It’s Not the Money
Byt Richard Mock aka Paintball
In the majority of the discussions I have read, most adults blame the high cost of cards as the main reason kids don’t seem to be as big in card collecting as they were in the past. Most of these articles reflect back on when a kid could go to the corner store and buy a pack of cards for 25 cents. They surmise that the card companies should go back to these days of cheap cards. I strongly disagree. In my humble opinion the product has never in its history been better than it is today. The problem isn’t that a pack of Topps retail now sells for $1.99 or that there are high priced cards that now sell for $50.00 per pack. The problem is that the card companies are very, very poor at marketing their product to the current group of kids and their parents. If a 12year old kid is asked by his parents what he wants for his birthday, how many kids now will ask for a $100.00 hobby box of cards, and how many will ask for $100.00 worth of games for their game system. If a parent would spend $100.00 for a child’s birthday on 2 games, then they would spend $100.00 on a hobby box of cards, if that is what the child wanted. So, the question becomes: “How can the card companies get a child to ask his parents for cards for their birthday present instead of video games?” The problem in my opinion is in the poor marketing divisions of the card companies. Topps might have a very good marketing division, and I am the first to admit that at 63 years of age I might not be aware of the marketing they are directing towards the kids and their parents. If so then just disregard this entire article as the ravings of an uninformed old man.
Father-son events: Card companies should help finance father-son events in every city that has a local card shop. Card collecting was always a father/son adventure between me and my three boys. I have many fond memories of these days. A parent doesn’t get this type of experience from buying his son a video game and having him go into isolation in his room for days on end while he plays the game. Every child craves his father’s attention and every father should look forward to one on one experiences with his child. If card collecting created this undivided attention between a father and son, then every child would want this attention over playing video games. If the experience I had as a parent can be marketed and sold then not only will the parents buy the child cards for the child’s presents, but the child will buy cards for his father’s presents.
Well done websites run by the card companies for kids to discuss their favorite player with discussions started by adults on who is hot and who is cold, always coming back to cards available for these players would in my opinion help. There can be games geared toward the 12-15 year old kids. Discussion forums with kids discussing the players and the cards among themselves are a must in today’s market environment. The websites of all the major card companies in my opinion are a joke.
I know Becket is geared toward the adult collector, but there needs to be a lot more emphasis in this magazine on father/son involvement. How many adult collectors are excluding their children from the hobby because they want to make a profit and don’t trust their children to know enough to give them good sound advice? The smartest stock broker I ever knew told me to watch what the children wanted, find out who makes this object, and buy stock in that company. I have never lost money following this advice. The same is true with card collecting. The children’s heroes of today will be the most valuable cards when these children are adults. That is why I believe that Barry Bond’s, Mark McGwire’s, and Sammy Sosa’s cards will go back up in value in another 10 years. They were my children’s heroes and my children don’t give a flip about the steroid scandal. Just look at Pete Rose’s cards today. Becket needs to do more to encourage their readers to involve their children in their hobby. They need to convince every father in the hobby that their children will be grown before they know it and that every minute they share with their son in the hobby will be priceless. This will not only help get children interested in card collecting, it will benefit society. It would be a win/win situation of both the card companies and family.
Although expensive, a parent will spend a lot less on a hobby box of cards then he will spend for a day at an amusement park. Convince the parent and child that opening this box of cards will be just as much fun and create the same or a better relationship and the cost becomes irrelevant to the parent. It’s not my job to market the product, it’s the marketing division of the card companies and right now I think they stink. As far as making money in the hobby, the answer is very simple: Buy low and sell high.
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