PART 2 - “The WWE Wrestling-Mark Consumer Lifecycle”
by, 04-21-2012 at 11:15 AM (2619 Views)
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.
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.
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.
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,