My Business Networks

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

WWE Slams Sports Competition with Superior Fan Experience

When it comes to marketing in sports, WWE is the gold standard. More than any other sports entity, WWE presents itself at every local and national level, producing more than 200 live shows worldwide annually. In marketing, maintaining and broadening a sports entertainment empire, WWE's dominance can be attributed to its most important asset, the FAN.

With a perfect 99-influence rating, Klout’s social media analytics declared WWE the most influential sports brand in social media. The company ranked in the top 6 of the most influential social media brands in the world. For the past two years, WWE’s flagship show, Raw has been ranked as the top 5 most socially active primetime shows, with almost 1.5 million social media mentions per week. WWE content influences 11 major social media platforms and the company has acquired more than 375 million combined followers. 

WWE has used social and digital media to adapt and stay relevant in the fluctuating sports and entertainment industry.  The publicly traded company continues to produce original digital properties and through the use of rebranding, it continues to maintain its primary audience while finding innovative ways to attract more mainstream fans.  WWE can attribute its achievements to its ability to adapt to a progressive digital climate while maintaining a personal relationship to its fans.
WWE has ventured into its newest form of digital marketing by introducing its continuous Internet streaming service, the WWE Network. WWE’s 24/7 streaming network is seen in 170 countries and in over 10 languages. WWE’s Chief Revenue and Marketing Officer, Michelle Wilson, refers to the Network as the Internet’s first “Over the Top” network.

The network has incorporated components of earlier Internet based networks like Netflix, Hulu-Plus and MLB’s platform, but also adds unparalleled value for it’s viewers. The library consists of 1,500 hours of existing material. At $9.99 per month, the network gives fans access to the company’s 12 annual pay-per-views at no additional cost. The network offers discounts through its online store and is currently featuring February for free. With incentives like these, the company is confident that unregistered members of the “WWE Universe” will subscribe before WrestleMania XXXI takes place on March 29th, live from Levis Stadium, in Santa Clara, CA.

Customer satisfaction and fan engagement remain the main components of WWE’s business model and are of the utmost importance for continued growth in the digital realm of entertainment. WWE Network has a 90% user satisfaction rate according to Accelerant Research.  The company incorporates the fans voices into the construction of the sports entertainment model, empowering the passionate fans. The same fans that are quick to undermine the very product they invest in.

A recent example of fan participation in WWE decision making is when the company had to call an audible and switched gears on WrestleMania’s main event concluding January’s “Controversial” Royal Rumble finish. The event highlighted the unproven, but heavily pushed, up and coming Superstar Roman Reigns winning the Rumble with the assistance of his movie star cousin Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The “WWE Universe” showed their disdain for the unsatisfactory finish to the evening and the direction the company was heading. Fans immediately engaged and sounded off on social media outlets with the hashtag “#CancelWWENetwork”, which ended up trending worldwide by night’s end.

The company made headlines in major entertainment publications, attracting negative attention. This was the result of the heated response from both the raucous Philadelphia crowd who chanted for refunds, along with the Internet community of “Smarks.” Immediately following the bad press, the WWE Network hit one million subscribers and became the fastest-growing digital subscription service worldwide.

The company adapted on the fly and changed plans to the fans liking as WWE integrated fan favorite, indy darling Daniel Bryan into February’s FastLane main event. The match couldn’t have been any better scripted for fan approval, as Bryan will battle Reigns, with the winner receiving a shot at Brock Lesnar’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania. It is unlikely Bryan will defeat Reigns and go on to repeat headlining status at WrestleMania, but WWE lessened the blow, which will keep the fans tuned in through the month of February. Adjusting the storyline in favor of the fans also leaves the option of turning Reigns to the dark side as he defeats Bryan and gives the “WWE Universe” a real reason to hate him heading into WrestleMania season.

The key to WWE’s success in digital marketing has been through a committed relationship to its consumers. By offering viewers new material weekly, engaging with fans through social media, continuously updating its apps, viral media outlets and even by incorporating fan movements into weekly programming, WWE has found the secret to successful digital marketing. The business has discovered methods to keep customers satisfied like never before.

The current state of sports entertainment proves that “Kayfabe” is indeed dead. As a result of passionate fans gaining access to the inner workings of the business, “The WWE Universe” wields more control of the company’s direction than most would think. To ensure continued supremacy WWE will continue to take the path that the fervent fans guide it down.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Untapped Investor Opportunities

There is a vast amount of financing opportunities for entrepreneurs looking to develop a business that encompasses an individual’s passion in today’s economy. When one thinks of investment capitalists, they usually think of big financial institutions seeking their next hefty return on investment with a business that hits the jackpot and turns into Mega Corporation. This is not always the case with many smaller Micro Capital Institutions, who are actually looking to improve less fortunate communities by providing employment, stability, housing and improving families lives in today’s economy.

It is encouraging to know that there are so many financial coalitions promoting credit and capital to venture capitalists looking to start small businesses, especially in low income communities. For example, the US Small Business Administration was recently designed to provide $100 million in capital, along with $30 million in operational assistance grants to 20 new markets venture capital companies in underinvested markets. The administration’s intention is to promote entrepreneurs, institutions and organizations to create more jobs, wealth, and stability within these areas in exchange for a market-rate financial return. 

Community development venture capitalists set rather lenient qualifications for the applicant looking to develop small businesses that encourage employment rates and financial growth in low-income areas. To apply for funding with the US Economic Development Administration, the applicant must prove that there is a current economic problem within the applicant’s community. Statistics need to display that the community’s unemployment rate is at least 1% greater than the national average. If the startup business can prove that it will encourage local development and employment opportunities, the concept will be considered for financing.

Criteria to qualify for National Community Investment Fund includes effective organizational leadership, as well as a commitment to providing responsible and dependable products and services to the underserved area. Expectation of providing profits to the investor in a reasonable time is anticipated. Finally, a fiduciary agreement that the applicant represents the investment company in a positive light is expected. 

For aspiring entrepreneurs with a clear-cut vision for a business concept within a low-income market, there are copious opportunities to obtain financing. With Micro Capital Institutions, financial opportunities have not only impacted entrepreneurial capacity, but also have improved social economies, schools and job growth. When individuals think of big time financing, they tend to think of big bank institutions, but it’s the smaller economic development organizations that are making the biggest impact on the country’s unemployment rate.