April 19, 2021

Developing Customers ... and Merchandise

One of the "trick" questions I'm asked is this ... "Who does Customer Development well, and what specifically are they doing to develop customers?"

Why is this a "trick" question? Because of the response I get after I answer the question. After I give a response, I'm frequently told that the answer is a "bad example" or is "not applicable". It's the way that many Professionals make sure that they don't have to change anything ... all they have to do is point out a small flaw in an idea and feel superior.

Sports is a place that develops both customers and merchandise. Sports does this way better than e-commerce does.

In baseball, you have a feeder system of Rookie Ball, Class A (low and high), Class AA, Class AAA, and then the Major Leagues. Aside from the fact that MLB exploits the athletes, paying them at or below minimum wage levels for the hours they put in, the product/merchandise is developed so that by the time the players are at the Major League level, they perform at a HIGH level, causing their play to (theoretically) be more entertaining, causing more fans to want to attend, causing fans to be developed.

NASCAR has a similar system ... Trucks / Xfinity Series / Cup Series. Drivers and teams are developed, so that they are able to perform at a high level when they get to the Cup Series. Fans are developed as well. Why travel to a track to see one race when you could see 2-3 races on any given weekend? NASCAR benefits from the additional fans by generating $40ish additional dollars from 10,000 of the die-hard / most-developed fans.

I know, I know, you're going to tell me that this doesn't matter ... that those are event-based industries and you are selling in an omnichannel manner 24/7/365. 

But why can't you incorporate event-based activities into your tactics? Why can't you do that? And why can't you develop merchandise around those events and develop customers as a consequence?

Why not you?

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