Twenty-first century marketing has seen massive changes in the way all types of businesses connect with current and potential customers. The sports memorabilia field is no different.
New Jersey-based Just Collect is eBay's largest seller of vintage sports cards and memorabilia, and while they can build lists of clients' contact information through buying and selling online and at the numerous major card shows they attend each year, they're now reaching out through social media to attract new clients and keep their current customers engaged.
"We are always looking for ways to bring in new bidders and consignors and this seems like an important growth opportunity," said Just Collect partner Scott Greenwald.
While they're just getting started with their Facebook and Twitter pages, it was a YouTube video that jump-started the process. Dipping into their inventory of vintage unopened packs, Greenwald and partner Leighton Sheldon posted a vintage pack busting video featuring an old Exhibit card pack produced decades ago.
Such a pack is just rare enough to attract attention and after posting a link to the video on a forum or two, it generated over 800 views in less than two weeks. It didn't hurt that some Hall of Famers popped out of the pack.
"Obviously, most of the unopened packs that we sell are on consignment," Greenwald explained. "However, when we do own packs, we determine whether to open them or sell them unopened based on the simple question of risk and reward... what is the likelihood of the value of the cards inside the pack being greater than the value of the opened pack itself? We do a lot of research to estimate the value of the cards inside the pack before we open it, but when it is time to open it, it is a lot of fun."
Next, the company plans to open a 1966 Philadelphia football cello pack that could include rookie cards of Dick Butkus or Gayle Sayers.
The hope is that collectors who see the video will connect with the company via its website or at least through various forms of social media, helping build on the company's brand and expand its reach.
At the heart of it all, though, is marketing that's a lot more interesting than printing flyers or sending out emails. Greenwald believes it's the fun factor that helps engage like-minded sports fans.
"There are not many jobs where responsibilities include opening packs of cards that are 50-plus years old."