Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The (tuesday) Monday Poll in Review

Mea culpa. I confess. I had an ulterior motive in posting last week's (tuesday) Monday Poll. Oh sure, I was (and am) legitimately curious about what y'all think about best means to begin building up paintball's grassroots again, but ...
But I was also interested in how quickly and/or easily an idea turns into the conventional wisdom and how much staying power it has.
In response to the question: What is the best way to sell paintball to the public? The answers were rather predictable and, of course, Reiner was correct in the comments when he suggested the alternative 'All of the Above' as it isn't really an either or situation. I also confess I'm undecided about what the number one answer really means. A full 50% voted 'Take a friend to play.' Is that because it's been a popular (and oft-repeated) rallying cry or is it because it's something any individual baller can do? It's probably popular because it's something anyone can do--unlike, say, get paintball on TV or produce a webcast. But I am very curious as to what the real numbers would look like. Call me cynical but I'd be amazed if 50% of those giving that answer had actually made the effort to follow thru. I also found it fascinating that magazines, internet & videos didn't score as high, collectively, as did social media. As no fan of social media I find that something akin to a sign of the apocalypse and I wonder if there is any real way to collect usable data that would either confirm or deny social media's utility. It's certainly all the rage. Webcasts garnered 9% which is probably unrealistically high although I do think webcast has the potential to get the competition crowd fired up. 15% still believe in the power of TV--and rightly so, I think, although what is really needed is a "Making the Team" kind of reality show not unlike "The Ultimate Fighter" show(s) on Spike which have done a remarkable job expanding the base of interest in MMA. Finally, in an ironic twist only 1% voted video game(s) whereas once upon a time the whole industry and media were overwhelmed with excitement over the potential for the first Greg Hastings offering to be the paintball equivalent of a free crack sample, just a taste, to get new players hooked. Just as the newest version of the game is being released nobody believes it has that power anymore.

Nows the time to offer future poll suggestions as we are headed for the off season and I is tired. Regardless The Monday Poll (s) will return when there's an interesting topic for the majority of you lazy slackers to ignore.


Reiner Schafer said...

I took the poll as asking what is the best feasible way to sell paintball to the public. Yes, a 100 million dollar TV advertising campaign would be highly affective, but of course not feasible. The only way paintball can make it on TV, that is feasible from paintball's side, is if a network puts it on for free or perhaps even (gasp!) pays us for the privilege. But since they can't seem to find a way to sell it to the viewing public, I'm going to keep suggesting that people invite their friends out.

Actually most of the marketing for our field is geared to that end. We (my business partner and I) are constantly giving out free passes to just about anyone we talk to telling them to grab some friends and come out and play a day of paintball on us. We also sell cheap books of passes (i.e. 10 passes with rentals and lunch for $40 - $300 value) which we know inspires people to buy and share with their friends. It's marketing that works. Well!

houdini said...

Given that paintball TV exposure globally is limited to the odd entertainment program, sports segment or news item, paintballers are using social networks like facebook, twitter and youtube to do their bit to spread the word about paintball.

While it may not effectively 'SELL' paintball in terms of new participation, it does educate and expose paintball to a non-paintball audience, which is half the job of selling the sport and social networks at least offer a free marketing avenue for paintball businesses and squads.

Let's talk numbers - the average paintballer on Facebook has say 300-500 on their friends list. If we can assume over 10 million play paintball worldwide (I'd say many more) and half of these are on Facebook, then that's about 40 million people exposed to paintball simply through Facebook.

Selling paintball to people doesn't necessarily mean having them play - they can still promote, support and buy into paintball without playing. You can see this in the surfing industry with surf fashion being purchased by the masses, not just surfers.

I voted for TV because it reaches the greatest audience - without TV paintball event promoters and teams cannot get the corporate sponsorship $ they need to survive and grow, Without TV the sport is limited to exposure on the web and the odd newsprint article.

Mike said...

Reiner I've never been to your field (still should make the trip out at some point!) but is that marketing to increase your business? Or the sport? Or do they go hand in hand in your eyes. I know your field has lost some players to speedball, yet I've also noticed at the Cage players have been lost and go back to TNT for the experience they had there.

I voted the Bring a Friend to Play option as friends often voice interest in tagging along and trying it out and so I have had friends come and enjoy it many times. The #s of them that continue to play are however low...

Reiner Schafer said...

Mike, there is no difference in my eyes. As a local business, I don't have a lot of power to increase the sport globally. I do what I can to increase the participation at my business. Unless we are participating in price wars with our competitors (which we don't do), the marketing we do is to attract people to play paintball (preferably at our field of course). But eventually many of those people try other local fields as well, so overall it helps everyone in the area. Before we entered the local market, the local fields did very little marketing (basically none) and paintball had not grown significantly in years in these parts. Within about 3 years of our opening and marketing efforts, paintball participation had more than doubled in the area and increased continually after that. That's growing the sport. Locally. But nevertheless, growing the sport. If paintball grows locally everywhere, we'd be in good shape. I think the manufacturers/wholesalers finally figured that concept out a few years ago and have tried at least to some extent to help local fields and brick & mortar stores, because those are the people doing the marketing on a local level, where it counts most.

As far as the Cage and speedball locally are concerned, they have never really been marketed at all to the general public. Having the owner come onto the local paintball forum and expressing that we need more teams in the area does diddly squat.