What Reebok Pumps Taught Me About Pitching

What Reebok Pumps Taught Me About Pitching

Do you remember the Reebok Pump shoes? During the early 90s those were phenomenal. A phenomenal marketing ploy presenting the idea that fresh air in your shoes made you jump higher.

Amateur basketballers spent half the time crouching down pumping that little ball on the tongue of their shoe, standing up feeling more confident.

Did the shoes really make you jump higher? Who knows. But what they did do was make you look like you were cutting edge, and gave you the impression that you would be better with them.

I haven't seen a pair in 10 years but today people from that generation say, "Those were cool man!"

Science vs. Society

Sometimes getting the buy-in from society works more then trying to scientifically prove that everything matches up.

I pitched an idea to a large cement factory yesterday about a solution for their factory machinery lifespan. My team created a detailed document of all the scientific reasoning behind why they should use this particular equipment. When I finished my pitch, they stared with blank faces and asked, "Who else is using this?"

We showed them 3 other big clients of ours and their endorsements. They lit up, smiled and nodded. "Send in the quote. Let's get this rolling."

The guys we pitched to were so interested in the crowd buy-in that nothing else mattered. Yes, they did want to know how it claimed to work, but what captured their approval was "Who else is using this?"

Why did we all buy pump shoes? The NBA Dunk Champion Dominique Wilkins had them and a lot of other cool people. The Pump was endorsed by the legends of the game.

It's a good reminder to get endorsed by others so when it comes time to showcase scientific versus social proof, you'll have both sides covered.

Now to find my old pair of Pumps and sell them on eBay for $100...