I recently attended a trade group meeting, where I connected with industry colleagues from around the country. Stories about survival during these challenging economic times abounded – many shared their struggles and ups and downs, and some even noted the unexpected success they are having this year, although many would not have predicted it. That speaks to the changes in how clients choose to work with marcom firms in general.
During one of the sessions, the president of the California Angels baseball team spoke. He brought his marketing director, who walked us through how they re-branded the team over the last several years.
I would classify myself as a “semi-interested” baseball fan. I’m originally from the Bronx, so the NY teams are part of my DNA. However, I’ve lived in Atlanta so long, that the Braves now join that molecular strand. But what I found interesting about the Angels presentation was how they continually strive to engage their customers — from the die-hard season ticket holders to the differing segments of their market, most notably, the female constituency.
They also work hard to employ best practices throughout Major League Baseball. Along with the World Series winner, the San Francisco Giants, the Angels employ eight customer service specialists who are assigned to season ticket holders. Their responsibilities include: engaging with each one and reaching out to make sure they are happy, proactively inquiring if they need anything, and leaving the door open for these valuable customers to reach out anytime they wish. As a result, the Angels claim one of the top season ticket holder renewal rates in MLB.
The two speakers shared many stories, and one thing rang clear — they are devoted to their fan base — whether long-time season ticket holders or the family who visits one time. They are mindful of prices at concession stands as well as on merchandise. They have a supportive owner (after the Autry family, then the Disney ownership debacle, now to a businessman owner who seems to “get it”).
What are the lessons? (1) Attend industry events and meetings so you hear stories like this firsthand, and (2) engage frequently with your customers to make sure they come back time after time because they love your brand and how it makes them feel.
— Rena Kilgannon, Principal