Another Point to ponder
While my last post was about customer service, this one will be about your core customer.
Now I'm a computer guy and a fairly decent hand with a camera and I've been partners in a Tack Shop since 1994. I'm also a sports guy and I've been listening to a bunch of coaches crying about how the fans aren't loyal. So here in lies the rub.
Our tack shop use to donate lots of "stuff" to junior and local associations as well as others. Only two people ever said thank you! Springer, New Mexico Junior Rodeo and Dodge City Pro Rodeo. So here we've been doing business for over 14 years and we can only remember 2 thank you's and they were both paying customers. Wow never heard a stinking thing from people we HELPED! Why? Are people so self centered that they thought they where doing us a favor? Umm, honest you could have saved us a lot of time and effort. At least if I had put the stuff I donated on E-Bay I would have made money. Guess what we no longer donate a thing let alone a dime!
So now as I scan the landscape of Professional Rodeo Associations what do I see. The people who helped them get where they are, are being forgotten at an alarming rate. Do you remember when your association started? How many Stetsons, Resistols and Bailey's filled the seats? Do you think a chunck of us cared about other sports like NASCAR? Fish sure if it's me, golf, you bet or you buying? But now when I go to these events I feel like I'm not wanted, by the event. The new "fans" your hoping to draw sure don't want my Straw or Silverbelly in their way. After all I'm just some stupid cowboy who thinks he's important because he has a camera. Your new fans words not mine. When I ask nicely for permission to cover an event I feel like I am getting the cold shoulder, I guess I should shoot for some hack website or some local newspaper who only wants a viewable wreck shot instead of shots that promote the sport for a rodeo periodical. I see traditions being uprooted and loyalties being thrown out lock stock and barrel.
So as I sit here contemplating whether or not I want to shoot rodeos in 2009 or try to change my business and attempt to make money doing weddings and such. And thinking do i really need to concentrate my IT business in Agriculture? One last thought enters my mind, if 10-12 years ago we had shown these associations the same loyalty would they be where they are today? Could guys be making millions of dollars? Could the breeding industry be as huge as it is with out the fans screaming and following the super star animals. One, about us RODEO photographers how many of us, if we had aired the dirty laundry we all know could have put a dent in the sport and not in a good way? Don't know about you but I don't think rodeo needs a TMZ or Entertainment Tonight type of vibe following it.
So I say to some of you, before you jump on the NASCAR fan model, you'd better think that there is a core fan base out there. Make us mad and when you pull into the small town and need seats filled you might not get so lucky. Oh yeah and that 99 point ride in BFE minor leauge event with some kid who JUST got picked up by your name brand sponsor, well too bad the picture didn't get taken. Ain't saying I'm just thinking.