Eric

Web Marketing Lesson from the Tampa Bay Rays

Est. Reading Time: 4 minutes

On September 27, the Tampa Bay Rays had a chance to clinch just the franchise’s second playoff birth at home. Only 12,000 people – about a quarter of capacity – showed up for this game. Afterwards, Evan Longoria and David Price, two of the Rays’ best players, tweeted that the team was doing everything it could to win and deserved better support. They called the turnout an “embarrassment.”

We can start with how ridiculous it is for a couple of millionaires to call the number of consumers buying their products embarrassing. Nobody is entitled to sales. 12,000 people told the Rays that they had a great product on that Monday night. The rest of the greater Tampa Bay area told the Rays that their product is too expensive, takes too long to produce, is not available on a level playing field, is more boring than other available forms of entertainment, or any other common complaint against baseball. Longoria and Price are guilty thinking that people should pay just to watch them do their jobs. They, or more appropriately baseball’s upper management, should be thinking about how well their jobs are tailored to the consumer.

As ridiculous as it all is, we see similar complaints all the time in webmarketing (my point emerges). I constantly cross paths with website owners/designers who say that they have worked hard on their web site and spent money on its success, but they do not receive the results that their work deserves. Stop to think if that logic makes sense. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. Are you required to buy another business’ product because they have worked hard on it? The work has to be put in the right places.

Is the site showing up where it needs to be? Is it targeted to the right audience? Is it better than the sites offered by the competition? Why should people be visiting it? Here is one more question that is ignored far too often with websites: Does the site represent a product or service that people will want? These are the questions that all website owners need to be asking themselves on a regular basis. You might be surprised how many do not have a great answer.

Admitting weaknesses (or ignorance) in certain areas is not a weakness itself. Understanding our faults shows us where we can improve and need to be able to make adjustments to find forward growth. Remember, if your marketing tactics are currently “perfect” – then your current business represents the peak of what you can ever hope to attain. Now, if you find that your weaknesses and ignorance are common to ALL the aforementioned questions, perhaps it is time to close down the site altogether before it costs you any more money.  But, if you are somwhere in the middle, then you have something which we are always seeking:  opportunity!

Marshall Field made the famous quote “The customer is always right” as a mantra for his department store operations. This quote is total baloney. Individual customers are people, and people are wrong all the time. However, mass consumerism IS always right. If your site is not resulting in the volume that you think it should, it is not the fault of the customers – it is yours. Do not be like Evan Longoria or David Price by blaming the potential consumers for not understanding how great your business is. It will only dig you a deeper hole and ignore the very real issues that you are facing. Understand that lack of business tells you just as much as actual business – and make adjustments accordingly. Hard work (in the right direction) can lead to good business, but it does not entitle anyone to it.

All that said, I worked hard on this blog (well, sort of) – so the internet community better be coming in droves.