Last night, I took my family to see a minor league baseball game in Troy, New York. We saw the Tri-City ValleyCats play the Hudson Valley Renegades at Joe Bruno Stadium. The ValleyCats are a Single A farm team and compete in the New York-Penn League. They are affiliated with the Houston Astros. We attended the game because the ValleyCats gave away a 1994 Mariano Rivera Albany-Colonie Yankees Bobblehead Doll to the first 1,500 fans in attendance. Mariano pitched in 9 games for the Double AA Albany-Colonie Yankees in 1994. The ValleyCats did a great job recognizing Mariano Rivera, one of the games greatest and most respected players in baseball history. Mariano represents everything that is good in professional sports. The Valley Cats drew 4,631 fans on a comfortable summer evening.
It had been several years since I last attended a ValleyCats game. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience last night. I would recommend that anyone attend a ValleyCats game. The ValleyCats worked very hard to deliver a great fan experience. Single A baseball is all about the fans and their experience. A major league baseball game is essentially all about the star power of the players and the team. The Valley Cats management understands that they are in the customer experience business.
The ValleyCats face an interesting marketing challenge. The players change every year. There is often plenty of player turnover during the season. Mark Appel, the number 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft pitched two games and five innings this season for the Valley Cats and then was promoted to Quad City. The ValleyCats use the tagline “From the Joe to the Show” to promote the players like Ben Zobrist and Hunter Pence who played for the Valley Cats and made the Major Leagues.
The ValleyCats mission is to Create “Fans for Life” by creating an experience that is affordable, fun and entertaining while in a safe and clean environment. The ValleyCats have increased attendance in each of the past nine years because they have created a unique and fun fan experience. Fans are entertained by on-field promotions, mascots, fan recognition and the opportunity to be close to the players. An added touch is a fan experience survey that is front and center on the home page of their website. The Valley Cats are interested in feedback and using that feedback to improve fan experience.
Good customer experiences are useful, easy and enjoyable. A positive customer experience creates a strong emotional connection with your customer. A positive customer experience creates a much stronger emotional connection than traditional advertising messages. The ValleyCats understand that minor league baseball is all about fan experience.
Can you share with me a brand or business that you have encountered that delivers an excellent customer experience?