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5 Digital Marketing Lessons from the Houston Astros’ World Series Win

It may have taken them 56 tries, but who cares: The Houston Astros are your World Series champs for the first time in the club’s history. The big Game 7 win was huge for the city of Houston, which endured such a trial in Hurricane Harvey over the summer. It was no wonder, then, that an estimated one million people crowded into downtown Houston to bask in the Astro’s glorious October triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

While teams around Major League Baseball are taking plenty of notes on how the ‘Stros went from worst to first in a scant three years, those of us who never made it past little league can still learn plenty from the historic 2017 season. After all, if there’s one group of people who get more excited about championship games than baseball fans, it’s marketers. A lot of money was made during and after the World Series, and not just by the Astros. Let’s take a deeper dive into the marketing lessons that brands large and small can take from the 2017 World Series:

1. Big wins cure big brand awareness problems.

While they’re riding high now, the Astros weren’t always a powerhouse brand, even in their own hometown. In 2014, in fact, the Astros posted a 0.0 television rating for a game against the Dodgers—statistically speaking, no one was paying attention at all. For three straight seasons, the Astros lost more than 100 games. Few bothered to attend, and digital word of mouth was terrible on social media. Now, they’re the talk of the town. More than 31 million nationwide tuned in to watch them win Game 7. Expect ticket prices to jump significantly and still sell better than ever.

The lesson here is that if your business’ team is struggling to get attention and positive word of mouth, it’s time to do something great that can’t be ignored. Start putting wins together and change the narrative.

2. Digital analytics drive sales.

The Astros turned their team around by placing absolute trust in data analytics, and it paid off. Analysis didn’t simply drive decisions on the diamond, however. Data changed the way the Astros market and sell their brand, as well. Halfway through the 2013 season, for example, the marketing staff noticed that attendance and ticket revenue for Friday-night home games was falling short of projections. After conducting a brief survey, they saw that the team’s more casual fans were not aware of the post-game fireworks on Friday nights because the promotions weren’t reaching them.

The Astros re-evaluated and modified the channels through which they promoted the fireworks for Friday-night games in the middle of the season and sold more tickets. That wouldn’t have been possible without digital marketing analysis tools.

3. Locally made merchandise sells faster.

Immediately following the Astros’ Game 7 win over the Dodgers, Houston-area sporting goods stores were mobbed with jubilant fans eager to snap up all of the World Series merchandise they could, especially t-shirts and hats. National chain Dick’s Sporting Goods sold out of many items in minutes. In order to ensure quick restocking, the merchandise was made locally to cut transport times from factory to retail floor. This cottage-industry approach allowed Dick’s and other retailers to sell many more items quickly, while Astros Fever was still at its zenith.

4. P.R. controversies are overridden.

The most controversial moment of the World Series happened with Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel made a seemingly racist gesture in the dugout in reference to Dodgers’ pitcher Yu Darvish, who is, in part, of Asian descent. Gurriel apologized, but irate social media users went after him hard, and there could have been real damage to the Astros’ brand if not for the public goodwill engendered by their win. Even another local sports controversy not involving the Astros—the Houston Texans’ kneeling during the National Anthem—was forgotten in the jubilation surrounding the World Series.

It may not be pretty, but glory and dream celebrations can provide a rare cure to P.R. nightmares.

5. Advertising with a cause drives social engagement.

While television advertising during the World Series comes with astronomical costs, at least one big spender was able to translate their TV spots into social media engagement online. Thanks in large part to its #HR4HR campaign, T-Mobile attracted nearly 195,000 social engagements throughout the series. The telecom giant will be donating north of $2.5 million to hurricane recovery efforts, encouraging social engagement across the nation from people who aren’t even baseball fans.

Could your brand use a boost? You don’t have to win the World Series to do it. Call the pros at Studio Brand Collective today for a free digital marketing audit. We’re kind of like the Houston Astros of digital marketing and branding! We’ll analyze all of your marketing channels and make recommendations for improved efficiency at no cost and no obligation to you. Call us today at (713) 863-1141.

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