Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Reaching the $6,000 Runner through Social Media

$6,000+.  That's the approximate amount of money that each runner who travels to a destination marathon event contributes to the local economy (New York Marathon, $340 Million;   Boston Marathon, $176 Million;  London Marathon, $163 Million).  And this trend will continue to grow driven by two things:

  1. Growing interest and participation from Female runners who now make up nearly 50% participants at most Marathon Events.  In the USA, Black Girls Run (BGR) is a prominent group of female runners who train and travel to races. 
  2. Increased interest in and growth of the Half Marathon event.  (The Half Marathon's Amazing Growth)
Running and Marathon Events that combine full Marathons, Half Marathons and 10K/5K events are driving Sports Tourism globally and are applying Social Media Marketing to increase effectiveness and increase participation.  Runners participating in these destination Running Events love sharing their experiences On Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (the main Social Media platforms).  And it's their 'total experience' that they share:  A great vacation in an appealing destination combined with their race event experience.

How do you get Social Media Marketing working for a Sports Tourism event?  Here are three key things from my experience at Reggae Marathon:

  1. Runner experience at the event.  While the location may be a vacation destination, runners are there to run.  Their race experience must be top-notch.  They will be comparing it to other events;  they will talk about it on Social Media.  A positive experience is a key plank of a Social Media Marketing Plan.  For example, at Reggae Marathon a running event I've been going to for a number of years now, the race runs flawlessly:  registration, kit pick up, starts on time, frequent aid stations, chip timing, post race re-hydration and recovery area...these matter.
  2. Destination Attractions.  It is a vacation as well so the hotel properties should provide a great vacation experience.  Local attractions that will enhance the overall vacation experience. Again, at Reggae Marathon the 7 miles of white sand beach set the stage for a great beach vacation.  Tours to watch the sunset, local waterfall attraction and Rum producer top off the experience.
  3. Sharing the Experience.  Like other tourists and event participants, Runners love Selfies! And they love to share.  Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are currently the Big Three in Social Media marketing.  At Reggae Marathon, the specific hashtag (#reggaemarathon) identifies and tracks all user generated photos, updates, videos across all three simultaneously.  
Mobility is baked into this Social Media Marketing ecosystem wit Smartphones being used to search and research Destinations at the decision making stage.  At the event, Runners use their Smartphones tocapture, record, share and comment on their experience.  While this isn't unique for Runners at Marathon Events, Mobile will play an even more important part in Marketing these events in Social Media for one significant reason:  Runners like to talk about their performance and results and Apps like MapMyRun showing real-time results will become even more important in the social media mix. One prediction for 2015 and beyond that's a reasonably sure bet:  Mobile will become increasingly important to Sports Tourism Social Media Marketing as Cities, Destinations and Race Organizers continue to chase the $6,000 Runner.

Chris M Morales

647 393 3855
Linkedin:  Chris M Morales 

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