Back To Marketing Basics

In my last post, I declared that I was going to stop pontificating about marketing and, instead, share what I’m actually doing in marketing. Specifically, handling the marketing of a local cycling event which raises funds for charitable programs for the YMCA of Central Virginia. It’s an event that is near and dear to my heart.

Say What?

As a first step, the event organizer and I met to discuss goals and to define the personas or types or riders we hope to engage. At first, she was skeptical of my approach. Her assumption was that we’d use the meeting to determine the how and where we’d advertise the event. Her reaction wasn’t unlike that of most business leaders who assemble their marketing hands to launch a new product. I explained that without goals or quantifiable objectives, we’d have no focus much less a way to track whether the campaign was successful.

Next, we brainstormed on the personas. We’re both cycling fanatics who log nearly 10,000 miles each year. So we’ve got good insight into hardcore cyclists – one of our target groups. We also know and ride with enthusiast cyclists who enjoy the occasional event and Saturday group ride but have family and work commitments that limit their riding time. The third group we identified include recreational cyclists who typically don’t ride on the roads but relish the challenge of riding in a local event with their friends.

We then conducted interviews with each persona to determine concerns, interests and communication requirements.

Goals

  1. Register 300 riders
  2. Of the 300, 100 rider to do the short route (35 miles); balance between the English (100) & Metric (65) Century routes
  3. Raise $4000 through sponsorships

Personas

Hardcore Harry

A cycling enthusiast who logs thousands of miles each season. Possibly a current or former racer or triathlete. Enjoys fast pacelines (17+ average mph) and/or long distance, endurance riding. Has ridden in many touring or charitable rides over his/her riding career. Potentially will ride multiple events during a season. Rides a relatively recent carbon bike and freely spends money on clothing and accessories. Relishes the challenge of climbing and enjoys fast, technical descents. Is competitive and a confident rider.

Learns about events from his/her local cycling club, trusted bike shop or search for regional events. Subscribes to Bicycling Magazine, club email lists and Facebook local cycling group newsfeeds.

Self reliant and not too concerned about ride support. Likely to register for the English Century to scratch the endurance itch or Metric Century to chase a finish time goal.

Likely to respond well to words/phrases such as: challenging, epic, climbing, technical descents, Blue Ridge Parkway.

May respond to a list showing other like-minded riders who have signed up. Doesn’t require much route/training/mechanical counsel and updates for the event.

Enthusiast Ed

A road cyclist who, because of work and family commitments, does not ride as often/consistently as Hardcore Harry and, hence, may log fewer than 1500 miles each season. He/she has ridden in touring or charitable before but may now ride in one each season. Enjoys the camaraderie of these events. This rider’s season likely spans May to September, so he/she has not spent much time on the bike before SOTR. Rides an older carbon or titanium bike and doesn’t often spend much money on clothing and accessories.

Learns about events from friends who are more active in the local cycling club or a visit to his/her local bike shop. Isn’t likely searching online for regional events. May subscribe to Bicycling Magazine and receive club emails and Facebook local cycling group newsfeeds.

Has the ability to complete the Metric Century without much training and could complete a flatter English Century course. Will suffer on ascents and hold back a bit on descents. Is attracted to the challenge of the event, particularly the satisfaction of one so early in the season. Is comforted by the knowledge of well-stocked rest stops and mechanical support. Likes the fact the event is local.

Likely to respond to words/phrases such as: challenging, camaraderie, rolling hills, manageable, SAG support, well-stocked rest stops, lightly travelled back roads, beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway vistas, well-marked course, finish line party.

May respond to a list showing other like-minded riders who have signed up. May appreciate frequent route/training/mechanical counsel and updates for the event

Recreational Robin

A cyclist who prefers the safety and comfort of riding on trails. As such, he/she is not very confident about riding on trafficked roads. Has concerns about ability to climb hills and may wind up walking parts of them. Brakes heavily while descending to control speed. Maintains a slower average pace (12 mph). Typical rides are with like-minded friends with lots of conversation. Normal ride distance is less than 20 miles. Likely rides a hybrid/MTB/comfort bike.

Learns about events from his/her friends or via a brochure from a health club or local bike shop. Does not subscribe to Bicycling Magazine. May get invited to the event via Facebook as part of a friend’s group event invite.

Has concerns about ability to complete a 35 miles road course but is intrigued by the challenge provided his/her friends join and there is plenty of visible support (mechanics, rest stops, and monitoring) along the course. Is intimidated by “elitist” cyclists that comprise the other personas.

Likely to respond to words/phrases such as: lightly traveled roads, mechanical support, rest stops, rolling hills, flat roads, comfortable pace, route monitoring, well-marked course, finish line party.

May respond to a list showing other like-minded riders who have signed up. Will appreciate frequent route/training/mechanical counsel and updates for the event.

**********

This week, I’ll draft content specific to each persona to appeal to our audience to register for the event. We have purchased the domain name stormingofthunderridge.com and will also capture the requirements for our website. In addition, I’ll share our strategy and plan for promoting and engaging our audience.

Remember, you can help me by subscribing and commenting. We’re in this together!

(Images: Harcore Harry = ishutterthethought; Enthusiast Ed = brotherM; Recreational Robin = aneye4apicture)

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