Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez helped get his teammate Jean Segura voted into the 2018 All-Star Game. (Photo via Seattle Mariners)

TAYLOR’S TAKE ON THE WEEK IN SPORTS TECH: It took t-shirts, bagels, placards, hashtags, autographs, coffee, gift cards, videos, photos, and a lot of sore thumbs. But an all-out marketing blitz by the Seattle Mariners baseball team this week to help get infielder Jean Segura into the All-Star Game was a home run.

Segura on Sunday was named a finalist for the American League’s Final Vote competition, which put five players up for a fan vote to fill the remaining All-Star roster spot. Segura, ranked second in MLB for total hits this season, earned 13.6 million votes and on Thursday was named to the All-Star team.

What happened before that was a marketing lesson in using digital and physical strategies to generate action and excitement around a common cause.

“Jean is our guy. They love him in the clubhouse; we love him; and our fans love him,” said Gregg Greene, senior director of marketing at the Mariners. “We weren’t going to give anything but 100 percent for him.”

Each season, Greene and his colleagues in the front office prepare for the possibility of having a player in the Final Vote, but this was the first year it happened to the Mariners.

The organized chaos kicked off Sunday morning when the team was notified that Segura was among the finalists, with the public announcement set for 5 p.m. that day. Staffers from the team’s marketing, public relations, digital production, and other arms huddled at Safeco Field to sketch out the roadmap for getting their guy into the All-Star Game. They developed a slogan, worked on a t-shirt design, ordered thousands of signs, and created a social media hashtag: #SendSegura.

“It was an all-hands on deck effort,” said Camden Finney, senior marketing manager with the Mariners.

The marketing effort extended to the clubhouse, too, with players and coaches wearing the t-shirts and tweeting their own call-to-actions for their teammate. They also signed memorabilia for giveaways that helped garner more votes for Segura.

The Mariners also worked with local businesses, partnering with companies like Alaska Airlines, which let the Mariners put “Send Segura” t-shirts on all 180 seats of a flight to Los Angeles, where the team was playing the Angels this week.

It worked deals with Blazin’ Bagels and Caffe Vita, giving customers free items when they showed that they voted for Segura.

The team also went off-script. Finney came up with a spur-of-the-moment idea to organize a “Segura Fest” at Safeco Field. After a few late-night texts with her colleagues, they made it happen.

“You can go beyond the plan,” said Greene.

The buzz went beyond baseball, as politicians and other top athletes also took action.

Greene gave credit to the fans around the world who voted online from their computers and smartphones.

“It really shows the power of social media to galvanize a community and fanbase around a common cause in a short period of time,” he said.

Segura expressed disappointment after he wasn’t selected to the initial All-Star roster as an automatic selection. But by Thursday, he was all smiles thanks to the efforts of the entire Mariners organization and fanbase. Segura will join teammates Nelson Cruz, Mitch Haniger, and Edwin Diaz next week in Washington D.C. for the Midsummer Classic.

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