I recently celebrated my 77th birthday, if “celebrated” is the correct verb. Anyway, many of my friends are, shall I say, “mature,” so you won’t be surprised to learn that some are rather averse to change. One guy said: “At my age, I already learned all I need to know, so it’s not always necessary to learn anything else.” Another one didn’t like Lady Gaga though he never heard her sing or saw her perform. . .until, that is, he saw her sing on the Oscar show on TV. Now he likes her. There are also a ton of old timers who wonder what all the fuss is about some guy named “Prince” who died. “Was he any good?” you might be asked by these folks.
To be fair, it’s not that easy for some people to stay in the loop on all the news, and on all the new products and services that come down the slide. For example, one of the biggest developments in the communications field in this or anybody’s lifetime is what we call “social media.” You know, Facebook, Twitter, ad infinitum. The younger people clearly have the edge on this phenomenon and on its unique ability to aim an ad message at a specific section of the buying public, which is where coin-op comes into this story.
There’s one of those “classic game” centers running successfully out in Pasadena, California called the Neon Retro Arcade. The idea of putting the heroes of the past, like Pac-Man, Galaga and Defender, on free play and charging admission isn’t entirely new. What is, is the two owners’ savvy ability to use social media to gather customers. They’ve been so slick in this pursuit that Facebook itself has invited them to join one of their advisory councils for 2016 that hash out various new ways the service might be of use.
The owners –– a husband and wife team named Mia Mazadiego and Mark Guenther –– are much younger than when their games were built, if you can believe that. But they’ve managed to get baby boomers and millennials out to Pasadena’s famous Old Town to play the oldies. To be sure, there are other more “mature” customers popping in to relive memories of coin-op’s golden era. By the way, who says that street arcades are a thing of the past?
Make sure you or your people get busy exploiting social media to the benefit of your business. It’s there for you, whether you know it or not. And in truth, you don’t have to know Lady Gaga, Prince, Beyonce or any of the other “kids” on the music scene to make money from their music (provided your machines offer it). Speaking of which, I’m working on a story about an old pal you may know named Neal Rosenberg who’s mostly retired after something like 60 years in the trade. I asked him what were the three greatest developments in the time he’s been in the business, and he said one was the birth of the digital jukebox. There’s at least one long timer with an open mind on new things. How ’bout yours?