I often try to remind marketers that getting what you want is not always about paying somebody off. Act like a human, have a two-way give/take relationship, and you don’t always have to simply outlay cash.
The Green Bay Packers put a call out to their fans to help them clear snow and ice off Lambert Field. 300 people showed up to help out.
Green Bay – Daryl Hearne’s ears perked up while he was watching the television news Tuesday night. The Green Bay Packers needed a citizen shovel brigade to clear snow from the stands for next week’s playoff game.
By 8:30 a.m., he was inside the stadium’s iron gates, armed with an official Packers-issued shovel and grinning ear to ear. And this was not an idiot’s grin.
The joke, after all, was on the Packers – Hearne had arrived expecting to work for free, but the Packers were paying the shovelers $8 an hour. “I thought they just wanted volunteers,” he said. “I just love being here in Lambeau Field.”
The Packers needed help, and the fans wanted to feel like they were part of the team. Win-win.
Of course, typical corporate thinking is to hear a story like this and ask “Why can’t we just fire the snow clearing staff and have these fans do it every time?”
The call to bail the snow out of Lambeau does not come too often.
Ted Eisenreich, the Packers’ director of facility operations, said the famously snowy game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1985 was the first time the team used public muscle on a such a large scale to scrape clear the frosty metal bleachers. He estimated the Packers have put out the call maybe seven times since. The last time was four years ago.
That’s the key. They don’t call on their fans all the time. They do it only when they honestly need the help. We’ve all seen a movie where one person gets laid up in bed with a bell they can ring to have the other person help them with something. Pretty quickly that bell becomes annoying and makes the helper think twice about volunteering.
Working with fans or communities, as you’ll often hear me saying, is about buildng a relationship. And just like a relationship with a spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend, you have to find that right balance between giving and receiving.