Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Who is that Vendor at the National?

When going to the National, it's nice to see some of the familiar faces and dealers that you've met at previous shows.  But most of the time you have no idea who these guys are.

I've met some great people at the National Sports Collectors Convention just by talking to them at their booth and getting to know them. I had to take the initiave to get to the know them and meet them. I think the National should help with this. It would assist the buyer and the seller.

Promote Your Product
Most of us the people who attend the National are not buying a product made by the people at the National, they are buying products made by the vendors at the National. I'd like to see the National help their vendors provide the following mandatory information on a sign at their booth or via QR Code:
  1. Vendor Name
  2. Vendor website and phone number
  3. Vendor location
  4. Number of years in business
The National can provide them with a sign template to display outside their booth and assist in the creation of the QR Code. This should be part of the mandatory requirements that vendors must do and provide in order to set up at the show.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tweet-up at the National

I've been blogging recently about Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention.

Assuming the National organizers recognize twitter (no evidence to support this yet), I'd like to see them organize a tweet-up. Other than posting prices on their facebook fan page, I haven't seen the National do a lot to hear what their customers are saying.

A National Tweet-up would provide organizers of the National to hear from their buyes.
  • What do they love about the National?
  • What bothers them? 
  • Where could areas be improved? 
These are all great questions anyone selling a product or service would love to hear from potential buyers.

My message to the National:
Use twtvite.com to schedule a tweet-up. Listen to their concerns. Give some door prizes to thank people for their time and interact with your buyers.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Blogger Central at the National Sports Collectors Convention

I'm continuing my blog posts on Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention. Last week I blogged about a Ron Santo charity, simple ticket prices and a free sneak peak.

These are all ways to improve partnerships, pricing, marketing and vendor opportunities with the National. Hitting those keys areas can make the National more than just a sports memorabilia show - it can become a premier conference standard.

My question to the National: Is this the media most influential to your buyers?
The answer: Probably not.

Most collectors and hobby enthusiasts are not referring to page 2 of the ESPN website for their hobby news. They are reading sites like this and this and forums like this. It's time the National made it easier for their most influential outlets to cover their event. They need to have a Blogger Central.

What is Blogger Central? 
It's a conference room with tables, chairs, outlets, free wifi and a place for bloggers to collect their thoughts and report on the National Sports Collectors Convention while they are at the event. Bloggers who want to write about the National should have to request credentials so they can have access to an area to report on their experience. Credentials should include:
  1. Access to Blogger Central room to report
  2. Access to some of the National organizers for interviews
  3. Access to behind the scenes of the National
Some of the blogs may not get the hits and media attention that some ESPN2 writers do, but in my opinion they are more influential to the buyers at the National.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday Night Should Be Free at the National Sports Collectors Convention

Why should we pay $18 for a sneak peak? It makes no sense to me, but that's what the National Sports Collectors Convention keep doing.

The first night of the National (Wednesday) is their "sneak peak" night. I went to the 2009 Cleveland National and "sneak peak" was code for "there's hardly anyone there."

The vendors were not completely set-up and the ones who were, several were not ready for customers. The big name card companies weren't running any promotions and most didn't have their tables ready.

The hours for the "sneak peak" are 4pm - 8pm. Why should we pay $4.50 an hour to attend a half-empty card show?

The "sneak peak" should become a Red Carpet Kick-off.
Let's do this right and do the following:
  • Make the show free on Wednesday Night Only
  • Have Ozzie Guillen, Mike Ditka or a Chicago legend cut the ribbon to open the show
  • Offer special raffle prizes to the first 100 or so people who walk through the doors
  • Team up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation as I blogged about here.
  • Make it mandatory for booth owners to be set-up by 4:00.
  • Give collectors a cheerleader tunnel to run through as they enter the show. 
  • Have a band rock out some music as people wait in line and enter the show. 
  • Run some CCTV of the event with monitors placed in the show.
Change the opening of the show into an event instead of way to collect $4.50 an hour from every collector who shows up expecting every booth to be ready.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

K.I.S.S. The National Sports Collectors Convention Prices

I'm continuing my blog posts on Opportunities for Improvement with the National Sports Collectors Convention. On Tuesday, I blogged about partnership and the opportunity the National has to honor Ron Santo's legacy by teaming up with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. 

We've all heard of the K.I.S.S. method for products and processes (Keep It Simple Stup...). I think the pricing structure for the National needs some adjustments. Right now, just to walk in the door to the National you have to choose:
  • One Day Pass - $18
  • VIP Package - $129
  • Super VIP Package $129
  • All Access VIP Page - $229
  • All Access Super VIP Package $279
Anyone else confused and find this insane? Oh, and this doesn't include any autograph tickets of the big name autograph stars signing at the TriStar autograph pavilion. You have to go their website and purchase that.   

I shouldn't have to create and Excel Spreadsheet to determine what admission ticket I need to attend a card show. It's the same show and the same dealers for everyone, can we cut the VIP, Super VIP, and Really Super Nice But Still Overpriced VIP packages?

Assuming you keep the $18 single day admission price, then offer a full weekend ticket plan for $50 and skip the rest of the items. I love autographs, but the Rick Reuschel complimentary autograph for a VIP ticket isn't worth the extra $100.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The National and Ron Santo's Legacy - Give to JDRF

This summer, the National Sports Collectors Convention should partner with Ron Santo's favorite charity, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).

On Monday I blogged that I would dedicate the next several posts to ways the National can improve. Partnering with JDRF in honor of Ron Santo is a great first step.

Santo was a Chicago legend, a hero to many fans, and an inspiration to millions of Americans suffering from Diabetes.

I'd like to see the National partner with JDRF to raise money for the foundation. Some ideas to do this:
  • Turn the Preview Night (4 hours on Wednesday) to the JDRF night - all admission funds go to the foundation. 
  • Host an auction of memorabilia donated by some of the vendors attending and friends of Santo.
  • Host a dinner after the Wednesday night show to benefit JDRF
There are several things that can be done to raise money for this charity. With the National in Chicago, you have a collection of fans who had a connection to Ron Santo, cheered for him when he played and cried when he lost his final battle. Let's give his fans another opportunity to think of Ron and the causes that were close his heart. The National can:
  1. Provide focus on one cause for one person's legacy
  2. Grab the attention by making it a one night event or proceeds from the entire weekend 
  3. Engage and focus collectors
  4. Make it easy to take action by having an auction, a dinner or proceeds from the weekend donated. 
There is plenty of time to make this happen.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What's the Problem with the National Sports Collectors Convention?

Let's call them "opportunities for improvement."

The National Sports Collectors Convention has started their email marketing campaign, launched some prices and began spamming the facebook fan page. Does that sound familiar? Well, it should. It's the same process and product with problems we (collectors) have received for years.

My next blog posts are dedicated to identifying these opportunities and providing solutions for them.

I really want to see The National do well. I started the original facebook group for The National and along with VOTC, started the twitter hashtag #NSCC for use when discussing it. The next several posts will reveal:
  • Partnership Opportunities
  • Pricing Opportunities
  • Marketing Opportunities
  • Vendor Management Opportunities
I've thought a lot about these areas and how The National can take advantage in them. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Completing a Team Set - 1962 Fleer Dallas Texans

Bill Miller completes m 1962 Fleer Dallas Texans team set.

I love the feeling of completing a page in the sports card binder - especially when it finishes the team set. I started building the '62 Fleer Texans team set a year or so ago. It didn't need to take that long, but I didn't want to over pay for cards on eBay or find some looked worn out.

The Bill Miller card looks very different than others in the set. Most of the cards have players with a odd face and different frozen actions. Miller's card actually looks like he was running a pattern to catch a pass.

Now it's on to the next team set to build. I'm one card a way from finishing my '52 Bowman Large Dallas Texans team set a few away from finishing my '87 Topps Mets set. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Here Comes Cotton Davidson

Cotton Davidson, the quarterback of the 1962 Dallas Texans, nearly finishes my team set.

Cotton passed for 17 touchdowns in the 1961 season and is referred to on the back of the card as a "crackerjack short passer."