Opening Day

Ah, Spring.  The magical season filled with birds, flowers, young love, and Major League Baseball Opening Day. It is the beginning of a long 162-game regular season. The old saying goes, “Every team is going to win 50 games and lose 50 games and the whole season is played to find out about the other 62.”  I believe that does not paint the entire picture.  Yes, most clubs will win 50 games and lose 50 games. But, they will also split another 50 games. The truth is the balance of their future rests squarely in the hands of 12 games.  That’s it.  12.


In 2009, Seattle Mariner fans were buzzing with excitement. Ken Griffey Jr. returned to Seattle and lit a spark with an Opening Day Home Run.  The Mariners won 10 of those pivotal 12 games, finished with 85 wins and hope for a bright 2010 campaign. The next year, the Mariners lost all 12 of those games. This led to Manager Don Wakamatsu being fired and brought an end to the career of Ken Griffey Jr.

The 2014 Mariners won all 12 of these pivotal games. That’s right, 87 wins, 12 games over .500. Mariner fans thought Lloyd McClendon and his old school ways would lead to post-season play the following year.  It was not to be. The M’s went 1-11 in these 12 games in 2015.  The result was brutal - the firing of the coaching staff, the management staff, and almost the entire 25 man roster. 

Think about it – the future of an entire organization determined by such a small percentage.

In business, when it comes to winning with a customer, many organizations fall into the same trap. They allow a small percentage of their advertising budget determine their future.  Standing in the gap between customer satisfaction and customer defection is the cheapest on-hold solution they can find. On average, companies invest less than 1 percent of their marketing budget for on-hold advertising.

You’ve been on-hold.  You know what less than 1 percent sounds like.  It sounds like your team lost all 12 pivotal games.  It’s boring, sterile, repetitive and frustrating. It sounds like it’s time to make a change.

In baseball, the key to success is simple: Increase the percentage of games that impact your season. Win those 12 games and that 8 percent creates hope. Consistently win just three more games and you are a 90-win ball club, the benchmark of success for any Major League Baseball franchise.  The increase from 8 percent to 10 percent is small but the impact is powerful. 

The key to winning with callers is similar.  Increase the percentage of your budget allocated to on-hold advertising.  The on-hold experience can be a powerful tool in facilitating the growth of your business. Invest a little more time, energy, and resources in your on-hold advertising and create a positive customer experience for your callers placed on-hold. 

Opening Day in Major League Baseball is magical because it is a fresh start for every team and every fan. Increase the investment in your on-hold advertising. Your business, as well as your customers will benefit from this fresh approach. I can almost hear the voice of James Earl Jones from ‘Field of Dreams.'

Baseball has marked the course of time. But, Ray…this on-hold advertising program reminds us of all that is good about your business.  Customers will come, Ray.  Customers will most definitely come.”

Tom McTee, Super-Genius

Tom McTee