Simon Terry

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Major League Baseball Can’t Talk to Me

Allow customers to support and engage your brand at different levels in marketing communications. Not all customers are extreme fans. As much as you’d like all customers to be extreme fans engaging them that way is likely counterproductive.

Take Me Out to the Baseball

I’m a bit of a casual fan of baseball. I would happily be more engaged. I just happen to live in the wrong hemisphere to spend much time on the game.

On a recent trip to San Francisco, I had a chance to go AT&T Park to watch the Giants lose to the Dodgers in a great game in a great environment. It was an amazing day. I would happily repeat the experience.

Talking Baseball

So where’s the issue?

Buying my game ticket online there was an option to opt out of receiving an email of news & marketing from Major League Baseball and the San Francisco Giants. There’s not much baseball news in Australia.  Against my usual practice, I opted in to email marketing.

I was struck immediately by the passionate tone of the emails that flowed and their determination that I must be a diehard Giants fanatic. Apparently, I needed prompting several times a week to participate in club activities, to purchase MLB services from partners and to attend every game. I had invitations to vote for players in awards that I didn’t know existed. I was offered lots of products I can’t buy and discounts I can’t use.

Of course, I ended up unsubscribing because what was missing was any news or marketing relevant to a curious casual fan of the game living on the other side of the world. Even if I had been as passionate as they seemed to expect, I just couldn’t do anything they asked. There were no relevant calls to action and no content that wasn’t a call to action.

Passionate Fans Matter

Everyone should cater to the passionate fan. By all means cater to their every need. We all like to think that talking passionately about our brand will rub off. It might. If that all you do, it can be counterproductive.

Plan for the Less Passionate Too

I was left with the impression that the curious, casual or distant fan segment is missing from the Major League Baseball email marketing plan. Maybe baseball don’t need this segment in email or it is not profitable enough. Maybe growing the brands engagement with travellers or those with a casual interest is not on the agenda. The issue is that baseball will now never know what might have been possible.

Build Engagement with Segmented Calls to Action

Every brand needs to segment its calls to action in every channel. Always allow options for the less engaged or those building engagement with your brand. Given your customers and potential fans meaningful ways to build engagement.

If you don’t, the only option for a hard won prospect (and potential future hardcore fan) is to unsubscribe.

Post Script on Social Marketing

Interestingly, the strategy around @SFGiants twitter account is much more accessible to a fan who wants to build engagement. Then perhaps they know that many of the half million followers will never have bought a ticket.


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