MLB Teams Dropping the Ball on Promotional Products

Tulowizki Shirt ErrorMajor League Baseball teams are racking up errors off the field this summer.

At least two promotional giveaways have gone wrong: The Colorado Rockies misspelled the name of their best player on a T-shirt. And the Detroit Tigers called its best player the National League MVP instead of the American League MVP on a bobblehead doll.

In the Rockies case, the team had T-shirts printed with star player Troy Tulowitzki’s number and name to give away to fans at a game. But the shirt makers missed the second T, and no one caught it, so the team gave away 15,000 "Tulowizki” shirts.

In the Tigers case, the team had 10,000 Miguel Cabrera bobblehead dolls to give away. Cabrera won the American League MVP in 2012 and 2013. But his wobbly-headed likeness carried a National League MVP plaque.

Who's really dropping the ball?

Professional sports associations like Major League Baseball understand how they can leverage the power of promotional products to attract attendance and they’re doing it more than ever. As a result, giveaways are more prevalent than ever before, so perhaps it’s not surprising to find teams dropping the ball on promotional products more frequently than in the past. But who’s really drMiguel Cabrera Bobblehead Erroropping the ball? Many would say the distributor, whose job it is to write the right order. The right business management software can go a long way to preventing such errors.

Let’s make the safe assumption that a couple of franchises each worth several hundred million dollars practice the fundamentals like artwork proofing and quality control in their business processes.

It still could have been a human problem where someone did the proofing, but just whiffed. Tulowitzki is the kind of name that looks misspelled even when it isn’t, and the font on a plaque small enough to be carried by a 6-inch figurine isn’t easy to read.

Software could have earned the save

But it’s also very possible that software, more accurately the lack of software and proper business processes, are at the root of the problem. These errors come down to execution. Outdated, obsolete software will contribute to the problem or at least fail to stop it. Mandatory steps like proofing are part of the process, which means process workflow automation should be in place.

Here’s how the right software could have helped:

-- The best business management software doesn’t just carry out business processes, it helps enforce the rules you set for your business. If a mandatory process like proofing was skipped, Essent business management software would have flagged the transaction before it was too late. It’s one thing for software to help get a job done. The next level is software that helps get the job done AND helps ensure it’s error-free.

-- If the Rockies or Tigers bought these promotional products from distributors via ecommerce, a visual product configurator would have helped. Essent ecommerce software provides real-time product images that change as the buyer makes changes on the website. The WYSIWYG approach turns the purchase order process into a first proof itself. The visual product configurator would have provided an extra chance to set eyes on the problem.

The baseball errors really aren’t much different than the errors that happen every day in promotional products: a typo in an address gums up shipping, the wrong decoration gets placed on a mug, sales and purchase orders are without required information. But with sound business rules in place and the right software to help enforce those rules, everyone can have error free performances.

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