It’s a matter of days before Storming of Thunder Ridge, the bicycle charity ride I’ve been marketing for the past couple of months.
Along the way, I’ve had a lot of discoveries.
Surprises include reaching a broader geographic area than I thought possible. Getting a helping hand from cycling clubs and shops I didn’t have a previous relationship with to spread the word about the event. And a fledgling community on Facebook that is posting questions and comments, and engaging one another.
Still, it doesn’t appear that the number of registered riders we seek will be achieved. Among the multiple reasons I’m hearing, it’s clear that you can’t win everyone over.
“I Didn’t Know”
This is a tough one to palate because, as a marketer, it’s my job to identify and engage the target audience. But it’s also a challenge when there’s no marketing budget to speak of for inclusion in, say, cycling club newsletters and one must, instead, rely upon grassroots methods (uh, calling and emailing) and generating word-of-mouth (WOM).
(Incidentally, I get it that clubs often sustain their existence via annual dues and advertising dollars but I disagree with policy to not mention via monthly calendar, email or Facebook a ride that doesn’t compete with your organized ride. Sorry guys, put aside the balance sheet; it’s about helping each other out and spreading the love of cycling around)
It’s particularly difficult to engage riders outside of the home market where we may not have close shop and club contacts or rider-advocates with a strong network.
But locally? Yeah, I still encounter riders who don’t know about the event in spite of our marketing efforts.
I’ll be doing a post-mortem to determine how to build upon the success of the ride and reach more potential riders for next year.
“I Can’t Make It”
Work, family and other time commitments have precluded multiple riders from registering even though they’ve known about Storming of Thunder Ridge for months.
That’s a hard objection to overcome.
Distance, too, plays a role. The ride is a three-plus hour drive from larger markets. And it’s on a Sunday. Still, I have – and I know others who have – made the drive for other cycling events.
I suspect that the key to getting a solid commitment is to generate more buzz (gee, the climb, views, support, etc. are incredible!) and draw a larger field of riders (and their friends) to the event.
“I Didn’t Train”
With a choice of 35, 65 and 100 mile routes, just about anyone can complete the ride. Yet, I hear this reason for not registering.
Again, how to overcome this objection? We’ve promoted local training rides through Facebook, email and other marketing channels.
Again, I suspect it’s the event advocates – our community – that will emerge over time to reach these riders and get a solid commitment for future events.
Lots To Learn
I’ll dig in over the next few days and after the event to learn more about the marketing and share them with you.
How have you addressed these issues and objections in your marketing?