CMO Q&A: Jacqueline Parkes, Major League Baseball (Extended)

Jacqueline Parkes, Major League Baseball CMO, talks to Lindsay Stein about how social media has been a game changer for fans.

Jacqueline Parkes, Major League Baseball CMO, talks to Lindsay Stein about how social media has been a game changer for fans.

What was new this year for MLB?
The best part of about working for Major League Baseball is that it's a live product and every day, every hour the product is changing.

We launched a very aggressive All-Star Game campaign with our partner Fox and called it The Pledge, where the players for the American or National League pledging allegiance to the league and the fans. We launched the campaign at the Fan Cave in New York City and had players come down to the cave itself.

We had tremendous social interaction with the fans with Facebook Q&As and Twitter polls. We had Yankees' Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano answering fan questions and calling fans directly.

The campaign helped drive an overall viewer increase as 7% more people watched the game. We had a nice increase in the Home Run Derby viewing, which was up 3%, and attendance is up almost 5%.

How does social media fit in?
With the nature of a baseball game, you're watching for three-plus hours.

Whether you're watching at home on TV, on your iPad in a park, or at a bar, you're communicating and usually on more than one screen.

We're looking at fan input and do a trend report every day, taking that information and sharing it with PR, community, marketing, and with P3, our production company for all things Fan Cave.

We're able to modify creative or develop new ideas based on the needs and wants of the fans and we're seeing really solid results from that.

It's great as it's the fans giving us their input, and that's the best case scenario.

How does marketing and PR work together?
In the role of communicating to the fans, we're all working together, so it's really important that we're all in sync and we all listen to each other's point of view and expertise.

PR may be reaching a different constituent, but everyone is a fan of the game. With social media being what it is, we literally work together every day around the clock. 

Tell me about the off-season.
When I started at baseball, there was a season and an off-season, and with the convergence of media and events being what they are today, baseball has no off-season. We have the awards announced immediately following the season, then players are talking about who is going to get traded or become a free agent, and then there are winter meetings. This year, on top of all of that we have the World Baseball Classic, which will be even more of a global impression both in traditional media and social media. We'll have the Fan Cave continuing.

We celebrate that there is no off-season anymore. We look at new and dynamic ways to engage with our consumers and because of things like the Fan Cave we're able to be nimble enough to evolve our plans in real-time.

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