October 31, 2013
“Swing and a miss, struck him out! The Philadelphia Phillies are the 2008 World Champions of baseball.”
To hundreds of thousands of Philadelphia Phillies fans across the globe, the words "World Champions" seemed entirely implausible. In the hours immediately following Brad Lidge’s nasty slider that struck out Eric Hinske, I did three things in succession:
1. I cried.
2. I ran to Philadelphia's City Hall to celebrate.
3. I went online and began scouring the web to find where I could spend senseless amounts of money on World Series champion memorabilia.
As the Boston Red Sox wipe the champagne from their eyes following the team's eighth World Series title, the challenge facing retailers is far more grave than it was back in 2008, for these key reasons.
• Increased competition from smaller, upstart apparel companies gives these fans more buying power.
• Fans want exclusive, fresh-off-the-presses championship gear NOW, before the euphoria wears off.
• Boston fans are displaced in various locales using various devices, and need to be catered to without alienating the rest of the customer base.
The stakes are high. Eighty-nine percent of consumers say they will switch brands if they have a poor experience online. So how does a brand avoid leaving these Red Sox fans high and dry? Here’s my strategy for them:
Key in on your customers who have browsed or purchased Red Sox gear in the past 18 months, and reach out to them. The email they receive needs to be relevant—Red Sox fans in New England should see what stores they can drive to today to purchase a jacket, while the transplant Red Sox fan in St. Louis is told that she needs to order by noon today if she wants to make her friends, who are fans of the Cardinals, cry.
People are reading articles about the World Series. They're watching videos. They’re commenting on fan forums. Take this as an opportunity to go out and acquire traffic through paid media on these properties—based on what you know about your customers—before your competitors do.
As you acquire the new traffic, roll out the red carpet for all the Red Sox fans. The onsite experience must match the content that compelled the visitor to come to the website. Make purchasing extremely intuitive (remember, they want their gear NOW!). But be careful. Only those likely to be Red Sox fans should be seeing these experiences. Don't rub salt in the wounds of the poor Cardinals fan. Don’t forget the 89% statistic above.
As Red Sox fans around the world clamor to connect an extremely emotional moment in their lives to a tangible product, the key is to deliver for your customers in the clutch—or prepare to say goodbye to 89% of them.
Image courtesy of shop.mlb.com.