Just about all businesses and industry try to expand their market. The best way to expand a market is to match products and/or services more closely to what the potential consumers want. Paintball is no different, whether it's recreational or competitive paintball (I separate the two, because for me, there is a big difference between the two. They are both paintball, but other than that, they are unique enough for me to consider them to be two different products, likely to attract two different demographic sets, with relatively minor overlap).
So how should a product or service be changed to expand a market? How does one find out what changes might entice new customers to buy your product? Who does one ask? If, for instance, McDonalds Restaurants wants customers, who are currently not coming to their establishments, to start walking in their door, how should they go about doing that? Would it make sense to hand out questionnaires with each meal purchased? That would provide information from existing customers, and would have little relevance for those that have chosen, for whatever reason, not to make a purchase.
If a paintball field operator or competitive league organizer is trying to improve the experience for the people taking part, he/she should probably ask the people taking part. On the other hand, if he/she is trying to attract new (more) people to take part, he/she should probably be asking those that aren't taking part yet. Both are important obviously. Alienating existing customers by changing a product/service to satisfy only new customers needs to be avoided. On the flip side, making the ideal product/service for existing customers, with no consideration about the effect that will have on potential new customers would be just as bad, if not worse (virtually every business/industry needs new customers to survive).
The internet, through basically instant communication, makes it very easy to gather information from existing customers in our industry. It's a great tool to have. But getting opinions from people that aren't yet, and aren't any longer customers, is much more difficult. I suspect many business operators and tournament organizers take the easy route.
Coach Billy Wing
9 hours ago