American Idol and the Customer Journey

January 21st, 2012 by

I like to watch American Idol with my family; as most of you know, the concept of the series is to find new solo recording artists where the winner is determined by the viewers. Through telephone, Internet, and SMS text voting, viewers have chosen as winners Kelly Clarkson, Ruben Studdard, Fantasia Barrino, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Hicks, Jordin Sparks, David Cook, Kris Allen, Lee DeWyze and Scotty McCreery.  The series employs a panel of judges who critique the contestants’ performances.

I found myself asking “why do I like to watch American Idol?” I came to the conclusion that the process the contestants go through was similar to what POIM refers to as the “Customer Journey.”

Contestant Eligibility (Market Planning) – The eligible age-range for contestants is currently 15–28 years old. The contestants must be legal U.S. residents, and must not hold any current recording or talent representation contracts by the semifinal stage. This process allows American Idol to select its target market.

Initial Auditions (Lead Generation) – Contestants go through at least three sets of cuts. The first is a brief audition with a few other contestants in front of selectors which may include one of the show’s producers. The number of auditionees can exceed 10,000 people each city, but only a few hundreds in each city may make it past this round of preliminary auditions. This process filters 10,000’s of thousands of suspect to prospects.

Hollywood Week & Audience Voting (Sales Process) – Once in Hollywood, the contestants perform individually or in groups in a series of rounds. For most years there were eliminations in three rounds by the judges. From the semifinal onwards, the fate of the contestants is decided by public vote. During the contestant’s performance as well as the recap at the end, a toll-free telephone number for each contestant is displayed on the screen.

Rewards for winner and finalists (Customer Onboarding, Nurture & Retain)  – The winner receives a record deal with a major label, which may be for up to six albums, and secures a management contract with American Idol-affiliated 19 Management (which has the first option to sign all contestants), as well as various lucrative contracts. All winners prior to Season 9 reportedly earned at least $1 million in their first year as winner. All the runners-up of the first ten seasons, as well as some of other finalists, have also received record deals with major labels. All top ten (eleven in season ten) finalists earn the privilege of going on a tour where the participants may each earn a six-figure sum.

If you follow the “Customer Journey” you too can become the next American Idol.

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