My husband, my dear, dear husband, is a Titans fan. Yes, we live in Pittsburgh. Yes, we were born and raised in Pittsburgh. Yes, the Titans are awful. I vowed to love him forever, so I support his love for the Titans and decided to schedule a Nashville weekend to see a game for his birthday ((I’ll take any reason to visit Nashville I can!)). This past weekend was that weekend, so we dropped the twins off at G’s, and flew to Nashville for the weekend. After a
drunk fun night exploring Broadway Street (I swear the minute you graduate college, your hangover’s multiply by 101092092x), we woke up Sunday to drag ourselves over to the stadium. Maybe I was the only one dragging, I don’t remember but let me just say I am by no means a die-hard Steeler’s fan, but come on, the Titans?!
For our final blog post, I am going to analyze my Titan’s Home Game experience with my new found expertise (or something like that) in Service Marketing.
Let me just preface my analysis by saying that I’ve attended a few Steeler games in my day, as well as a lot of Pitt games, so I have grounds for some football game comparison.
It’s important to start out with some pre-12/6 home game statistics of the Tennessee Titans. Before playing Jacksonville on Sunday, the Titan’s had a record of 2-9. In 2014 their record was 2-14. Their last home win was on October 12th, 2014 (400 some days ago). Not exactly the ideal scenario for booming ticket sales. Not to mention, I purchased seats 8 rows up from the 50 for ~$130/ticket. That price may get me in the stadium at Heinz (a little exaggeration here, but you get the idea).
Upon hearing those statistics it’s hard to believe there are even people at the games, but there were, and surprisingly fans keep coming. The stadium averages a fill percentage of 90%. This may be close to the lowest in the NFL, but it brings up a great discussion point – the Titan’s (and any service industry) have to be able to identify who their best customers are, especially in circumstances where the “product” may not be enough to encourage sales. In How to Identify the Best Customers for Your Business, the first criterion for success is being able to distinguish what type of customer you have, Transaction vs. Relationship Buyers. In the case of the Titan’s, I would equate the transaction buyers to the single game buyers. Season ticket holders would be the Relationship Buyers. As the article recommends, the Titan’s should treat their single ticket holders differently from their season ticket holders. The single ticket holders, as myself, are not all that interested in long-term solutions, hence, the marketing focus should be on gaining single ticket sales by reducing the cost of one transaction. I would recommend they act on this by offering parking, or food discounts to lessen the cost of the overall game day experience. Additionally, for their season ticket holders, who are more interested in the long term attributes, I would recommend they focus on the experience – separate, shorter lines, season parking passes, as well as ease of selling their season tickets as well. Not living in Nashville, it’s hard to gain experience in a weekend to all the Titan’s marketing strategies, but I did see some in-game advertisements geared towards their season ticket holders.
A second piece to this puzzle, is not just knowing what type of customer they have, but who that customer is. For example, the Titan’s featured several ways to get families at the game involved – Kid’s Camera (looking for kids at the game), Sign Making, Kid’s Half Time featuring Different age kids throwing the football. This ties directly in with Why Customer Participation Matters. This article states that increasing customer participation in their service business is an effective, underutilized tool to increase customer satisfaction. I thought the Titan’s used this appropriately. I do think where they can improve is getting more involvement from different customer segments (i.e. millennials). This can be utilized through social media. The article also states that to be more successful, the customer must also feel like they get some benefit for participation. An example of managing this could be using Instagram, and a hash-tag with pictures to win tickets, or something similar.
Overall, from my “expert” lens, I’d have to say that no matter how effective a team is marketed in the NFL, if they are not a winning team, they will not be a winner in ticket sales. However, I do believe all is not dictated by a winning record, and there is large merit in creating an effective marketing and consumer experience. The Titan’s went on to win Sunday’s game 42-39, and ended a 400+ day home losing streak. I admit that even though it wasn’t the best football I’ve seen in my life, it was rather infectious to be surrounded by fan’s who finally received a win they’d been waiting for. It’s those fans that the Titan’s Team should be celebrating as well — because, well, life ain’t easy being a Titan’s fan.