SaaS marketing lessons from the New York Yankees

Connecticut has no major league baseball team of its own, so it splits its loyalties between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. The boundary between Red Sox Nation and the Yankee Universe meanders through the state in a fuzzy line that runs roughly northwest from Old Saybrook to Canaan. I grew up on the New York side of the boundary, and am still a devoted Yankees fan… though I’ve lived in Boston for more than 25 years.

This long-standing dedication explains my recent pilgrimage to Yankee Stadium. (That, and the fact that getting tickets to see the Yankees play the Red Sox in Fenway Park in Boston is about as easy as securing a seat on the space shuttle.) Joined by two Red Sox fans (my son wearing his Youkilis jersey!), an Oriole fan and a fellow Yankee fan, I drove to the Bronx to see the Yankees play the Detroit Tigers in a day game.

I came back with a sunburn on my nose, a renewed appreciation for the new Yankee Stadium and – surprise - a couple lessons that are useful for software-as-a-service (SaaS) marketers.

Market the entire experience

Not being particularly familiar with the Bronx, I was worried about parking on game day. Not to worry. Immediately upon buying my tickets online, I was directed to a site to make parking arrangements. It automatically recognized the date we’d be attending a game, presented a selection of parking lots adjacent to the stadium, and allowed me to reserve and pay for a guaranteed parking spot.

Along with the bar-coded reserved parking permit, came driving directions, relieving me of my second concern: how do I get there?

And I received a reminder about parking and directions in an email the day before the game.

Someone within the Yankee organization has actually thought through the entire fan experience. It’s much more than the game that goes on between the foul lines. It extends into the parking lots and up the Major Deegan Expressway.

SaaS marketers should think the same way. The user’s experience with their solution is much broader than the features and functions that they’ve built into the product. It extends to the way the solution is sold, deployed, accessed, configured, supported, upgraded, and renewed. SaaS providers should market all of those benefits - the entire customer experience - as part of their value proposition.

Establish an on-going relationship

The day after the game, I received a “Thank you and Game Recap” email from the Yankees. It included the box score, links to video highlights, and a schedule of upcoming games. They also asked for feedback on my experience.

Lesson two for SaaS marketers: Stay in touch with your customers. Loyal, connected customers will provide useful input on product enhancements, serve as more valuable references and advocates, and will be more likely to renew their subscriptions.

By the way, the Yankees beat the Tigers that day, 11-5.