Despite his enduring popularity, obtaining lists of Elvis Presley’s fans is no easy task. Elvis Presley Enterprises keeps a tight grip on memorabilia sales and lists through licensing agreements.
Licensees can obtain fan lists through Elvis Presley Enterprises in Memphis, TN. Guest books signed by visitors at Graceland are used to develop lists for catalog mailings, but The Elvis Presley Catalog list is off-limits for list rentals.
Elvis Presley Enterprises is only beginning to do market research and analysis of fans, noting two research studies in progress are due to be completed by the end of June, says marketing director Jennifer Burgess.
Generally speaking, fans cross all age and socioeconomic groups and tend to be very loyal, says Danny Hiltenbrand, retail and catalog merchandising director at Elvis Presley Enterprises. “We have everyone from Harley-Davidson bikers to corporate CEOs who are fans. There are some people who you would never know are fans.”
What is known is that collectors, race car driving enthusiasts and Elvis fans have similar interests, Burgess adds. One of the most successful memorabilia products ever developed was a model race car with the image of Elvis, she says.
Bob Lunn, a list specialist at Print Mailers Inc., conducted his own research on Elvis when he was unable to obtain information from Elvis Presley Enterprises. “There weren’t any mailing lists readily available, so we put something together,” Lunn says.
Lunn obtained thousands of names through Elvis fan clubs, enough to analyze and develop a statistical profile of fans. “We merged [census] block group information up to county level.”
His findings indicate Elvis fans are generally lower middle income, about three-quarters are women and few have a college education. Most are white and live in the South and Midwest, particularly in small rural towns. Fans are generally in their 40s, but it’s women in their 30s and young men in their 20s who tend to purchase the most memorabilia.
Lunn cautions entrepreneurs not to attempt to sell any Elvis memorabilia without first obtaining permission from Elvis Presley Enterprises. “Don’t dare sell anything without a license from the estate or they’ll nail you in court.”
* A poll conducted by Time Inc. for Time and People magazines ranks Elvis as the world’s top entertainer of the 20th century. The results were culled from more than 10 million votes cast worldwide. Elvis Presley Enterprises says the number of Elvis fan clubs has grown worldwide to 620, up from 450 clubs five years ago.
* Graceland Mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Sights in 1991. More than 750,000 visitors annually pay $15 to take a tour. About 20% of visitors come from other countries. Nationally, most visitors come from New York, Texas and Illinois; 20% of visitors overall are repeat customers.
* Banks County, GA, ranks first in Elvis enthusiasm, based on research published in American Demographics magazine. Residents there are 250 times more likely than average Americans to be Elvis fans. Elvis is less popular in California than the nation as a whole, particularly in Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to American Demographics. Yuba County, CA, is identified as the state’s haven for fans of the King.
* The Franklin Mint and The Bradford Exchange are the two largest licensees authorized by Elvis Presley Enterprises to sell Elvis memorabilia. Licensees are required to submit product and advertising samples, along with a financial report, when applying for licenses.
* Doll sets of Barbie and Elvis priced at $79.95 lead the list of the top 10 best sellers in The Elvis Presley Catalog, which Elvis Presley Enterprises mails to 1 million households six times annually. The next most popular items included are video tours of Graceland, musical snow globes, Elvis telephones and “Elvisopoly” board games.
* Other products popular among Elvis fans include malt liquor, pickup trucks, white bread, Velveeta, menthol cigarettes, frozen dinners and publications such as the National Enquirer and Soldier of Fortune, Claritas Prizm lifestyle analysis research reveals.