Prince Market Analysis As the sport continues to experience growth due to the younger interest, Prince has created its own death warrant because it fails to see how it can create a positive and lasting strong hold in a market that has seen a recent upswing. One of the things that sticks out the most to me was the amount of time it took for Prince to realize its superior position in the niche market of tennis and other racket designated sports, I can’t grasp the idea that Prince was not already a major contender in the market.
As the sports world is going through a makeover with sport phenoms seeking commercial backing, Prince has assured itself through social networking and sponsorship of young talented athletes is a way to snare young and upcoming players, pro or not. But, this very same issue can be seen as a down fall as well, to either the competitor or Prince. If Prince misses one or two up and coming players, no harm; but potentially missing out on millions in sales would devastate a younger company, a younger company must be spot on in their choices.
Every match, win or lose, the player is getting recognition from the media, never a down side to branding unless the athlete does not become the star once thought possible; get them while they are young and you will create a devoted consumer (fan). In my opinion, Prince failed to protect itself when they entered into the arena of hosting minor events. I feel this is their biggest mistake.
By doing so the competition should be able to see that doing the very same thing and co-branding with accessorizing services and or products can create a dent in the growth Prince would have seen from their own venues. Reason being, Prince is only one company while there are millions of up and coming stars that are looking for the backing of a corporate sponsor that stands behind its product’s with stellar customer service and an unwavering and resilient front in research that pushes the game to the next level.
This is the only saving factor that Prince can rely on to push back the low end producers of equipment and apparel. But, a company with the ability to create and research new methods of manufacturing, innovative and out of the box designing (product and advertising), would create not only a sizeable but growing market saturation by merely addressing the latter. A new and upcoming player is a walking billboard, that when touched with social media and any airtime, frenzy can ensue for the product line and or services sponsoring the young athlete.
A young and new exciting player that has a bankable and commercial attitude can spawn millions in sales for the company that sponsored them prior to athletic stardom. This is where Prince failed to cover their…well let’s just say door! As a new and upcoming player seeks to lay waste to the competition and seek to better their own bottom line through securing ad time for a bevy of products that may or may not have anything to do with tennis. The competition has done two things by always being at the beckoning call of the up and coming billboard, I mean star.
The most important thing, the branding of their product, each and every time a camera shot is taken at a competition, or an interview on ESPN after a match, the competition has assured itself a front row seat into the pockets of player’s novice and professional. Second, by assuring co-branding and sponsorship, a two prong social media attack can be placed on the efforts to grow market share and sustainability created by a dual marketing campaign lodged against Prince by the competitor and fellow co-sponsor of the athlete.
Co-sponsorship and branding however also limits the exposure a company could have in backing a new and upcoming athlete. By splitting the cost needed to sponsor an athlete I would only assume the money could be positioned to assist in other areas of concern such as research or ad time. This is where Prince failed to see itself, which I see as a flaw in their approach to assure continued growth, even if a new competitor copied their same exact plan. The competitor would fail because Prince would have all or some of the major accessorizing companies already on board.
Again, this would also assist with in-house needs for cash that could be pooled for other pressing issues. But even with this idea in place, Prince would have to reshape their departments to assist those that would need the authority to make decisions on the spot with good information without the input of groups that may slow the process. A new competitor would already have thought of because it would need to be nimble and quick to decide (with good information) when creating co-marketing agreements and scouting new talent.
Any competitor can see that the grass root approach to introducing, researching, collaborating, and a well-executed marketing plan can easily remove Prince as a Juggernaut in the tennis arena. Prince left the back door open in another arena as well. Social media is not a proprietary component and can cease to exist overnight if the public is no longer interested in it. This is where I think Prince left the door open and could be the second reason they fail to maintain growth. Having access to the needs and wants of a customer is the winning factor that all companies seek to gorge themselves on.
A competitor would merely need to address the customer in a variety of ways. With the growth of the smartphone being the comparison of a personal computer and seen as a personal device like a toothbrush. A competitor merely needs to create a social platform that allows the consumer to be a part of the company through beta testing, questionnaires, sweepstakes, and other client building venues that assures growth for all involved because of the co-sponsoring and branding approach to introduce services and products; trending at its finest without the need to specialize.
A competitor merely would have to create a smartphone application and its own social media web based portal that can be reached via a plug-in to the most widely used social media networks. Novice to professional players would be a great form of information needed to create or improve a better product with little to no amount spent in collating ideas needed to assure sustainability and new growth as they carve into the juggernauts once strong hold on a growing sport.
I do see however an avenue that could assure Prince an edge with the current dilemma which it faces; but it also comes with a problem. The problem; the window of opportunity is based upon accepting an outside infusion of creativity by creating a major annual event. Doing so would create more than what they currently have because of the vendors and or bigger companies that would want to be invited or pay for a chance to main stream their idea and or company at the annual event.
I would assume that a bigger opportunity would be created as the media and social media networks for the rights to air the event. It is my personal belief that Prince has become a sloth, slow and predictable. Its advantageous growth was due to an influx of new consumers, Price’s timing and position made it the lead in a once slow and dwindling sport. Prince’s obvious and monolithic stance does not provide it the nimble agility that an aggressive and blood thirsty competitor has when trying to grasp a growing market share that can dwindle away just as fast as it came.