EliteXC: A Lesson in Expectations Management

October 28, 2008

There are many golden rules within the business world, but in regards to selling yourself, your company, or your product, none are more important than this: never over-sell, never over-hype, never over-promise. It’s basic expectations theory.

When an organization makes a promise, they set an invisible bar of expectations within the minds of their customers. Then, for better or for worse, they’re stuck with the task of meeting those expectations; because, obviously, if you don’t meet the expectations of your customers, they’re not going to be happy.

While it seems like common sense, there is a host of academic research behind expectations theory. Perhaps that’s why I’m so surprised that a guy like Jared Shaw – someone so quick to pull out his Harvard School of Business case studies against KJ Noons – has managed to commit one of the greater selling sins in recent memory.

Under the management of EliteXC and the Shaws, Kimbo Slice has been promoted as this “street certified,” legend-slaying monster – a veritable MMA God. Unfortunately, they did such a good job of duping the general public that most actually believed the hype.

To the mainstream, Kimbo Slice, was as advertised; and, their expectations followed accordingly.

Sadly, those expectations were brutally exaggerated and MMA’s first, real foray into the mainstream should be considered a failure if for no other reason than the damage that Seth Petruzelli managed to inflict, with one glancing right, to the chin of both Kimbo’s and MMA’s credibility. And that’s even ignoring the controversy surrounding “Standgate.”

As a result, the general public – and perhaps just as important, the mainstream media – is very weary of our sport; all thanks to those brutal expectations that were unwisely, and perhaps even unfairly, thrust upon a fighter that was not ready and a sport that knew as much.

Now, the rest of the MMA community is left with the task of picking up the pieces and learning from the mistakes of the past.

So to all of you would-be promoters out there, know this: you’ve got a fine line to walk, between under and over-selling – tread it carefully. You can’t dupe the consumer and live to operate another day.

Comments are closed.