April 7, 2014
Is Your Customer Base Going to Age Out, or Die Off?
Major League Baseball has a major league problem: A large portion of its audience may be dying off in the next decade or two. Essentially, the audience for professional baseball may be aging out. Have you considered the age demographic of your audience – and whether or not they’ll age out from your brand completely? Will they age into a new audience category that doesn’t relate anymore to your PR messages? Read on for some PR takeaways you can do today to build a stronger audience for tomorrow.
We all know that acquiring new customers can be more expensive than taking care of the ones you have, but if the largest percentage of your base is from the Baby Boomer generation, you need to be taking action to attract a new audience (or deciding how you’ll grow with your audience) if your brand is going to survive.
Major League Baseball is an excellent example of how important it is to seek out an expanded audience and nurture them into the next generation of consumers willing to spend their money on baseball-related products and services. Bloomberg Businessweek looked at data from last year’s World Series and found that around half of the television viewers were 55 or older. That’s a fairly startling number, but no more so than the number that says only six percent of television viewers watching the game were younger than 18. Furthermore, Sports Media Watch looked at the viewers from the entire last season focusing on FOX, ESPN and TBS networks and found that the average viewer was over the age of 54.
PR solutions toward your aging audience and your brand:
1. Figure out where your audience wants to connect with you, and don’t just assume to know.
Professional basketball, hockey and football all have viewers younger than baseball. MLB can mine the data to know exactly where its current audience is interacting with them, and where their desired expanded audience is getting its sports info and updates. Part of this will include getting into the nitty-gritty research of where and how 20-somethings and 30-somethings interact and engage with the brands they follow. Top PR trends indicate that accurate data is key, more than ever, and this includes knowing what engagement platforms the audience that’s aging out is using, too (don’t overlook them; instead know their interaction habits well).
2. Go where your targeted audience is and start offering your brand message on their terms, now.
MLB is noticing is that as this demographic ages, younger people aren’t replacing them. Solution: Rather than try to force a new demographic into absorbing the sport through a non-preferred medium, MLB is branching out with other mediums, including apps. This allows their fans to take in a quick snippet from a few games, rather than commit hours (two months or so, to be precise) toward sitting in front of the television. Recognizing this, MLB has developed the At Bat app, which enables viewers to stream games on their mobile device. It’s been the most popular sports app in the Apple Store since its release in 2008 and is helping fans of all ages stay on top of the news and highlights of their favorite teams.
3. Ask for input, both from the current audience and the audience you want to target.
Connect them if you can. Looking at your brand, do you know where you stand with your aging demographic, and more importantly, with the younger audience? Inviting their input using a strategic PR campaign could reap big recognition in everything from earned news coverage to savvy or humorous video campaigns to serious social media buzz that spans generations.
Our suggestion: MLB can bring the two groups together around a shared passion for baseball and a sheer love of the game. Let the younger audience interact with the audiences who grew up gathered ‘round black and white televisions, and might have been lucky enough to peek their head over the wall at a game of legends. Let the younger audience rally around their definition of what makes a true MLB hero today. Results could mean an expanded audience that’ll be eager to carry the torch as one audience ages out.
Want to hit a grand slam when it comes to restocking your audience? Contact Axia Public Relations today and we’ll start on a game plan that makes your brand unforgettable.
– Jason Mudd, APR, is CEO of Axia Public Relations. He is an Emmy-Award-winning accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur. His public relations portfolio includes work for established national and emerging brands such as American Airlines, Budweiser, Dave & Buster’s, Brightway Insurance, Florida Blue, H&R Block, Hilton, HP, It Works!, Miller Lite, New York Life, Pizza Hut, Ray Charles, Southern Comfort, Verizon and more. Connect with Jason on Twitter at @jasonmudd9 and Axia Public Relations at @axiapr. Be sure to tweet and share your thoughts below. We’ll read and respond to each of them.