ballpark marketing

At the ballpark, you will also see some of the finest hand-to-hand sales and marketing work in the world. Next time you're there, take a closer look at the men and women tossing bags of peanuts or dishing out hot dogs. They have the difficult task of quickly moving inventory in a short period of time with a positive attitude in order to maximize that highly coveted tip from each purchase. Here are 5 key lessons from these vendors to watch for the next time you're sitting under those bright lights enjoying America's pastime.

5 Marketing Lessons From Ballpark Vendors

1. Show Off Without Being Showy - Close your eyes. Think of the ballpark. Beyond the crack of the bat and the sound of the ball landing in a glove, you'll also hear the sounds of muffled plastic from your seatmates catching bags of peanuts. The "peanut guy" just slung a bag 10 rows up and is now on his way to retrieve his money. That toss is a simple but important way the vendor maximizes his sales and tips. It's a marketing tool. You could by a number of things to eat at the ballpark, so why choose peanuts? Because it's fun. A vendor throwing a bag of peanuts is the perfect example of showing off without being showy.

Marketing Takeaway:
Make your product fun. Showcase what it can do. It doesn't matter if you sell steel ball bearings or dog costumes. As a marketer, one of your jobs is to show off your product. People buy what is cool. This goes for B2C or B2B businesses. How can you show off the coolness of your product?

2. Speed Counts - Ballpark vendors seem to move at lightning speed. You ask for a soda, you hand them your money, and POOF! they're gone. These vendors know their prime selling time and that their window for selling is short. Baseball is a game with no clock. It's impossible to know if a game will last two hours or five. Because these vendors are also competing against each other, they have to move fast, or they'll lose a sale to someone else.

Marketing Takeaway:
The world of inbound marketing and the social web has only sped up the marketing and sales process. With an abundance of information available online, it is easy for prospects to move even faster through the buying cycle. Be prepared. Start creating content now to be in the consideration mix. Be agile. In the world of the social web, agility is a key tool for marketers to beat out the competition. Be ready to respond to prospects and customers by creating timely and relevant content .

3. Believe in Yourself or No One Else Will - Have you ever been at the ballpark and think you were going to be deafened by the deep vocal calls for "PEANUTS!, CRACKER JACK!, ICE CREAM!" These calls aren't just loud, they are shouts of confidence in the products ballpark vendors are selling. Have you ever heard a dull and quiet sales pitch from a ballpark vendor? Did you buy anything from him or her? I haven't. Absolute confidence in your product or service is a core tenant of great marketing.

Marketing Takeaway:
Think about ways your business can display pride and belief in its product. This could be an online video , a special customer showcase, or a variety of other things. The important thing to remember is that if you don't believe in your product, no one else will either.

4. Courtesy Counts - In the fast-paced life of selling hot dogs and Cracker Jack, it's easy to move so swiftly that courtesy flies out of the ballpark like a home run. The great ballpark vendors never let this happen. They are always polite and show their appreciation for even the smallest of tips.

Marketing Takeaway:
Treat your customers like they are the lifeblood of your business, because they are. Monitor social media for any customer complaints or questions. Respond quickly and kindly to help them resolve their issues. Always follow up. Check back later in the day or the following day to make sure their issue was resolved. 

5. Know Your Product - Ballpark vendors know their product like the back of their hand. They know how much they can carry. They know how far they can throw it. They know when it is melting. This product knowledge enables them to do all of the things outlined in this post. It makes sales and marketing easier for them.

Marketing Takeaway:
Marketing is hard. Don't make it harder by just barely understanding the product you are selling. Spend time with the research and development team. Get to know your product's strengths and weaknesses. Furthermore, treat your prospective customers the same way. Understand their problems and the solutions they are looking for. Having this level of understanding for both your product and your customers will make creating inbound marketing content a breeze.

What else have you learned about marketing while at the ballpark?

P.S. Go Red Sox!

Photo Credit: laffy4k


Originally published Jun 21, 2011 12:20:00 PM, updated July 28 2017

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Marketing Advice