10 Nov 2009

Change or Die

It is a Herculean task to create, implement, manage and evaluate an entire marketing program. I know. I have implemented several. From strategy to tactics to vendor management, it is tough.

The Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club has implemented a new one this year. At least, they have improved on it from last year anyway. I am a huge hockey fan and an avid supporter of the Avalanche. I was lucky enough to attend the 2nd game of the year and in a luxury box, no less!! That specific game was promoted as the game where the club would unveil the new Avalanche mascot. The Avalanche had another mascot several years back, but “Howler”, as he was known, disappeared all of a sudden.

So I realized what the Avalanche were doing during that game. They were changing their marketing plan. Up until the recent past, the Avalanche had sold out every home game. That success coincided with the fact that they had made the playoffs every year and were a serious contender for the Stanley Cup. Last year, they had their worst season in franchise history and ticket sales fell exponentially. Since they obviously have a very competent, knowledgeable and resourceful marketing team, they recognized that they couldn’t continue with their same marketing plan. Without the team winning on a regular basis, people tend to not want attend (I hate to use the phrase “fair weather fans”, but….).

Currently, they are positioning ticket sales as the “Avalanche Experience” and attempting to sell each game as a complete night out on the town. They are heavily using promotional tactics to add value to a ticket purchase by segmenting each promotion. One night is a family night that has 4 tickets, 4 drinks, 4 pizzas, etc while another segment is targeted at “Guys Night Out” with 2 tickets, 2 beers and 2 t-shirts.

The lesson that they illustrate here is the need for companies to change their marketing strategies and tactics based on market conditions. Riding the wave of a successful hockey club will only last as long as they are winning. And that won’t last forever. As of this writing, the Avalanche are still struggling to sell out games, but it is still too early to tell whether or not the current strategy will be a complete success. But, if they continue to evaluate the success/failure of the program they can change and tweak the program to improve it along the way. That is a very important (if not the most important) part of any marketing plan. But that would be another post altogether.

Think about your company’s strategies and tactics. Are they taking market/product/price conditions into consideration and making the appropriate modifications? They should.

Go Avalanche!


Adam is a graduate of Colorado State University (bachelor’s degree in marketing), and he has experience on both the client and agency side of the marketing world. These experiences led him to come up with a unique, more efficient business model, which he’s incorporated into Encite Marketing. Adam sets the strategic direction for all Encite projects, developing integrated marketing campaigns that bring results. He takes a consultative approach with clients, educating them about how the process works, and keeping them in the loop about end goals, steps, and tasks.