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2015 Best Marketing Campaign: Dayton Dragons, “Heaties”

Dayton Dragons

The Dayton Dragons are certainly one of the top Minor League Baseball teams, and a big reason for that success is a commitment to customer service. A clear example of this is how the team treats season-ticket holders – making 2015’s “Heaties” initiative the best marketing campaign in this year’s Ballpark Digest Annual Awards.

“In the cluttered marketing world of today, it takes a remarkable effort to reach consumers in a unique way,” said Ballpark Digest Publisher Kevin Reichard. “The Dayton Dragons have one of the most successful operations in all of baseball, and the team’s marketing campaign for season-ticket holders is unique and fun. Extending the Dragons fan experience from the ballpark to the home and office is indicative of why the team is so beloved in the community.”

“The Dayton Dragons express our appreciation to Ballpark Digest for selecting our organization as an award recipient for the 2015 season,” said Robert Murphy, Dragons President. “We believe that part of the fun of being a Dragons season ticket holder comes on the day that the tickets actually arrive, and it has been our longstanding policy to create a unique form of packaging for the tickets. Our 2015 season ticket delivery package was particularly creative and an effective means to say thank you to our customers.”

For many sports teams, season-ticket holders are the backbone of sales efforts, with renewal rates an important metric of a team’s performance. Many teams just ship out season-ticket renewals in a plan envelope, perhaps with a thank-you note.

Not the Dragons. Like so much else associated with the team, season-ticket delivery is an event, and every season the Dragons front office adds some fun to the process. In the past, the season-ticket delivery has taken the form of collector’s tins or wooden boxes decorated like a book, all shipped via a professional delivery service.

Dayton Dragons

For 2015, the Dragons came up with a “Heaties” cereal box as the delivery package (“Heater” is the Dragons main mascot). The outside of the cereal box was decorated with Dragons branding messages, nutrition facts of being a season-ticket holder, and a kid’s puzzle page.

Inside the box included season ticket booklets, pocket schedules, magnetic schedule, season ticket holder gift vouchers, a “Season Ticket Holder Owner’s Manual,” as well as a sample of “Heaties” cereal and a secret toy surprise (Dragons keychain).

“A unique offering to season-ticket holders helps build excitement for the coming season and rewards season-ticket holders for their commitment to the team as well,” Reichard added. “It’s all about customer service these days, and the Dayton Dragons prove annually that a high level of customer service creates a high level of loyalty amongst fans.”

The Dragons have received other awards from Ballpark Digest in previous years.  Ballpark Digest named the Dayton Dragons as co-winners of the “Ongoing Excellence” Award for the 2008 season, along with the Rochester Red Wings (Class AAA, International League). This award recognizes organizations that consistently perform at a high level and have no need for a turnaround.

Ballpark Digest named the Dayton Dragons as the 2011 Minor League Baseball “Organization of the Year.” This annual award honors one organization for excellence in Minor League Baseball during the 2011 season. The Dragons were runners-up as the 2010 Ballpark Digest “Organization of the Year.”

Best Ballpark Improvements: West Michigan WhitecapsCharity Award: Quad Cities River Bandits
Team of the Year: South Bend Cubs
Executive of the Year: Eric Edelstein
Promotion of the Year: Ambush Baseball, Brooklyn Cyclones
Organization of the Year: Goldklang Group
Best Major Ballpark Renovation: CenturyLink Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium
Best Ballpark Renovation (Over $6M, Under $20M): AutoZone Park
Best Ballpark Renovation (Under $6M): Dr Pepper Ballpark
Best New Food Item: Sweenie Donut Dog
Broadcaster of the Year: Josh Whetzel

Best New Logos/Branding: Daytona Tortugas
Best New Ballpark: CHS Field, home of the St. Paul Saints

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