Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Promotion of Competitive Paintball as a Commodity, Part 3A

A-ha. Admit it. You've been completely taken by surprise. That's because nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. Or the continuation of a series of posts from back in May. (Part 1 Part 2) But that's how I roll (and the Post-It notes are working as advertised.)

Today's post sets the groundwork for how the major leagues might improve their promotional efforts. To begin I have a few questions. What is it the leagues are promoting now? Isn't their primary effort aimed at promoting themselves? And if it is, is that wrong? Or a mistake? A missed opportunity or a misplaced priority? The reason I ask is because I want to start with a clean slate. No automatic assumptions. No beginning where the leagues left off. It's important to question everything initially. And it's important to come to some baseline conclusions. Before we decide how the leagues might go about their promotions we need to have a firm grasp on what and why.
My view is the leagues have mostly been promoting themselves. Now don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with that as it is a necessary part of the process--but it's only a part--particularly if the Big Picture goal is to raise awareness and interest in competitive paintball as sport. Of course you've got to survive before you thrive but it's unclear to me at this stage if any of the leagues have a conception of how to move past (the oftentimes mediocre) self-promotion that is what passes for promotion at present.
So what else should the leagues be promoting? Do I really have to ask that question? (I hope not.) Even so, in a sense, it depends. If the leagues are content to be the temporary arbiters of format and the means by which the rest of us currently have an opportunity to compete then they don't really need to do anything else--except wait to die when something (and somebody) else comes along to replace them. If they intend to be in this for the longer haul they will have to both adjust and expand their thinking about just how they go about staying relevant in the world of competitive paintball.
The fact is the best way the leagues can promote themselves is to promote the sport and there is potentially so much more to be done than simply try and convince more tourney players to play your events than those who play the other leagues events. It is both helpful and hopeful that the U.S. leagues (at a minimum) are aware and concerned about some current deficiencies but so far there is little sign they have any ideas for dealing with today's problems much less the vision to imagine tomorrow possibilities. (This is, btw, purely from a promotional standpoint and not aimed at the nuts & bolts of actual operation and/or ongoing survivability. That's another topic.)
The way forward for the leagues is to promote competitive paintball as sport. And the target audience isn't limited to other paintball players.

Next time, in Part 3B, I'll highlight some specific ways the leagues can begin to promote not only themselves but the game we play. (And, no, it won't take another month. I hope.)

5 comments:

houdini said...

I'm telling ya'll that my idea to pitch a reality TV show where Bacca coaches a bunch of celebs to compete for a paintball tournament/s is a winner!!!

Reiner Schafer said...

I think if competitive paintball wants to promote itself outside of the already playing paintball public, it should be promoting itself as the ultimate, high intensity combat sport )or something along that line). The days of promoting paintball as a family game that anyone can enjoy are over. Competitive paintball is at the extreme end of an extreme experience. Start an advertising campaign calling those not yet playing the extreme game Pussies. "It's not Daddy's game played for fun anymore. It's a serious, competitive sport, for serious, competitive athletes."

J-Bird said...

i disagree (and also agree) reiner. you have to keep pumping in those soccer moms and their kids to sustain a new player base, but i do agree that the competitive side needs to be pumped up a little, similar to what mma does.

The league needs to promote the sport, the industry needs to promote the game. Right now im comparing rafting and kayaking to paintball, a lot: there are a few extremes. 1. flat water paddling -- a relaxing afternoon with the family. 2. white water class 1-2 -- still a fun, physical afternoon with the family that has some intensity, but is still safe enough for almost anybody to participate in. 3. white water class 4-5 = a very high intense event that is not meant for everybody, but almost anybody over a certain weight can still participate.

I really feel like we have a lot in common with the rafting industry and that we can compare the two pretty well, imo.

Reiner Schafer said...

Yes J-Bird. My reply was for competitive paintball.

But you bring up another issue. The fact that competitive paintball should be much different than recreational paintball and should be marketed totally different. Leave the marketing to soccer moms for the people who need the soccer moms to book their kid's B.D. Party, the recreational fields (and PB Industry can take part as well, since it's in their best interest).

But competitive paintball, in it's current format need not waste resources on promoting to anyone but the adrenaline junkies, who also happen to be physically fit. Why spend efforts on promoting to the segment of the population that isn't going to stick with a high intensity competitive sport once they tried it out? Promote what it is, without sugar coating it.

If you want Average Joe to start playing competitive paintball, you will have to change the format to a version that Average Joe is going to stick with. Then you can spend resources on convincing Average Joe to give it a go. But since that is not the direction that the Big Leagues are interested in going, then go to the other end of the extremity scale, where the current format resides, and market it for what it is, to the extremists that might conceivably be interested in taking part.

Anonymous said...

Baca- Convince us you want a “clean slate”.

Here’s our offer to you- Take action. Stop deconstructing this deadweight mess the PSP and NPPL have created through business misnomers and mistakes, help us build a better paintball and this time next year when we’ve launched, you’ll be invited personally to serve players to the best of your abilities as a professional.

Do we have a deal?

You have one year from the Fourth Sunday in June to decide how and/or accomplish this feat.

You must impress paintball’s biggest fans, the industry’s hardest workers and the most jaded of players with a work of genius and clarity. It’s on your shoulders and you must do so as an individual, alone.

Here’s your chance, an offer, a goal and direction: be the best and we’ll be watching. However, you will not see me trying to convince you any longer of a breakthrough you have yet to have. I shall remain silent from here on in.

Love, Anonymous.