I took my son to Monster Jam for the second year in a row last weekend and I had a major realization - Monster Jam is an amazing business model.
So I'm a bit obsessed about examining businesses with loyal fans/customers in unique niches. I was sitting there with my ear protection on, eating a soft pretzel, watching my son loving every moment, and just in awe of some of the ways that Monster Jam has created loyal fans.
As a handmade jewelry business, I won't be investing in a monster truck anytime soon but I am going to be implementing more business lessons from Monster Jam.
Not my normal earring selfie...showing off my great ear protection
Here are my key business success takeaways from the loud trucks -
1. Lean in to your fan favorites
Monster Jam started in the 1992 after it's two founders met at a small four wheeling event 30 years prior and dreamed of a bigger industry for monster trucks. The monster truck industry is a billion dollar business now with Monster Jam being a household name and licensed by Mattel to provide highly popular merch and toys for fans.
One of the first trucks at Monster Jam, Grave Digger, is also one of the most popular trucks. This fan favorite has merch, a loyal following, and a long history with the company. There are multiple drivers of the Grave Digger truck so that this fan favorite can appear at every Monster Jam competition.
Monster Jam knows what their fans want and they give it to them.
This is so applicable to product based businesses - we can view our sales data quickly to identify our fan favorites and make sure they are always available, making changes with customer feedback, and letting new customers know which items are bestsellers.
2. Inform, inform, inform
Did you know that most Monster Jam trucks weigh 1,200 pounds? I do because the announcer said it constantly on the broadcast. They worked in facts about the trucks during the entire show and I found it so engaging. They often repeated the same facts knowing that fans are unlikely to have heard it the first time as the event is very busy and loud.
I say the same opening line when customers come to my table, "my designs are made with hand poured resin and nickel free metal", and sometimes I feel like I'm being so repetitive but repeating the important facts about your business works.
3. Engage your fans
Fan engagement is an area where Monster Jam is expert level! The entire competition is determined by fan vote. And they've made it easy - they know every one has a cell phone so from the moment you sit down they give instructions on scanning the voting system QR code, a city code to enter, and boom fans can vote on every competition during the show.
Fan engagement or customer engagement is such a fun area to explore as a small business.
- send a survey to your email subscribers to request feedback on your business, an upcoming launch, or new ideas you have
- request customers reviews via email or social media
- use the quiz or feedback box features on social media stories and ask for input on specific prompts
- poll your customers on some of their favorite things so you can learn more about what they love
- share an unpopular opinion and use the vote tool on social media stories to ask if your followers agree or disagree
4. Show your face
At the show I learned that Weston Anderson is the driver of Grave Digger and that his father drove Grave Digger. I immediately wanted him to win - I felt connected to him because he shared a personal connection via a live interview from the Monster Jam pit.
Throughout the entire show the hosts interviewed the drivers, showed their lives in photos on the monitor, and shared their stories. I found myself googling more about them later because I wanted to know how they got started in such a niche sport. Monster Jam may be known for the huge 1,200 pound trucks but at the shows they really pull you in with the personal touches from their drivers.
This is a business lesson that all small business owners see on repeat - show your face on social media and your website! I know it can be hard and sometimes intimidating but it works - people buy from people!
I've seen this work from just sharing silly stories or my day to day on social media stories. This past holiday season I got the most social media replies every after sharing a quick video story of me telling a story about how I accidentally touched a random man's arm in the toy store and talked to him because I thought he was Mike. It was not my finest moment and I was so embarrassed but it was hilarious and relatable - we've all done embarrassing things.
5. Embrace your failures
The bigger the crash, the higher my son would vote for the truck. Monster Jam is the perfect example of failures bring you closer to success. The drivers know that they will crash sometimes but that doesn't stop them from getting some serious air, trying new tricks, and giving each competition their all in those huge trucks. And they happily wave to the audience when the tow tractor has to come out to upright their truck or tow them out of the pit.
So next time I have a figurative 'crash' in my business, I'm going to embrace the failure and go bigger next time. If the 1,200 pound Grave Digger truck can do a backflip, then we can keep growing our businesses and learning from our 'crashes'.
What was the most helpful Monster Jam business tip?
Where is an unexpected place you've learned a business lesson?