This COVID-19 era is not a time to “sell through” but to “solve through,” said sports marketing legend Brandon Steiner.
Steiner is the founder and president of The Steiner Agency and CollectibleXchange. The Steiner Agency is the nation's premier independent athlete procurement source, and CollectibleXchange is an online platform for fans, collectors, store owners, celebrities, athletes and teams to buy and sell collectibles.
Previously, Steiner founded and built the $40 million Steiner Sports Marketing and Memorabilia empire, one of the largest companies of its kind.
He joined Freedom Media Network founder Curt Mercadante for an interview, stressing that this is the time for business owners and entrepreneurs to innovate and meet the unique needs of their customers.
“Not, ‘how do I go do this and make a lot of money doing this’... No. What's the solution?” he said.
Steiner used the examples of hotels, which have been hit hard by the COVID-19 shutdowns.
“So you have a hotel, what's the solution? If you're a convention hotel, how do you turn your hotel into a recreational hotel, because people probably aren't going to be getting on planes anytime soon, probably not going to the islands, and this and that," he said. “But they'll probably drive two, three hours, or they'll go someplace locally, stay at maybe a hotel at some point soon. Can you go create the recreational stuff inside your hotel to make it fun for a family to maybe get away for a week or a weekend?”
Steiner also discussed innovation in restaurants, even after the lockdowns are lifted.
“If you have a restaurant, you're not going to have waiting lines to get in. You're going to have volume decrease,” he said. “So how do you do it? You have to pivot.”
He pointed to restaurant owners who have been struggling for years and had the opportunity to get “digital marketing savvy” but didn’t.
“You know something, this is the time when you need to go online, you need to get educated on how to digitally market because you're now in the takeout delivery business. And it's a huge business,” he said. “And we're going to be doing takeout and delivery for a while, because we're not going to be running to restaurants, eat out. But you can't charge me $30 for an entree in a little tin cup, in a tin can.”
He explained, “You’ve got to now redo your menus, make them more fun for a family of four, family of two, right? You've got to kind of have a big family night, all the pasta you could eat, order a pasta, we'll deliver it at 5:00. If you want more, we'll deliver it again at 6:00. You know, how does it all come? Like a three-course meal? How do you do all those things?”
Steiner also is the author of Living on Purpose: Stories About Faith, Fortune and Fitness that Will Lead You to an Extraordinary Life,The Business Playbook: Leadership Lessons from the World of Sports and You Gotta Have Balls: How a Kid from Brooklyn Started From Scratch, Bought Yankee Stadium, and Created a Sports Empire.
“There are restaurants in New York that are killing it, their sales are up. And then there are restaurants that are distraught,” he said. “There are restaurants that you call up and the person taking the order has no experience in taking orders. And you go to the person's website. It's not clear. They haven't adjusted the menu.”
He continued discussing how and why restaurants and other businesses have to get smart about digital marketing.
“Imagine if you (a restaurant) had it on Facebook Live, with the chef making this special. Imagine if I could ship you all the ingredients for a family for six, and you make that dinner tonight with that chef in the restaurant, and show you how to make this special dish,” he said. “Product involvement, customer involvement... empowerment breeds commitment. How do you get your customers involved with the process now using these computers and using these social media aspects?”
He expressed hope for businesses who innovate.
“Stop crying and complaining. You have a right to, but it's not going to help you,” said Steiner. “Get up off your butt and start figuring it out.”
Watch Mercadante’s full conversation with Steiner here: