The New (Old) Kids on the Block

Good morning!

The other day, I woke up with this song in my head from New Kids on the Block. It got me talking to a colleague at work, and I told him how I thought it was funny that I had seen a televised bit when they kicked off their comeback tour in 2008 on the Today Show. These guys had put on what really looked like their old show, but their audience had miraculously transformed from a bunch of screaming teenagers into screaming near-middle-aged women. Their act, however, looked like it was still geared to a fairly wholesome boy-band image who were used to performing in front of underage girls.

So, still chuckling it up. I jumped on YouTube just to see if I could find the Today Show snippet, and instead I came across footage from their actual tour. This was NOT the same performance I had seen on the Today Show. These guys were shaking their parts and strutting their stuff, and their backup dancers were wearing very shapely outfits. Some of their dance moves were also more adult in nature. It seems that once they realized that their audience was no longer a bunch of kids, they completely transformed their show to pander to a crowd of lovelorn 30-40 somethings with 20 year old crushes (and possibly to re-imagine their youth the way they would have liked to have lived it).

Experience it if you dare:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Evp1JMGehSw

If you’re too old (or too young) to have been (or have had a sister) completely in love with Donnie Wahlberg or one of the others, you can compare it to the original here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sUfWjD1k9MM

Anyway, after I got over the experience of watching these guys completely overhaul their act, I realized that, without getting into moral judgments, there’s a real lesson here in understanding your customers and delivering what they want. See, their fan base of teen-aged girls with wicked crushes and unrequited love and lust had grown into 30+ year old women with a lot more life experience. Also, because these women were now legally of age, they could stop censoring their act. They notice the differences and changed their show to fit the desires of their audience.

Markets change, technologies evolve, and clients mature. Are you taking notice to make sure that you are changing with them?

There’s also a lesson here in making sure that you make changes that you are comfortable with, but we’ll save that for another post.

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