A few days ago I was at the new Yankee Stadium for the first time. A very impressive ballpark and a very impressive use of media to put up an entertainment show around the game. What was also impressive was the pricing; not only of the tickets, but of anything you can buy at the stadium. Is it just me or is nine dollars for a beer really a bit heavy?
However, fans in other sports aren’t off any better. A report issued last week by Team Marketing Report found that the average cost for a family of four that attends an NFL game is $420. Leader in this category is Dallas, where the family has to pay $618 (these prices include two small draft beers, four small soft drinks, four regular-size hot dogs, parking for one car, two game programs and two least-expensive, adult size adjustable caps). Watching the two home games of the month cost this family probably as much as their rent.
I don’t want to talk too much about how US sports events are priced, as I did so a couple of times before, e.g. in my last post about stadium parking, but when I came back from the game, there was a discussion on TV about if there needs to be a change to the Major League Baseball schedule to make the season more attractive. The talk was pretty boring as it was mainly around the question of how many games there should be per Playoff round (I wish they would have read my article “How to strike out boredom” on the same subject). But in the light of my experience in the Bronx shortly before I heard one sentence in the discussion that really struck me: “Each game more equals more money”.
It wasn’t the fact, as this was anything but a new finding, but the boldness of how it was expressed. It’s all about earning money. If you go to a baseball or a football game, you are not left in doubt about this fact. Teams (better: franchises) have no issue with telling customers what they are after.
In the world outside of sports, I have seldom seen this in that clarity. Companies tell their customers that their want to make the world a better place, offer great products and service, are committed to sustainable development or simply good partners. Very few say “hey, we’re in it for making some bucks, too”.
Maybe companies or individuals might be afraid it might have a negative impact on their image, make them look greedy or ruin the good relationship they have with their customers.
I think that’s a mistake. Customers don’t live in la-la-land. They are also active in the market place, they also sell products or services and they also have to earn money.
Not hiding that you target is to earn money is straight forward and fair as it brings the discussions to another level. It’s talking about a deal now, talking about what really matters in the interaction.
Now, the customer is in a position to ask for something in return. “Now if I pay you this much and you earn lots of money, I want this and this from you…”. This down-to-earth kind of discussion is a lot more difficult if you just talk on a “good relationship” level.
It’s no secret and the customer expects that making money is one of you goals, but speaking out the target brings clarity to all negotiations.
If you go to Cowboys or Yankees stadium and are unhappy with the entertainment you get, you will complain. It’s a fair deal, as you know that you can demand a sound, professional product in exchange to helping the franchises earn money.
Telling what you want is simple, straight forward and helps, yet we are afraid of doing it. Why not simplify our customer relationship?