Thinking Outside the Batter’s Box


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An item on the sports page of Wednesday’s newspaper caught my eye. I’ll summarize for you…

“The Milwaukee Brewers teamed up with the National Prostate Cancer Coalition and the Medical College of Wisconsin to provide free digital rectal exams before last night’s game against the Washington Nationals. Men were examined on a first-come, first-served basis in a 13-metre rolling doctor’s office. The first 50 men to undergo screening received a voucher good for two tickets to a future Brewers’ game.”

What is going on here? What’s a professional baseball team doing giving fans the finger? Umpires maybe, but now fans?

But seriously, folks, what a brilliant idea! What a great example of an organization that truly knows its customers; now knows them intimately, you might suggest. Also a great example of what I call the creation of meaningful value.

The late Peter Drucker once observed that the essential role of the firm is to create value. But value can be created in so many ways it’s often a challenge to create value that customers find truly valuable. We inside the firm may think something that we offer or have planned is valuable, but the customer may disagree, in which case it tends to fall flat. To create meaningful value, a company must really understand its customers; must know what’s important in their lives and what will strike a chord with them.

I’d suggest the Milwaukee Brewers have a pretty good grasp on at least one segment of their customer/fan base. Old guys like me grew up playing ball and still love the game. But we are also in that group of aging males that is at the greatest risk of contracting prostate cancer. What creative genius in the Brewers’ front office thought to connect these two dots?

By offering free examinations, the Brewers created a meaningful experience, however uncomfortable for the guys who went through the process. They encouraged some of their strongest supporters to look after themselves; subtly suggesting that they really care.

That to me is a lot more meaningful than Bat Day!


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