Monday, June 3, 2013

If You Build It, Will They Come?

It's June 3rd and the baseball season is in full swing; but the question of who's in first place and who has hit the most home runs so far is definitely one for another blog.  Still, last week, America's pastime had an interesting development from a marketing perspective.

It came in the form of their baseball caps.  Beginning on May 23, many teams begin taking the field wearing their designated batting practice caps, which were introduced this off season, as opposed to their regular lids. That fact, by itself, is hardly interesting.

However, it was widely reported that Major League Baseball directed its teams to wear the alternate caps during games to spark sales of the frivolous product in stores and stadiums, evidence that Major League Baseball is getting it wrong with its gimmick marketing tactics. Whereas most marketers develop products catering to the desires of customers, in this case, baseball is searching for customers to unload a product no one demanded - another hat variation.

Sport marketers are constantly playing a game of gimmicks.  They tweak and update uniforms and add new alternate looks to boost merchandise sales. Nevertheless, the Yankee and Dodger uniforms have gone unchanged and, not surprisingly, are among the most iconic in all of sports.  There is real power and equity in a team that's united by one look throughout its history.  But the same cannot be said for tiresome tactics of third variations of alternate jerseys and batting practice caps that will be redesigned after a couple seasons.         

Build it and they will come is a myth, both in marketing and in baseball. 

As always, thanks for reading and for sharing.  

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