Okay! It is time to say it. I haven’t written a blog on this subject in a long while, but let me tell you it is the best subject at this time of year. Baseball!
Baseball, especially the MLB Association in particular, are the most excellent marketing experts around. Us meager marketing professionals should take a few lessons from the pros (see what I did there?)! Everything that baseball teams do is marketing. Think about it… They have giveaways, and they have other companies pay for it. They sell game worn jerseys – and not washing them makes them worth more money. Something that goes completely beyond me. They sell millions of dollars of merchandise yearly, sometimes monthly, depending on the team and how good that they are doing. Especially, if the team is doing great and they typically do not do so great.
Let’s take the Boston Red Sox from the 2013 World Series. They won the series four games to two. Before that they were the 2007 World Series Winner and the 2004 World Series Winner. Before that they were loved only by those that are drawn to underdog stories, or Bostonians. Right now they are one of the most beloved teams in the world, and talk of them being in the 2016 World Series as well. But how did they get so popular? They played on your emotions. They played on the fact that they haven’t been won a World Series in years; however, they have been to the World Series way more than many other teams. They played on emotions; psychologically. They used messaging in their games, by doing throw-back nights of their jerseys and the giveaways. Making the fans come together to help the team. The same thing is happening this year with “Big Papi.” David Ortiz is retiring after this season. So the team followers are shouting this is the year for the Red Sox. Send off “Big Papi” with a win for the World Series because since he is only a DH he won’t make it into the Hall of Fame. Fans are eating it up!
On the flip side of the American League is the Chicago Cubs, doing the same thing to all of their fans. The Cubbies are eating it up! Cubs haven’t been to the World Series since 1945. Haven’t won a World Series since 1908. They, too, also have a player retiring – Papa Ross. Playing on the emotions. It works! It is the marketing play of the past, present, and future. Of course, though, being a Cubbie means waiting out the storms. Eventually rewarded with a “W” in the World Series.
The Chicago Cubs are the best in marketing. Let’s face it. How many people are Cubs fans because they won? Not many. Maybe some bandwagon fans this year, but for the most part the loveable losers are the best at marketing. It starts with their colors. Very Patriotic. If they aren’t winning there is always a catch with the Cubs. There is always next year. Is the war cry at the end of the season. The Chicago Cubs jerseys take the best of every team and make it theirs. The pin stripes from the old school days. The greys for the calming. And of course the Cubs gets inside the head of their fans, by getting every fan to know every Cub. Sell jerseys, sell t-shirts, support local charities, and of course get the fans to take part in all of this. You can’t forget the seventh inning strength, I mean stretch! What other team sings “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? This is genius. And their current manager’s t-shirts, “Try not to suck.” How much cool can you get in one baseball team! Baseball is the best at marketing and the fans are all the marketers.
Especially with today’s technology and everyone having a cell phone, a social media account, and whatever else that technology has brought: hashtags, instant pictures, instant score updates, partners with celebrities. Baseball has done it all!
Oh and on a personal note I have been a diehard Cubs fan since as long as I can remember. The Chicago Cubs has been my staple, even though they have been on the losing side of most seasons since before I was born.
We can take a few examples from the Major League Baseball Association and model our own marketing after the MLB. Remember that copying is the simplest form of flattery! Remember that marketing comes in all shapes and sizes, the MLB has seen to it that they set precedence for all marketing experts.
Until next time: