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PART 2 - “The WWE Wrestling-Mark Consumer Lifecycle”

Rating: 3 votes, 3.67 average.
Hi guys, Dr_Cuboid here to bring you Part 2 of “The WWE Wrestling-Mark Consumer Lifecycle”. 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.

Middle Jimmy.jpg

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 Jimmy’s a teenager now. What a crazy time. He doesn’t feel like ‘Little’ Jimmy anymore but he’s still got a long way to becoming ‘Big Jimmy’.

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 Jimmy’s going to find something else to watch.

randy net.jpg
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 don’t like stuff that make them feel like they’re still just kids - they like stuff that makes them feel older, cooler. They’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 Jimmy’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: ‘Old Jimmy’ - 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 “Face of the company” 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 ‘Big Jimmy’ by this stage. Big Jimmy’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 aren’t consuming enough merchandise and this is clearly evident to shareholders via the company’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 they’re buying t-shirts and action figures like crazy his company will be safe. At least he hopes that will be the case, but it’s the safest option in this economic environment.

As time passes, more and more Little Jimmy’s emerge that really connect with the product and it is these “Little Jimmies” that form the core audience of the WWE’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 Jimmy’s grow up, the product adjusts to reflect their lives.

And what about our original “Little Jimmy”, 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 he’ll witness a brand new cycle. Its hard to say because the WWE has only been around long enough to complete 1 full cycle.

Middle Jimmy.jpg

So what do you guys think?

Does wrestling (at least the WWE) follow such a predictable trajectory?

Does my theory only apply to ‘sports entertainment’ or does ‘rasslin’ follow a similar model?

Will wrestling’s next boom phase be similar to the Attitude Era or the Rock N’ 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,


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Updated 04-21-2012 at 12:17 PM by Dr_Cuboid



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  1. akbar's Avatar
    Intriguing read and good analysis, kinda got confused with the jimmy

    and i cant seem to find part 1?
  2. Dr_Cuboid's Avatar
    Hi akbar... I had to split this into 2 Parts due to the size so hopefully the 'Little Jimmies' are a bit less confusing if u read Part 1 first... hopefully that should be visible now, if not I'll keep tinkering with the forum. Thanks for reading!
  3. Sahu's Avatar
    interesting analysis though!!:d
  4. The Ultimate Dude's Avatar
    Brilliant seeing the history of the wwe in marketing form, wanted to do something like this but you've done it better than i ever could. great job
  5. The Piper's Avatar
    wow, good read. This blog is like a marketing presentation.
  6. Docdawolf's Avatar
    Wow I would hire you butI'm a programmer. Please find a woman quick cause you really hit this on the head and for you to have that amount of time to break it down like that is kind of well Scary.

    This was an excellent blog scary but true. I'm glad all I brought was a few Rock Shirts Im in that Geo of 18-41 lol I grew up with that Hulk nonscence Thank God for Undertaker or I would have stopped long time ago.

  7. Darkside Ron Garvin's Avatar
    Reading this, it is excellent to see that other people understand the process of the business aspect to wrestling. I might not have a Harvard MBA, nor do I have a background in marketing, but I do understand how a business runs in general application. The thing that you have highlighted that stands out the most is that the cycle that just completed ran for a course of 20 years before coming full circle. Personally, I feel this is why fans are full of so much contempt for what they are witnessing in the E Universe. The fans that are bitching in the IWC came into wrestling during the high points of the cycle or during the early stage of the decline, which is why they have become sickened much quicker than those during the 80s to 90s transition.

    If the cycle could be completed in say, 10 years... These fans who became die hard wouldn't feel as if they have spent half their adult lives waiting for it to "get back to where it was" but would see the upswings and positive to keep them interested enough to bring their "little jimmies" in the room to watch with them, rather than come home and turn the channel to something else, hence denying the newer "little jimmies" the chance to grasp the feelings for the product that they once had. How this is accomplished is beyond my abilities, but the theory is sound enough to investigate.

    Your idea is spot on, and your examples are remarkable. Had you been in college and presented this to your professor, I feel as though you would have passed the class without issue due to you being able to take something you have a passion for, dissect the business aspect, and not succumb to your emotional attachment to the product itself. Well done.
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