Best Way to Show Customer Appreciation Is to Connect with Them in the Feels... Make Emotional Connections.
Marketing Lessons from a $9 Baseball at the Checkout Counter...
Sometimes, I write something from the heart and a lot of bells go off in my head.
After years of introspection, self-reflection, meditation, prayer, (therapy), whatever you want to call it, I'm fairly self-aware.
And when you are self-aware, you can see all the tracks running toward the train station at the same time. But the trouble with that can be staying safely on the express railway and not getting completely derailed.
I posted this in Facebook last week after a visit to a basketball game in Tuscaloosa, and it triggered a lot of thought about marketing lessons. Unfortunately, or fortunately - depending on your viewpoint, I see marketing everywhere.
If you don't, take a closer look. It's all marketing.
Read my post and then we'll discuss it at the end...
Why a $9 Baseball Made Me Cry!
Charlsa and I went to Tuscaloosa yesterday for a basketball game (what a weird one it was...) and we got there a little early. So we stopped at an Alabama gear store called AlumniHall.
It was an awesome store with great stuff...
But at the checkout counter, they had a basket full of baseballs (all with the BAMA script A on them instead of Rawlings). When I plucked one from the basket and rolled it around in my hand, I got tears in my eyes.
Instantly, I was transported back to my playing days - from age 9 to 48, I played baseball (not softball) and I was a pitcher, 3rd basemen, and left fielder - in that order.
All those days of standing on the mound, holding the ball, caressing it until my fingers found the right spot on the stitching, feeling the heat of summer, the smell of the well-oiled glove, and the dust of late August... it all came rushing back to me...
The anticipation of the ball spinning toward the glove and the batter swinging and missing...
Baseball was my first love. I quit the boy scouts because summer camp interfered with baseball.
I wore out a spot on the cement block wall in the garage where I grew up as I pitched to a chalk-lined strike zone with a rubberized ball because it would bounce back to me.
I sat soaking in the bathtub 35 years later as Charlsa peeled my blood-stained ball britches off, gently from where raw skin had dried in the blood. I never learned to slide properly (but it didn't stop me...)
Or the ribs I broke when I chased a foul ball at full speed into the fence.
I loved every minute of playing baseball.
I don't have a glove or ball anymore. I gave them to my oldest grandson when he was ready.
But when I picked up this ball in that store and walked around, it all came back. I felt a sense of familiarity and comfort that I hadn't known I was missing...
Until the tears welled up in my eyes.
"How much for the ball," I asked? "$9," the young girl responded.
Paying $9 for a trip back to the best memories of my life - that's a bargain in anyone's book.
This ball now sits on my desk. And when I want to feel good, less stress, more connected, or magically transported, all I have to do is pick it up. Roll it around until my fingers find the seams.
And instantly, I feel the thrill of that sidearm-screwball that scared the hell out of a right-handed batter.
Marketing Lesson #1
So, I seemed to be lost in a time past in my life, one that I was just remembering fondly.
But can you guess the marketing lesson that popped into my brain as I was writing this?
This was the first thing...
I wish I could connect with all my prospects emotionally to a feeling the way I connected with that ball.
That connection just swept over me. And immediately, I thought, "I need this ball."
The store, AlumniHall.com (that's the online version of the brick and mortar we visited), had a ton of opportunities to connect.
Marketing Lesson #2
Not everyone connects the same way...
My wife connected with a sleep shirt - and it was on sale at half price. That's how she connects - practical, frugal, without a lot of frills.
"I need something nicer and more comfortable to sleep in," she thought. "And I don't want to spend a lot."
Her's wasn't a visceral emotional connection, but a practical "need" that she identified.
Marketing Lesson #3
"Have a lot of lines in the water," my old mentor Mark Hendricks used to say. "The right bait finds the right fish."
Mine was a connection to time past. Hers was a connection to something she needed.
How are you connecting with your customers? Tell me in the comments below.
David Perdew is the CEO and founder of NAMS - the Novice to Advanced Marketing System. He’s a journalist, consultant, and serial entrepreneur who has built one of the most successful and fastest-growing business training systems online today called the MyNAMS Insiders Club.
The Novice to Advanced Marketing System is a step-by-step system focusing on Team, Training and Tools to help novice to advanced business people build a Simple, Scalable and Sustainable business.
He took a year off in 2003 to personally build a 2200 square foot log cabin in north Alabama where he and his wife and two dogs and a cat live on 95 acres of forest with four streams and 60-foot waterfall.
The NAMS team includes his daughter, Jen, who is an email marketing and automation specialist. Jen runs the day to day business and is one of the primary trainers in our MyNAMS Insiders Club.