Scratch Sniff Shirt 300 Marketing Lessons from Baseball: Its the Game AND the ExperienceThe wait is finally over. When the Phillies take to the field against the Texas Rangers this afternoon, this long, cold, snowy winter will officially be over. At least in my mind. Months of anticipation will end with the realization of another season underway.

Yes, this is my favorite time of year, with baseball finally underway. I’m looking forward to going to a few games with my family, to perhaps see the Phillies, Pirates, Orioles, and maybe more. And of course there is our local team, the Lancaster Barnstormers, who play just five blocks away from my house.

The one thing I’ve learned over my years of attending ball games is that while the game itself is the important thing, there are so many other things which make a trip to the ball park fun. It’s also the experience that surrounds the game. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and so on.

It’s the joy of a shared experience, enjoying the game with a like-minded crowd, whether it’s of 5,000 or 50,000.

It’s the activities that are constantly going on around the ballpark and between innings. From the Phillies Phanatic having fun, to the sausage or president races at their respective parks, to the unique way a team might celebrate the singing the National Anthem (in Baltimore) or Take Me Out to the Ballgame (in Chicago). Maybe it’s hearing the late Harry Kalas singing “High Hopes” after a game. Then there’s the Phillies’ minor league team, The Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, who will be hosting Bacon themed Saturdays this year, and I already have my bacon logo hat and scratch ‘n’ sniff bacon team shirt, thanks to birthday gifts from my kids.

Yes, the game is important, but the other activities and sense of community are what makes it a real experience. It’s this sort of thing that makes it less a spectator sport, and more a participatory event.

As marketers and business owners, we can learn a lesson from this. It’s not just about our business and product. It’s also about the experience we provide that supplements and enhances what we are already doing.

What can we do to make our businesses more of an experience? How can we create an environment that draws people in? Is there extra value we can add to what we’re already doing?

What businesses do you think are doing a good job of creating that extra experience?