Staring You Right in the Face
“Pitchers and catchers. Pitchers and catchers.” As I slipped and slid down the thin coating of ice on my driveway this morning, I kept repeating it like a mantra: “Pitchers and catchers reported this week. Pitchers and catchers. There will be a spring. Pitchers and catchers are in camp.”
Right now, however, both spring and those pitchers and catchers are far away from our New Jersey base, where it hasn’t stopped snowing since the groundhog predicted an early spring, and where local sports fans are focused on hockey and basketball.
The state basketball tournaments are about to begin, to be followed in a couple of weeks by nationwide March Madness, making hoops the main subject in the sports sections (except for coverage of the New Jersey Devils for hockey fans such as my colleague, Samantha Lake).
My own most recent basketball experience was at a local grammar school where fourth/fifth and seventh/eighth grade boys and girls teams were playing. It was a fun afternoon in a bandbox gym with the parents and friends of both teams mixed together on the small bleachers on one side and the two teams on the other. While looking across the court, I noticed a poster board sign taped up behind the home team, proclaiming: “Let’s Go Knights.”
The faint markers used made it a little hard to see from that distance, but it caught my eye because it was the only spot of color against the battleship gray cinder block wall. And it made me think about how much more exciting it would have been for the teams if there had been some large, colorful printed banners behind the benches.
There were probably upward of 300 parents from several communities in that gym during the four games that were played that afternoon. And I’ll bet that many of them were local businesspeople. They were all facing this wall the entire time they were there, a captive audience, with no place to go and little else to look at during time outs and halftime.
What a great marketing opportunity it might have offered a local printer with large-format capabilities who could run off a big “Let’s Go Knights” banner in the school colors and give it to the home team to display―of course, with a clearly visible, “Donated by ABC Printers of Anytown,” line beneath it.
Sometimes the best marketing effort is the one that hits closest to home. And sometimes opportunities present themselves in places we ignore or overlook because they seem so familiar or commonplace. But marketing doesn’t have to be big or expensive. It just has to be an effective message to the right audience.