July 20, 2015

Technology Or Toilets?

It doesn't really matter what the marketing problem is these days, the answer is always technology.

A great example is in the sports world. Many professional and amateur teams have been suffering from decreasing attendance. They're losing customers to that dead old thing -- television.

This is particularly true in college football. Millennial college students just don't seem to want to go to football games.

So what are teams doing? They're investing millions in technology.

Every new stadium is being built with increasingly complex and advanced connectivity. Every old stadium is being retrofitted with millions of dollars worth of technological wizardry.

A little over a year ago I spoke at a conference of major professional and NCAA sports enterprises. One of the dominant themes of the conference was "fan experience" and the critical role technology plays.

According to Forbes...
"Smart technology solutions provide opportunities for greater fan engagement."
According to Cisco...
"Fans go to a live event to be part of a tribal experience: to connect to the action, to connect with their favorite stars, to connect with other fans...they want to share their experiences and interact with their friends and the global fan community on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media while they’re at the event, not after."
Only one problem: It's all bullshit.

As usual, the marketing techno-lemmings are all wrong and the insufferable clich├ęs about millennials are also wrong.

According to an article in last week's Wall Street Journal...
"...a new survey by the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators and Oregon’s sports marketing center... asked almost 24,000 students across the country to rank the factors that influenced their decision to attend games...by far the least important was a stadium’s cellular reception or wireless capability. 
"At Michigan, ...among the seven possible improvements to the game-day experience...students ranked cell reception last."
"At Ole Miss... fans said before last season that mobile web, apps and email access were the three least important of 53 elements... the most important things for fans coming to the game are parking, restrooms and concessions.” 
"One of the shocking things that schools have learned is that...students currently care more about clean restrooms than fast Internet. In the recently released Oregon study, which surveyed students across all five power conferences, fans ranked cellular connectivity last on their wish list."
As I said here over a year ago,

"It is remarkable to me how much time is spent on technology voodoo and how little time is spent on solving the real problems of real customers."


Jim Powell said...

That's just a bunch of facts strung together to make a coherent point Bob. That will never do. Did you, or did you not, use to work in advertising? I wonder some days. #youjustdontgetitdoyou?

steakandcheese said...

What if it's a clean urinal that's connected to the internet and tweets whenever you're taking a piss? Innovation right there.

Sell! Sell! said...

Good to have you back, bob.

Cecil B. DeMille said...

I wonder if any of these nitwits have ever actually been to a sporting event on the scale of a college football game?

Jeffrey Summers said...

Yeah but it was too damn long. I've been in withdrawal ever since.

Tim Parry said...

Of course, it helps if your DOESN'T suck either.

Stephen Eichenbaum said...

Sorry. i rarely disagree with you. But anecdotally, as a Bucks season ticket holder for 36 years, I can attest to how important those cellphones are at games, especially to the millennials.It pisses me off, as i have to listen to their insipid comments and allow for their dumb-ass selfies all game long. They're like assholes on vacation who photograph everything and experience nothing. The questions asked by the Wall St. Urinal are poorly written. I assume a good internet/cellular signal is present at every sports venue, which is why it doesn't appear to matter. It is taken for granted.

urbanviking said...

Gee, I don't know. Connectivity at the games is good enough in pretty much all the major venues. Maybe the problem is the contemporary music and multimedia effects during the game. The show competes with the game for sheer volume and glitz. It's too hard to use your tech with lights, video, and sound blowing your brains out the whole time. I'm with Valentine on the tribal experience thing for the most part. You can't tweet or facetime about the (game, latest episode, awards show, etc.) if you're not sharing time and space, or at least time, with your homeys.

And really, nobody likes to stand in a puddle of someone else's weewee in the john, especially the females.

Of course, wasting time in line for crappy stadium food doesn't really make the cut among the discerning 20-somethings, either, even if you can get a Starbucks and an artisanal hogie on ciabatta.

Ray said...

Gives a hole new meaning to "livestream."

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geoff said...

This strikes me as the same type of research where we learn that porn isn't a top priority on the web.