Take me out to the ballgame

What could be nicer than spending a gorgeous Saturday night with a bunch of friends at a baseball game?

With that in mind, I found myself in a group of 50 at Lake Elsinore, watching the home team get stomped by the visitors.

With little vested interest in either team, I opted to instead observe the scene unfolding around me.

As you may be aware, Lake Elsinore is the home of the Storm, the minor league A team for the San Diego Padres.

Like something from the movie Bull Durham, this was minor league baseball at its finest. With more seats empty than full, concessions were easy to buy from and restroom lines non-existent.

The stadium signage was also decidedly low-key, with local printers and sandwich shops replacing national brands appearing in MLB venues.

No wonder; Elsinore Storm’s attendance is a fraction of what the Padres generate at any given game. Lower attendance and lower costs put ballpark marketing within reach of smaller advertisers.

Still, their objectives remain the same:

  • Promote yourself
  • Stand out of the crowd
  • Convert prospects to sales

Because while singing “Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack” and the dancing ice cream cones help the concessions, those relying on signage and announcements need to find a different angle.

So imagine my delight when the announcer said “The seventh inning stretch is sponsored by Walker Physical Therapy.”

Here was someone creative enough to connect a built-in opportunity (seventh inning stretch) with a marketable service (physical therapy). Perfectly logical.

You could even see the Padres and other big league teams applying the strategy for national advertisers.

Tonight’s Seventh Inning Stretch is brought to you by Massage Envy.

Your business should also be testing big ideas at small venues.

While distributing imprinted goodies at a professional sporting event may not work for you, you might consider program advertising at the local elementary school.

And I guarantee your church or softball team will welcome your support while you’re reaching out your message to the most likely local sales prospects.

Because in addition to proximity, people want to know you support the same things they support.

So twist your thinking a bit and test an unusual idea to break through the noise. Give out something besides a baseball cap. Offer something unusual that makes sense for your business, and take a risk.

Because it may be so crazy that it just might work.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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