I normally don’t use this blog for personal rants, especially about things in the sports world. But Hank Barnes opened up this can of worms a few weeks ago and I decided to go with it. I live in Denver, Colorado. I grew up watching minor-league baseball since we had no major-league team. When Major League Baseball awarded the city and expansion franchise in 1991, I (and nearly everyone I knew) was ecstatic. It helped usher in a redevelopment of a blighted downtown area. My Dad flew me home from college for opening day and that remains one of my favorite memories more than 20 years later.
The excitement of the Colorado Rockies has waned in the last few years as despite making the World Series after a magical “Rocktober” run in 2007, the team has only been to the playoffs two other times, most recently 2009. The team still draws well given the weather, mountain views and love of baseball in this town. But after three straight last-place finishes, the retirement of a longtime fan favorite and an offseason highlighted by the signing of a 41 year-old closer (to replace an injured 39-year old closer), the trading of a popular center-fielder to dump salary, and the signing of a former MVP who is a shell of his former self, people are unahppy. To add fuel to the fire, the notoriously tight-fisted ownership opened up their books and seemed to demonstrate their lack of understanding of basic economics.
But we’re in holiday season and that means it’s time to market your product, particularly one that makes a good gift. And market they have. Since the week of Thanksgiving, I have received SEVENTEEN e-mails from the Colorado Rockies or Rockies.com shop. None of those e-mails thanked me for being a customer, especially over the last few painful seasons, or mentioned anything about what the Rockies might do this year to ensure they put a better product on the field. But it’s good to know I can purchase season tickets or save 20% from their online store. But I’m the target customer right? In the last two years, I have:
- Purchased tickets to three games (one in 2013, two in 2012)
- Purchased nothing from their online shop
- Shared a handful of posts on their Facebook page (all related to Todd Helton’s retirement)
I used to go to more games, but as the product suffered, I spent my money (and time) elsewhere. If they want my business, they need to very clearly explain how they are going to improve the team this season. I don’t need them to go onto local radio and say”that we have to trust the organization!”
Many technology providers, particularly ones that have been around for a long-time, often have very loyal customer bases. But like any other business, they are capable of taking their customers (or channel partners) for granted. Investments in other products, shifts in focus, or a desire to please shareholders often erodes customer loyalty. I can go on Facebook and complain about the Colorado Rockies and your customers can go on Facebook and do the same thing if they are unhappy with your products.
If your Net Promoter Score (NPS) is dropping, retention rates are declining, or you are seeing evidence of discontent, make sure to factor this in to your marketing programs. Individuals and companies will only open their wallets (or checkbooks) if they trust your company, your commitment to them, and your long-term vision. If that trust isn’t there, you need to address that (either directly or through campaigns) before asking them to buy anything else. And when you address it, do it as honestly as possible.
If the Rockies make a commitment to improving their product, I will gladly buy tickets and support the team. And if you demonstrate the same commitment to your customers, they will likely do the same thing.
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