As I’ve mentioned before, I come from a marketing background. It’s what gave me a basis for all my analytical work, and why I find the “business” side of hockey just as appealing as the “play” side of hockey – I’ve always been curious about how and why people spend their money.
A lot of people think marketing is just putting together advertising campaigns like in Mad Men, and while ads are certainly an important part of what marketers do, it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Think of marketing like this – psychology, but for profit.
Through marketing operations, companies are attempting to create an emotional connection with their audience in order to influence the purchasing patterns and pricing thresholds of that audience.
This is what brings me to the NHL and how it differs from most of the professional sports leagues in the USA. I say USA a) because Canada’s markets are much smaller for the ‘Big 4’ (one MLB team, one NBA team, CFL instead of NFL) and b) hockey is “their” game, so the marketing for it is going to be different and omnipresent.
Why does that matter in the context of this series? Well, Canada has 7 of the 30 NHL teams, but not even half the population of the United States. Given that these articles are focusing on how to grow the game, looking at a saturated market like Canada isn’t going to help much. When you already have ~90% awareness* amongst your target audience, adding more marketing dollars to convert and retain fans brings slim returns on investment (ROI), and therefore I will be focusing specifically on the USA in this series (though many points are relevant across the border too).
I am going to break this series out into three parts I wish the NHL would specifically address in their grand scheme to “Grow the Game.”
Part 1: Humility Culture, Player Branding, and Getting ‘Em While They’re Young
Part 2: Marketing to Women Isn’t About Political Correctness, It’s About Making Money
Part 3: Speaking French is Romantic, but Speaking Spanish is Lucrative
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