21 April 2015

Word of Mouth

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Yes, let's start with a cliché. However, most clichés are clichés because they are true. I mean, when I lose something it is always in fact, in the last place I look am I right? Well, the same could be said for advertising and marketing. We see the way technology has changed and how we consume media is drastically different now than it was ten years ago. We now have ads that pop up on websites that are catered to us based on what we search. We have viral videos and product placement everywhere you look. But, the most effective way to market a product is good old fashioned word of mouth. This has been something that TNA has struggled with over the years and while I know TNAMecca and many of us always try to spread the positive vibes about TNA, there just doesn't seem to be enough of it out there. Why is that? Well, let's put the cage back up, get inside and explore.

TNA has had mostly bad word of mouth over the years from wrestling journalists and fans alike, some of it justified, some of it may have been unwarranted. This led to a bad rep among hardcore wrestling fans. Being on Spike TV gave them visibility to reach beyond that as the show was in millions of homes. However, the word on the street about TNA Impact was that it was overbooked, full of old guys, had bad storylines, and a lack of in ring action. The move to Destination America has led to a smaller audience having access to Impact. Sure, real die hard fans will add a D.A. (or The Fight Network in Canada) to their cable/satelitte packages and others will seek it out on the World Wide Web (does anyone call it that anymore?), but most are without their TNA fix because it is no longer easy to access. So what would make them want to go out of their way to find TNA Impact? Buzz. That's right. Word of mouth. It would take people saying "Hey, you gotta check this show out because it is pretty bad ass." It's the same as when people end up buying HBO after a friend or two tell them how great Game of Thrones is. While the product I have seen on Impact over the past several weeks seems to have addressed many of the complaints people have had about TNA and even many of their harshest critics have been praising the show lately, it seems that TNA still "SUCKS" in the eyes of many fans, who frankly, just don't seem to want to give them a chance. My question is why?

Is it a case of "too little, too late"? - Many fans that I talked to who primarily watch WWE at least sampled the TNA product when it was on Spike TV. They usually had no problem with the in ring aspect of the show, in fact, many thought it was more enjoyable than WWE's. However, the same complaint we heard about TNA's storylines was echoed again and again. It's obvious the booking philosophy has changed since moving to Destination America. Problem is that there are less eyeballs on the show than before and maybe the ones that just don't think TNA is their cup of tea just aren't hearing enough positive buzz to check it out and even if they do, they figure why bother, it's TNA, I won't like it.

Bad Press? - When Spike TV and TNA parted ways the general consensus among a lot of fans was that TNA was a goner. Even after the Destination America deal was announced many still talked about how it was only a matter of time before TNA goes away. Now, we get stories about late pay checks and folks leaving the company over pay issues. I'm not going to say what is true and what is not, that's not my place, nor am I going to begrudge any website or media outlet for reporting the story. It was news, they reported it. However, when someone goes to look at what's been going on in TNA and doesn't watch the current product, does reading stories about people "not being paid" want to make you check out the show? Not really. You'll just say "Oh, they can't even pay their talent. TNA SUCKS!" Despite the fact that what you see on screen may be to your liking.

Lack of Star Power? - This has been addressed before, TNA is in a rebuilding phase when it comes to the roster. It is full of untapped potential and rising stars. EC3, Bram, Rockstar Spud, Drew Galloway, The Wolves, etc. are still fairly new acts to the mainstream crowd. Meanwhile, the most recognizable guys are Kurt Angle and The Hardys. Think about the star power TNA used to have. I'm not going to name names you know who they are, but to someone on the outside looking in, they may say, "Well, I heard they don't even have Sting or AJ anymore. Man, I can't watch this!" Sounds stupid, but it's true. People love the familiar and a lot of TNA's roster is unfamiliar territory.

What we see on Impact these days is a show that features strong wrestling, basic good storylines, week to week build up and hooks to watch next week, and a lack of "old guys". Hmmm, sounds a lot like the show that many wanted TNA to be a few years ago. With that being said, it is on a smaller network with a smaller budget. And while there has been praise for the product, no real hard buzz has been heard. What can change that? A major signing? Maybe. A killer shocker angle? Yeah, that could work, I guess. The return of Johnny Fairlplay? I kid, I kid. I don't have the answer; the only thing I think TNA needs is time. If TNA stays the course with the current product, keeps focusing on what the fans want and putting out quality shows week after week, then maybe, just maybe they can win back some of those folks that left, or gain some that never jumped on board. Like the old saying goes, it takes years to build a reputation and seconds to destroy it. Yes, let's end with a cliché as well shall we?

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