The Alpharetta Unicorn

For years the Atlanta Hawks have struggled to connect with fans.  Most games are at least half empty although that is half full if you are trying to be positive.  The team lost over 23 million dollars last year!  Something had to happen.

Some of the ownership really wanted to reach more middle age white men from the Atlanta suburbs.  The thought is that these men would have a greater income to buy the better seats.  However this strategy had never worked before.  A 55 year old white male isn’t going to fight traffic for an hour to go to a game no matter how many bobbleheads you give him.  The marketing team named this man the Alpharetta Unicorn because he simply doesn’t exist.

So they had a problem.  They were aiming for someone who would never come to their games no matter what they did.  The Hawks had to figure out a new target audience and then make a plan to market to them.  As they looked at the area the Hawks came up with 2 groups of people they wanted to market to:  African-Americans and millennials.

From that they simply had to identify the barriers that kept African Americans and millennials away from the game.  The prices – they dropped the price of 1500 seats to $15.  The experience – rappers TI, 2 Chainz, and Ludicris have all performed at Hawks games this season.  The Hawks spent millions on a projector for the game court.  It makes for an amazing experience.  Giveaways – they are doing some shirts, but have also offered a Tinder night trying to reach young singles.

What can the church learn from this?  Many times we have no idea who our target audience is.  Who are we trying to reach?  I know we want to reach everyone, but that is too wide a spectrum.  Unfortunately when you try to reach everyone, you risk not reaching anyone.

Identify who your church is and what the vision is for the church.  Young families, singles, college, senior adults, Hispanics, – I bet you can think of 2 or 3 groups that your church is going to reach better.  Then just come up with a way to reach that group of people.  It may require change or creativity, but it will be worth it when you see God bring those people to Christ.

The strategy has worked so well for the Hawks.  You can read more about it here.

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