After my freshman year of college, I had the opportunity to intern as part the marketing team of a collegiate summer league baseball team. Although I am not a marketing major, the experience I gained on the marketing team was priceless.
The ball club that I worked for was a newly established organization with plenty of growth opportunity and very little resources, and as an unpaid intern hungry for responsibility, I got PLENTY of what I asked for. After joining the marketing team, I soon found myself working fifty unpaid hour workweeks managing the team’s Facebook page, tweeting during games, writing press releases, and even going on live radio to promote big games. What I expected to be a fun summer in the sun turned into an intense summer of hard core marketing…but also a summer I can neither forget nor regret.
The most challenging part of the summer was that the team I was dedicated to promoting undeniably sucked. This required posting on social media, writing press releases, and talking to different news outlets to be done in such a way that spun the script positively. What most effectively achieved this objective was highlighting all the positives. For instance, a hitting streak or a local favorite’s success on the mound. Because the team sucked, I also was heavy on promoting the other game-day attractions such as raffles and giveaways. At the end of the day however, no amount of posting, radio appearances, press-releases, or free miniature bats could draw a sizable crowd to see a losing team play. In this situation it was time to bring in the heavy artillery – community engagement.
The biggest lesson I learned on the marketing team was how powerful human interaction is as a marketing tool. What proved to be most effective in drawing crowds was getting out into the community and personally telling people about the product we had to offer. Once we realized its value, the marketing team hit the streets with schedules, free tickets, and our team’s mascot to educate the community about the new ball club in town. We would giveaway tickets to mothers or fathers who would bring their friends and kids to the weekend’s games. Pretty soon people were coming back to games and loving every second of it. After a month of this strategy we saw attendance increase by 30%, without getting a single game closer to a .500 winning percentage.