Sunday, November 20, 2011

Don't Lie, Your Worldview is Your Worldview

Spring break fits a worldview. It's fun, crazy and we (well, when I was 20 at least) have to be there.

The worldview of most who like Starbucks compels them to pay $3.50 for a coffee they could get at work for free.

There are many more examples.

What worldview does racing fit? It depends on who you ask.

To me (and probably you), it's fun, interesting, entertaining, enthralling, competitive and a joy to be around.

To a PETA or WWF member it's bloodsport.

To a poker player, it's a gambling game for suckers.

To a college kid it's boring.

To a pure sports fan, it makes no sense to cheer for brown animals, when they can watch Sidney Crosby instead.

You get the picture.

The problem is, for the growth of the sport, or as a gambling game, the PETA types, college kids and poker players et al, are a target market in some way. There is not enough me's and there are not enough you's, (and some of folks like the PETA crew cause us problems.)

Seth Godin in All Marketers Are Liars speaks about the inability (or fallacy) for an industry or business to use marketing to attack one's worldview, especially when that view is entrenched.

If we market to a poker player a message of the 'great value he gets at the track', he'll laugh at us. He's heard the old saying "you can beat a race, but can't beat the races", and knows 25% takeouts are virtually impossible. If we market to a college kid selling him some sort of sizzle, he won't buy it for a second. He knows it's a half hour between races, either from trying racing or hearing about it from his friends at one time.

Godin says it is virtually impossible to win these people over by marketing.

What he does suggest, is to change the product instead.
  • "If changing your offering is the best way to get your message to spread, then that's what you should do instead of whining about how hard it is to get your message out"
I think he's correct. It's why I have never been a proponent of throwing marketing money as a panacea; because we would be targeting people who will never listen to us. We have to change our product first.

How about running a 4 in 48 at the track with some giveaways to attack the college kids' worldview that we're too slow?

How about building a low takeout exchange to attack the poker players worldview that this is a game for suckers?

I am sure you can think of many other things to try.

At that point I submit we'd run into the second problem: We'd have to convince a racing executive or horsemen group to change something that is probably completely at odds with their worldview (we can't lower takeout, we can't change whipping, we can't decrease time between races etc).

We're not the first business or industry -nor will we be the last- to suffer from the above symptoms. When we are dealing in worldviews change is very, very difficult.




1 comment:

Alpha Link said...

I don't know what the Australian model is (in terms of rake, promotion, ease of access etc.) exactly, but it seems to be thriving there, maybe because of their peculiar genetic inheritance though, so maybe that should be looked at. I have no doubt that they have as many gambling options as we do in NA, but racing is a booming business there and in NZ (never mind SA, S America, HK, Japan, Europe generally). It would be imperative to isolate a "market niche" for horseplayers, say, appealing to the ego, promoting them as clever as well as lucky, and of course chopping the rake to make it less of an uphill battle... The essential ingredients are large pools with the possibility of a jackpot pay (Pick 6 or 7 carry), easy access to video, whether TV or net, ease of playing (no hassle account and outlets all over the place) and generous media exposure - look at the idiotic lotteries, a rake that's 50% or something and they keep raking it in! As long as we infest this planet gambling will not die. Racing is thousands of years old and still kicking in most of the world, and I suspect it could be here if the field was leveled somewhat, and the slots security blanket was ripped away from the track operators. Complacency is poison.