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Adjusting Your Marketing Campaigns When Your Customers Don’t Like You

by Todd Berkowitz  |  December 10, 2013  |  3 Comments



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 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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Category: customer-experience  

Tags: customer-experience  loyalty  

Todd Berkowitz
Research Vice President
3 years at Gartner
18 years IT Industry

Todd Berkowitz is a Research Vice President focusing on B2B technology marketing and sales. He advises product marketing leaders, CMOs and sales enablement leaders on how to improve the effectiveness of their demand generation, sales enablement, account-based marketing and upsell/cross-sell efforts. He also looks at how data, analytics, content and tools can improve marketing-sales alignment and overall effectiveness.. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Adjusting Your Marketing Campaigns When Your Customers Don’t Like You

  1. Most professional sports teams don’t know how to market. It’s kind of sad, honestly. I’m a big Angels fan and their owner Arte Moreno owns a billboard company and it’s really sad to see their marketing campaigns. They don’t expand their social media presence, they don’t write about what’s going on behind the scenes or in their players lives to draw in a real deep connection. Literally their focus is discounts. It’s like they rely fully upon the media to take care of the rest and it doesn’t work like that.

    • Todd Berkowitz says:

      I absolutely agree with you! I am much more impressed with how the local colleges do their marketing. But a day after I wrote the post, the Rockies did go out and make a good trade for a starting pitcher and also signed a pretty decent reliever. Now this still hasn’t been reflected in their marketing, but at least I’m not as aggravated with them. I am surprised that some enterprising company hasn’t come along that focuses on digital marketing for sports franchises. When you think about both major and minor league (and even college), there should be substantial opportunity.

  2. […] first place before the season starts. (Although fandom has its limits as we’ve written about here and here).  But you don’t get that kind of chance with potential buyers, especially when […]

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