Friday, December 13, 2013

Tying It All Together for Endurance Sports Events

 Working the Mic at the recent Monster Dash run in Toronto*. Picture -

I just finished reading digital marketing guru, Mitch Joel's new book Ctrl-Alt-Delete. It's a highly recommended read. Three big take-aways:

1. Social media, and marketing through social media is big!

2. The current buzz with brands, is wanting to speak directly to end-user customers.

3. Everything is going mobile!

Endurance sports events be they, running, cycling, triathlons, MOB's or themed runs, sit at the intersection of the above. By their very nature, these events are social - with lots of social interaction going on. I mentioned this briefly in a previous blog. However, this week I came across an info-graphic that spelled this out in more detail with some interesting data and stats.

These events are also the meeting up point for brands(sponsors), and the large amounts of numbers and data that these events are starting to generate and put together - to say nothing of the gathering of hundreds, if not thousands of people in one spot, at one time. Remarkably, few events seem to be taking full advantage of this. Some are, but more could and should do more. 

It goes without saying that the demographic attracted to most endurance sports events are plugged in to a high degree via mobile devices.

At the Running USA conference last winter, a marketing executive who works in the endurance sports space, said to me, "Consider you are at an NHL or NBA game, with 10,000 or more spectators. Think about how much marketing and promotion you have been exposed to from the time you buy your ticket, to the time you leave that game. Now compare that with the promotion and marketing that goes on an endurance sports event with similar numbers from the time you register, to the time you are finished and heading home". Many events, are not taking full advantage of the opportunities here.

It's a great opportunity to leverage the social nature of these events, the social interaction that is organic to them, the high adoption of social media of the participants, and the want for brands to talk directly to end-user customers.

An example of linking that up with mobile follows:

With my frequent work as a Race and Event Announcer*, I often see the collision of the old and the new at the events that I am working at and where the above opportunities go wanting. Often the number one question that I get asked when I am on the mic at an event is, "Hey - where are the results being posted up?". Many smaller to mid sized events still post up printed hard-copy, for participants to check their times/results - if the event is a timed event, with results. In the online, digital age, this now is passe. I'll often announce, where on the race site, that hard copy of the results are posted up, and you'll see that huddle of people surrounding the posted sheets of paper checking their results. However, if a company such as Ottawa, ON based Sportstats is timing the race and producing the results, those results now go almost instantly on-line when a person crosses the finish-line (or timing mat out on the course), to that events page on the Sportstats web site. If people, have a mobile phone with internet access, they can go right there, and see their own results on their own mobile device in the palm of their hand! Even more, Sportstats has a App that ties all of a persons results together that can be customized for that person. People can even "follow" a friend doing an event that Sportstats is timing around a race course. I make the announcement over the PA about this new way of accessing results to. I think it's catching on! 

See the linkage and possibilities with all of the above?

If you are an endurance sports event organizer:

- Are you taking full advantage of the social media opportunities for your event?

- Are you allowing your event sponsors to speak directly to your event participants?

- Are you tying this all together for mobile?

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