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« Marketing Rules Are So....Unwritten - Get Used To It, Madison Ave. Mavens | Main | SaaS Gets REALLY Serious - BTW, That's A GOOD Thing »

July 25, 2006

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Zach Conen

Leave it to a Yankees fan to not "get it." (Full disclosure - Red Sox fan typing on the other side of the screen.)

You indicate that the Nationals "shoulda waited." What message does that send to the fans that attend games between now and the opening of the new stadium - that they aren't worth the effort? There is no bigger way for a team to alienate their fan base (regardless of the size or "engagement" level) than to throw up their hands hopelessly and say "just wait for the new place." Maybe you would have had to attend a game in the last year or two of Veterans Stadium to know what I mean.

The fact that you acknowledged noticing a difference - in game presentation, politeness, humor, etc. - after what was essentially a two-week effort, speaks volumes to the yeoman work that the Nationals did in that time frame. The teams that you cite didn't develop an engaged, emotional fan base immediately - it was developed over time. That the Nationals noticeably moved the needle in two weeks should have you singing hosannas...but I guess that doesn't get you much attention in the blogosphere.

Rome wasn't built in a day...and neither is an "optimal" fan experience. Credit the Nationals for laying the foundation now so that their fan base benefits in the short term...and the fan experience is top of mind throughout the organization as they transition to the new ballpark.

Changing behaviors and attitudes isn't like installing software. It's a journey...and incremental change is a major triumph.

You should come back out to the ballpark...and reconsider your stance.

Zach Conen
Director of Marketing
LRA Worldwide
zach.conen@lraworldwide.com
www.lraworldwide.com

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