The USA Pro Cycling Challenge, a multi-day stage race that is attempting to bring another main stream race to the U.S. However, if anything, it is a resurgence of the next iteration of the Coors Classic from the 1980s. Let me preface this by telling you I have not been able to follow every detail of the logistics and news of this race. But, what I want to briefly discuss is how this race is being marketed and how awareness is being cultivated for success. I want to focus on a city resting just over a mile above sea-level and home to over 18,000 people, Golden, Colorado.
Simply put, they get it. And, here’s why:
I love cycling, I work/live in the industry, I’m in marketing, I train like a wanna-be hardcore triathlete when I’m not at work, and I’m extremely busy. So, I know I’m not alone when I type this, when there isn’t a constant reminder or talks about a race and I’M IN THE INDUSTRY, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. The city of Golden and/or its PR firm are taking matters into their own hands.
A couple weeks ago, I earned myself a new Twitter follower, @USAPCCGolden. We exchanged a tweet or two, I checked out who they were, and now I know one of the host cities. They also set-up a website, http://procyclinggolden.com/, and a Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/ProCyclingGolden.
Since then, I have been trying to do my part (it’s not a lot, but I’m trying) by raising awareness for this particular stage of the race. While some may deem social media with a lack of substantial ROI (they’re wrong, FYI), I re-tweet Golden’s sweet nectar of 140-character prose to my meager number of Twitter followers. (I am thankful for every single one, even the spam bots, please follow us, @kanebicycles, we need love).
The point is, this city is taking initiative. They want the race to be a success. They want the geographic awareness, they want the tourism dollars, they want to be a vacation spot before and after the race leaves. I mean, they have the world’s largest single site brewery. Some company called Coors. Heard of them? I think they brew beer…
I feel like the industry and its fans are always questioning why it’s hard to keep races going. Of course, the costs are colossal (and will continue to rise), logistics will give you grey hairs or your grey hairs grey hairs, and the list goes on and on. I am a firm believer that you cannot complain if you did nothing to help support the event. Instead of pointing fingers, I’ll look at myself. If the Tour of California got cancelled for next year tomorrow, yes, it would tragic, but I could not complain because I have done nothing (which I don’t like, but do not have the means presently). I haven’t traveled to California for the stages and been a tourist, I haven’t given any money, I haven’t recommended to my friends to go to the race. At the end of the day, these are the types of things we have to do to make these races big deals and grow communities around them. But, it all starts with grassroots awareness.
My point is that for this race to grow and become a hopefully long tenured race, we need more “Golden, Colorado”s taking the initiative. As far as I know, no other race stages have Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. They may, but I do not have time to go and find out.
The salesman that expects the sales to come to him is in for a surprise, especially in the cycling industry, which relies so heavily on sponsorships.
You have to be on the streets, banging on doors, “tweeting with your peeps”, and engaging people. Who knows, but if you do a good enough job, in a few years, people will be coming to you without you having to work as hard. You’re established.
Finally, I took the time to write this post, learn more about Golden’s past and current offerings, all because they found me on Twitter, followed me, and engaged (and continue to engage) in dialogue with us. The next time I’m in Colorado, I just may have to stop by and I suggest you do the same. Reward those that make things happen for themselves.
It’s crazy how the click of the “Follow” button can cause change.
Brand Marketing Manager
Thoughts? Comment below!