by Tracy Johnson
45% of Fender guitars are purchased by absolute beginners and 90% of people who start playing quit within a year.
Those were some of the insights discovered by Fender CEO Andy Mooney, who joined the company in 2015 after previous leadership roles at Nike and Disney.
As he told Business Insider,
When I get a new job, I’m hungry for data.
Another insight he gained early on is that of the 10% who stick around, they buy seven guitars during their lifetime, but even more importantly, these loyalists will spend 4x as much learning to play guitar as on the instruments themselves.
According to Mooney,
We want to nurture our core business, but we’re excited about digital products and services.
Enter Fender Play, a $20 per month subscription service that provides high quality online instruction that by all accounts is unmatched by the video content available on YouTube.
A key ingredient to this professionally curated music curriculum – bite size lessons that generate quick results and help students become quick studies of their favorite songs.
In turn, these initial victories help keep players engaged and expand their relationship with the brand. Best of all, this online strategy is resonating with women, who represent 50% of new buyers. Not exactly the target audience you’d expect to see at the local guitar store.
Fender has a long history of working with the biggest names in music including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and Steve Ray Vaughan. Yet as Mooney tells Fast Company, “We never really concentrated on those 45% of players who buy a guitar for the first time every year.”
Leveraging data to generate insights and create unique digital products/services that support the core business is a winning strategy that can also benefit radio.
Fender believes a small lift in the retention rate of people who start learning to play the guitar, could double the size of their business. It’s the power of driving usage and engagement with those who matter most.
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