What XM Satellite Radio Should Be Doing at the World Series

On the heals of my post yesterday about Story-crafting I can't resist commenting on XM Satellite Radio's plans to market to baseball fans by passing out coupons good for their portable receivers to all 40,000+ ticket holders to game one of the World Series in Chicago on Saturday.

This is old school marketing where the marketer tells the story and the consumer has to listen and respond in the narrow way as prescribed by the marketer. In fact fans who received the coupons have to buy at least three months of the $12.95/month service to get their radio. Way to build a nice barrier to entry XM. It's passive buy before you try marketing.

What XM Should Do

It's all about sampling the content not the hardware. By simply giving out coupons they don't allow potential customers to do either.

XM should:
-Develop special one station receivers to give to every fan on the way into the game.
-Partner with MLB and Fox to provide the best content possible.
-Do pre game and post game programming to cross promote XM content.
-Produce the game coverage with as much listener participation as possible. Use fan interviews, call-ins, contests, trivia quizzes, etc.
-Allow fans to trade in their receivers for discount coupons good for discounts on hardware and service.
-Consider broadcasting to those receivers that aren't turned in for a week following the game as further promotion of XM content.

A freebie that's got a hidden cost to it is doomed. You're bait and switching potential customers. Those prospects will feel cheated before they even hear the content. Pay per use media needs to be all about sampling. You don't buy a car without test driving it. You don't buy concert tickets to bands you've never heard before. What makes them think people will sign-up for audio content they have never heard before?

A single use sampling of the experience provides true motivation to buy. If customers feel that they can participate in the creation of the consuming experience they will take ownership and passionately evangelize the product, service or experience.

Bask in headlines like these, XM, because that's all you're likely to get out of this promotion.

Satellite Radio Outfit Outfits Baseball Fans

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October 20, 2005 in audio publication, Award winning publications, Brand enhancement, Current Affairs, Sports, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Customer Intuition: ESPN Considers Branded TVs

Masthd_logoThe NYT reports that sports network ESPN is considering extending it's television brand into TV hardware.

"Brand value will become more important than ever, as consumers are now fragmented to such a great degree that brands must build a new relationship with them," he [Disney President Robert A. Iger] said. "Content will remain king, while technology will become its powerful prime minister."

The network is also considering the possibility of offering special content to owners of its TV's. As digital televisions begin to enter the market with standard Ethernet connections and built-in hard drive recorders (called personal video recorders, or P.V.R.'s), there will be more opportunities for content providers to offer programming to a captive audience.

"An ESPN-branded TV could arrive tuned to ESPN," Mr. Doherty said. "It would be dumb to send out a TV with a built-in P.V.R. if the P.V.R. was empty."

The decision to do a brand extension is based on customer intuition. The central question being "Do you think customers of product X would be interested in product Y?" This assumes an informed intuition regarding one's customers.

I think the failure of brand extensions is not usually the design or quality of the product itself it's the failure of customer intuition. Companies make leaps of logic hoping to lead their customers into new products and services and the fail miserably. They need to be one or two steps in front of their customers instead of five or ten steps.

In the case of ESPN the last line of the quote is intriguing. Perhaps instead of rebadged middle of the line TVs ESPN should focus on custom content packages for PVRs. That would be a better first step because the sports obsessed fans that ESPN wants to market TVs to already have the best TVs they can afford. They may or may not have a PVR(Tivo). Either way they can still download ESPN content into a PVR.

If ESPN wants to reach further into the lives of their customers they should develop deep intuition about the other interests and passions of their customers.

How are you developing deep customer intuition in your organization? Are you considering a line extension that makes a leap of logic like ESPN's content to hardware? Are you one step in front of your customers or ten steps?


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June 15, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Current Affairs, Sports, Television, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Know Any BlackBerry Toting March Madness Fans?

If you, your significant other or even your best customer are a college basketball fan and a RIM BlackBerry user here is the must have app this month. Get this to thy email app!

From BB Hub:

The NCAA basketball tournament brackets have been announced. It's possible your alma mater is one of the contenders.

If so, you'll be interested to learn that mobile device software information service Pocket Express has launched a "March Madness" feature in its $19.99 a year Express Sports feature. March Madness will show you game matchups and real-time, running scores from the NCAA Men's tournament.

As part of Express Sports' content package, March Madness is available on the BlackBerry 7210, 7230, 7280, 7290, 7510, 7520, 7730, 7750 and 7780.

To access March Madness, launch Sports, then select "Basketball (NCAA Men's)." Choose the the "Weekly" schedule option and then click on theĀ game you wish to know the score of.


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March 16, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community, Sports, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack