PART 2 - â€œThe WWE Wrestling-Mark Consumer Lifecycleâ€
by, 04-21-2012 at 11:15 AM (2846 Views)
Hi guys, Dr_Cuboid here to bring you Part 2 of â€œThe WWE Wrestling-Mark Consumer Lifecycleâ€. Thank you for clicking on my post, but If you haven't already read Part 1, please go back and check it out first as it is a single blog.
So lets start where we left off. I believe we are currently entering Phase 2 of the lifecycle, which I have termed the 'Middle Jimmy' Phase.
Again, this period is characterised by slightly edgier storylines, more tweeners gaining popularity and more violence in matches. This is done in order to reflect the changes occurring in Little Jimmy's personal life.
The emergence of a character like Goldust in 1996 may correspond to this era which if we look back in time, was really a turning point in the direction of the WWF, transitioning slowly from the 'New Generation' to the era of 'Attitude'.
PHASE 3 Big Jimmy (18-35 year olds)
Little Jimmyâ€™s a teenager now. What a crazy time. He doesnâ€™t feel like â€˜Littleâ€™ Jimmy anymore but heâ€™s still got a long way to becoming â€˜Big Jimmyâ€™.
Wrestling is no longer what it once was and no longer holds the same impact as it used to. Things need to change or else Jimmyâ€™s going to find something else to watch.
Marketing 101 Case Study : Years ago, Nokia tried marketing a range of cell phones specifically to teenagers. It was a tremendous flop. Why? Because teenagers donâ€™t like stuff that make them feel like theyâ€™re still just kids - they like stuff that makes them feel older, cooler. Theyâ€™d buy the cell phones marketed to adults. Vince McMahon, MBA (Harvard) understands this concept very well.
It is during this phase that we see a full tilt shift in business operations and the target market OFFICIALLY switches to the 18-35 demographic.
Little Jimmy is intrigued. Wrestling suddenly got cool again. Friends who stopped watching are watching again (as teenagers). Not only that but Little Jimmyâ€™s older brother in college actually thinks its pretty cool too.
Thus, we get the attitude era. ECW was really a case of right place right time. They targeted the frustrated and disillusioned 18-35 year old WWF castoff fans and gave them exactly what they wanted. It worked perfectly. Vince McMahon, MBA (Harvard) understood this very well, resulting in the Attitude Era.
PHASE 4: â€˜Old Jimmyâ€™ - Milk the Big Jimmy cash cow as long a you can
By this Phase the product will have been targeted towards 18-35 year olds for a number of years already. New stars will have emerged, rotating â€œFace of the companyâ€ superstars will have had their moment to shine and the company will have gone through several periods of growth and decline.
Little Jimmy is now officially â€˜Big Jimmyâ€™ by this stage. Big Jimmyâ€™s friends who briefly got back into wrestling during its re-emergence in popularity start to drop off and wrestling is no longer as cool anymore.
The company is still targeting 18-35 year olds though and storylines and matches are still fairly edgy to appeal to the target demographic.
New 6-12 year old or pre-teen fans will always be attracted to the product and consume the merchandise line to keep the E afloat. But they are still not the target audience.
The 2002-2006 Ruthless Aggression era I believe corresponds to this Phase.
PHASE 5: Back to Little Jimmy
Vince McMahon, MBA (Harvard) realises that the 18-35 year olds arenâ€™t consuming enough merchandise and this is clearly evident to shareholders via the companyâ€™s financial reports.
He realises that it is time to go back to basics and start to target new 6-12 year olds. Will they be as loyal as Big Jimmy? Who knows, but Vince McMahon, MBA (Harvard) realises that as long as theyâ€™re buying t-shirts and action figures like crazy his company will be safe. At least he hopes that will be the case, but itâ€™s the safest option in this economic environment.
As time passes, more and more Little Jimmyâ€™s emerge that really connect with the product and it is these â€œLittle Jimmiesâ€ that form the core audience of the WWEâ€™s marketing campaigns.
Marketing 101: It is much easier to market to your existing customers than it is to attract new ones.
Vince McMahon, MBA (Harvard) understands this very well so as these Little Jimmyâ€™s grow up, the product adjusts to reflect their lives.
And what about our original â€œLittle Jimmyâ€, Big Jimmy? He either stops watching wrestling altogether, or watches with disdain, hoping patiently (or not so patiently in the IWC) that the product will change so he can recapture the magic he felt when he first became a fan.
Maybe if he sticks around long enough heâ€™ll witness a brand new cycle. Its hard to say because the WWE has only been around long enough to complete 1 full cycle.
So what do you guys think?
Does wrestling (at least the WWE) follow such a predictable trajectory?
Does my theory only apply to â€˜sports entertainmentâ€™ or does â€˜rasslinâ€™ follow a similar model?
Will wrestlingâ€™s next boom phase be similar to the Attitude Era or the Rock Nâ€™ Wrestling Era or something completely different?
Thank you for reading (or more likely skimming through) this really long blog. (padded out further with images).
I hope you enjoyed it and I look forward to hearing your comments.
All the best,