What soccer legend Pelé taught me about Marketing…

During the 1994 FIFA World Cup in Los Angeles, I had the privilege of spending a few days with Brazilian soccer legend Pelé as we travelled around Los Angeles with Mastercard, presenting scholarships grants to support local soccer programs.

At every stop, Pelé was greeted by throngs (many hundreds+) of adoring fans who could barely contain themselves just being in the presence of this legendary athlete. I still remember it as my “on stage with the Beatles” moment.

After a few appearances, I asked him how he managed to stay engaged with such a high level of ebullience during the never-ending screaming fans trying desperately to get his attention and an autograph.

Pelé told me that even though it was an everyday occurrence to him, he knew it was a once in a lifetime experience for his fans and their forever memory, even if it was just from the stage.

Pelé shared that he knew how important it was to make each of those moments count for his fans.

And, that’s the lesson he taught me… every interaction with our customers and prospects may be an “everyday” and largely forgotten occurrence to each of us, it can be – and often is – a forever memory to those we serve – so make every interaction with a customer – no matter how happy or not the customer is – count as an opportunity to connect with your fans.

P.S., That’s a much younger me on stage with #Pelé and two recipients of the generous grants from #Mastercard and the 1994 World Cup mascot at Southern California’s Glendale Galleria – a #WorldCup memory and #marketing lesson I’ll never forget!