Red Auerbach and Word-of-Mouth Marketing

One interesting anecdote among the many tributes to the Boston Celtics’ legendary Red Auerbach, who passed away on Saturday: In the early days of the NBA, when attendance was sparse and media coverage was nonexistent, Auerbach and his players would barnstorm across the U.S. with a basket on the back of a truck and do free clinics and demonstrations. “That’s how fans got the message that these were extraordinary athletes,” he said in one interview. Another tactic was getting professional players from baseball and football – two far more popular sports at the time – to talk about what great athletes basketball players were. “That sold the game more than anything,” Auerbach said. A good lesson on the value of word-of-mouth marketing from a basketball pioneer.

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