DeFender of the Faith – Andy Mooney, @Fender

It must be tough building a business whose core products were launched in the 1950s. Fender is best known for its solid-body guitars and electric basses: the Telecaster (1950), the Stratocaster (1954) and the Precision Bass (1951).

The Times this week has a profile of Fender’s CEO, Andy Mooney, who took the reins in 2015. It’s a fascinating read both for gear-heads (I’m a life-long Fender fan) and strategy gurus.

Among the insights are Fender’s lack of customer research when Mooney arrived – “I didn’t know who was buying or using the guitars.” – what the subsequent research showed, and how Fender responded.

First-time players were a much larger segment than expected (45% of guitars sold) and 90% abandoned playing within a year. The response? Fender Play is a new subscription service bringing online video lessons to learners with a goal of reducing the churn

If we could reduce the abandonment rate by only 10 per cent, we could double the size of the industry.

An insightful article.

By coincidence (or marketing success), I posted a video a couple of months ago that originated with Fender Play.

Mooney was first inspired to pick up the guitar by Ritchie Blackmore, so it’s only fair to also share…

Image: Fender