I know a few things about mass marketing, having done a fair bit of it over the years. One principle is: Don’t throw good money after bad. Or, at least, don’t throw cash at a product you have little confidence in, or perhaps one that you have no long-term plans for.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to browse through the mailer just sent out by the Oilers to season ticket holders. The glossy booklet is accompanied by a very positive, forward-looking letter from the classy Patrick LaForge, Oilers President & COO, contains a marvelous DVD of Ryan Smyth‘s retirement game, and is filled with photos of Oilers players. Oh yeah, it also includes new, higher season ticket prices. But we can talk about that another day.
Study who made the cut, in that booklet, and who did not. Prominent in this key marketing campaign to a valuable season ticket base are the four whiz kids whom Craig MacTavish identified as “the core”, in his year-end news conference: Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle and Justin Schultz. I’ll be truly surprised if any of the 4 get moved over the summer. MacTavish has already stated the hockey reasons for that. Clearly, these 4 players are also the faces of the Oilers, going forward. So, perhaps take those Jordan Eberle trade rumors with a healthy dose of suspicion.
Andrew Ference, Ben Scrivens and David Perron are also in there. Hmmm. The inclusion of the Captain, the #1 goaltender, and the club’s leading goal scorer from the previous season also make good common sense. There are even a couple swan-song shots of #94. Nice touch.
Also featured? None other than #89. There he is, Sam Gagner, prominently stitched to his chest the “A” bestowed upon him by Dallas Eakins. What? The same Sam mentioned in so many trade rumors? Yep. The same.
Absent? Nail Yakupov. Interesting. The team’s most recent #1 over-all draft pick is nowhere to be seen in a document sent exclusively to Tier I fans, asking them to spend their hard-earned bucks on the promise of better times ahead.
Is this kind of analysis an exact science? Well, of course not. For one thing, a wise man once said that everything is for sale, for the right price. After all, this is the organization that once traded the best player who ever lived. Surely we understand how this works, by now.
All I’m saying is that marketing dollars are an expensive investment. They are seldom spent carelessly, and not without substantial strategic thought in advance.
Read into that…what you will.