the “inside.”
No…I didn’t go into the locker room…or conduct any personal interviews…or engage in any significant investigative reporting.
I just walked around.
Well, I also had the privilege of “walking around” as a guest of my good friend, Howard Getson, a wizard in financial markets and AI, who is one of 100 of the top VIP customers/season ticket holders of the Dallas Cowboys. He was a knowledgeable guide in addition to being a gracious host.
Seeing the inner workings of this business (disguised as a football team) from this perspective made it obvious that the team didn’t become the most valuable by accident.
Below are some of the reasons why they became “America’s Team” … and quite possibly “America’s Business” …and it’s a study of a white glove business with unparalleled leadership…with a big dose of marketing and branding.
And internal and external partnering (more on that topic in the P.S.)
Customer service on steroids…top down and bottom up
I’m not saying that any players (or customers) of the Cowboys are taking performance enhancing drugs. 🙂
What I am saying is that at every level of the organization, from the top executives to the parking attendants…and from the customers with the best seats to the worst…everyone receives more than they expect.
Exceeding expectations is the starting point for the “company”…which is also a team…and a family.
Beginning with a world-class, state-of-the-art stadium which the owner and the team spared no expense.
And it has the owner’s stamp all over it (more on him in a minute) …branded to the Cowboys at every turn…despite selling the naming rights to AT&T (to add some additional profit…and more on “profit” in a minute too).
It “only” cost $1.3 billion to build…compare that to the $1.6 billion it cost to build MetLife Stadium (home of the New York Jets).
The former is a palace while the latter is a stadium inside a warehouse.
I guess we can say, “what’s $300 million between competitors?”
Why this $300 million “discount” on building a superior stadium” is worth examining:
It’s not how much you spend…it’s what you spend it on…and the Cowboys made the priority always being the comfort of the players, staff and fans…and creating a personality that is congruent with the team.
I have no doubt that MetLife Stadium is a palace for the players and senior management…but as a lowly fan, I can tell you from experience that the Jets make few creature comforts available to me…and the employees on the front lines (most of whom seem to hate their jobs)…or the majority of the other fans. And the stadium has very little personality to boot.
The Cowboys had everyone in mind at every step…with superior logistics…from the parking lots, the corridors, the concession stands, the security…and all of the VIP and non-VIP seats…when they built their palace.
Attending the game at the highest VIP level (thanks to Howard’s generosity), I saw all of this from the top…but not looking down…just looking around.
It was clear to me that everyone in the stadium is happy with what they receive based on what they can afford.
I saw it with my own eyes when I walked the entire stadium, getting out of the VIP bubble.
Overdelivery at every level.
The culture created by the CEO (Jerry Jones) doesn’t “trickle down” to every employee…it is embedded in how they do their jobs (which then creates universal fan contentment).
Everyone wants to help…not simply as their job…but to serve.
From the director of stadium security (who we met) to every usher, concession worker and anyone who is part of the organization.
And when your staff is bought into the mission, you can create exponential value for your customers, buyers, clients, etc.—and that translates into lifetime value.
Kind of like the Ritz-Carlton of football.
Or the Dallas Cowboys of hotels…with lots of cheering. 🙂
Did I mention that VIP ticket holders have access to go on the field (of the Cowboy’s palace)…with a green and blue carpet laid out just for us (that served as a red carpet)…before and after the game?
And that VIP’s can even bring an enemy/freeloader from New York along for the ride? (More on this below regarding taking care of your best customers to the max.)
Here’s Howard (and me) taking advantage of yet another perk:
The owner knows the business he’s in…intimately
According to his Wiki page, the owner and CEO of the Cowboys, Jerry Jones, “… is one of a very small number of NFL owners who had a significant level of success as a football player.”
Love him or hate him (and he has many fans and enemies), he knows what he’s doing when it comes to running his business…because he IS his business.
It’s often true that when an owner of a sports team gets involved in the running of the enterprise, it comes with problems and downside…that is, they make more of a mess than actually helping the cause. It’s only seen as meddling.
In the case of Jerry Jones he at least meddles with some credentials (other than his business acumen).
Is it still messy? Sure.
But the numbers don’t lie when tallying up the success of the Dallas Cowboys. Just go back to what I said at the outset about them being the most highly valued sports franchise in the world.
I often say that after you “do it,” you have an obligation to teach it.
In Jerry’s case, he did it (i.e., he played the game); he then wanted to own it; but before owning it, he added additional business knowledge; which then made him the best person to run it.
A winning formula for any successful CEO/owner.
Treat all customers with respect…but take care of the high spenders to the max
It’s Marketing 101…spend more to get more from your best customers…not only to make more money but to create evangelists for the enterprise at the same time.
Which then brings more total customers into the family at all price levels.
I experienced this up close and personal when one of the top 100 “Chief Evangelists” (i.e., Howard) became giddy with excitement when talking about his “experience” being one of those lucky 100.
The experience is heavenly…but he goes deeper with his admiration of Jerry Jones and the Cowboys.
Howard is way more than simply a fanboy of his team.
He has made his admiration actionable.
Being the equivalent of a lifetime customer of this top-of-the-pyramid company (i.e., “team”) has transformed him into being a better employer and CEO himself…and he was already damn good.
Getting a tour of Howard’s office before the game was instructive, as he showed off his own heart and leadership style with some “Dallas Cowboys Inc.” influence sprinkled in.
Of course, the preferred valet parking underneath the stadium, designated lanes for his level of VIP status when he enters the stadium, access to the finest gourmet food before, during and after the game “helps” add (abundantly) to his admiration of the Cowboys …you get what you pay for…but he receives so much more than those “creature comforts for people with money.”
Creature comforts can be universal…some are just more comfortable and more expensive than others.
While I walked around the stadium, there was a community that was unlike any I have ever experienced at any stadium in my life…and I’ve been to dozens…even among the cheap seat buyers…those who had to battle the traffic and eat food for mortals rather than seafood towers and Tomahawk Steaks.
Everyone was happy, content, well fed and comfortable.
And it wasn’t just because the Cowboys were killing my Jets. 🙂
Winning has little to do with championships
I talked about this in my post from a few weeks ago as well.
And for a guy like Jerry Jones, who competed at a high level as a player himself, I know he doesn’t completely agree with the statement above.
However, the Cowboys HAVE won five (5) championships (3 since Jerry Jones bought the team).
The fact that they haven’t been to a Super Bowl (championship game) since 1996 seems to be the topic of conversation above everything else when fans and the media talk about the Cowboys.
But they are always in the conversation as a contender…which few other teams can claim.
A winning culture doesn’t need a championship every year to be a winner (although it would be nice).
But here’s the bottom line:
The Dallas Cowboys win “the Super Bowl of sports franchises” every year…just look at their consistency of excellence on the field…and their P & L and valuation off the field.
P.S. “Partnering” with AT&T isn’t the only collaboration Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have done for fun and profit.
Howard rattled off dozens of joint ventures and partnerships they are involved in…some with cash payouts, some with revenue sharing, others with a combination of both.
Jerry Jones has a valuable asset and he teams up with others, under the right circumstances, to create all sorts of “back end” revenue and profit.
That’s why they are the most valuable franchise in the world.
If you’re free on October 2 and you’d like to learn how you can start setting up profit sharing deals with your clients, cashing in on your assets and talents, I want to invite you to join me on a Zoom call that my marketing partner Chris Mason is hosting.
I can’t promise you will become the most profitable sports franchise in the world…but you need to start somewhere. 🙂
Chris has put together a masterful class that shows copywriters and funnel builders how they can start earning a percentage of the profit they help create for their clients.
It’s something he calls “Profit Partner Consulting” and I’d love to have you join us.
If this is a topic you’re interested in, Chris’ training will be well worth your time.
Chris and I have worked together since 2013, back when we were both still in our respective day jobs.
I think I was his 2nd client! 🙂
He’s a smart marketer who has primarily worked with clients on a profit sharing basis.
Since 2015 he’s done nine different profit sharing deals in niches like survival, alternative health, eCommerce software and of course your’s truly. 🙂
So if you’d like to understand how you can start putting these kinds of profit sharing deals together with your new or existing clients, you don’t want to miss this call with me and Chris on October 2.
As Chris shared on a recent Titans Xcelerator call, this is a path that more freelancers and consultants would probably choose if they knew how to do it…and I think he’s right.
Personally, I’ve lost count of how many royalty and profit sharing deals I’ve done with copywriters and other vendors in my career.
And I’ll be sharing my lessons learned on the call as well.
I can tell you that these types of deals are still out there, most likely right in front of you.
They just look a little different than they used to.
And Chris’ “Profit Partner Consulting” class on October 2 will show you how to find them and put them together.
It’s not a free call. But having seen an early version of what Chris has put together for you, it’s well worth your time and attention.