As another baseball season unfolds, it’s amazing how much the sport benefits from its spring training schedule. What if your business could sell tickets to a stadium to watch your product development team work up a new laser beam or a next generation smart phone?
Baseball may have the best business model ever devised to generate revenue before a product reaches the mainstream market. While warm winter weather in Florida (Grapefruit League) and Arizona (Cactus League) plays a role, along with spring vacation schedules, no other professional sports league enjoys such a fond embrace of warm ups, muscle stretches, pitching sessions, and fielding drills.
The National Football League may be the closest competitor, though its preseason games lack the charm of attending, say, a Tigers-Yankees game in the middle of March at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida. As for pro hockey and pro basketball, forget about it. Fans wait for the “real” season to start before plopping down $150 or more on a good seat, hotdogs, nachos, beer, and peanuts.
In the business world, the vast majority of product introductions are the result of a sizeable investment. But wouldn’t it be nice to make some money before hitting the main stage? What if Apple, for example, could figure a way to charge people money for an exclusive look inside their design labs as the next iPhone, iPad, or a yet-to-be-revealed iWatch or iSpecs comes to life?
The point is, as companies prepare a new product or service, they should record the action. At the very least, video and photos become new content for a company’s website, and naturally complement the product roll out. You can even use a close up photo to tease the introduction — automakers and Hollywood studios may be the best practitioners of such enticements. And we all know the longer people stay on a given website, the better, even more so if your company can sell banner ads.
Along those some lines, consider adding more webinars to your site, along with posting them on YouTube or Vimeo. You can send all your new and potential customers an email with a link. That cuts down on business trips to individual customers, but I don’t advocate passing up trade conferences. With that many “dedicated” fans in one space, the ability to land new deals, meet new customers, or tap industry experts over the course of three to four days is priceless.
So the next time you develop a new product or service, be sure to record the action. It could be a vital hit as you round the bases to profitability.