The TDU or Santos Tour Down Under, is one of those sporting events that attracts a number of fit, high-income individuals and families who enjoy lining the streets to watch the world's top cyclists in action.
While their attention will be on the race, this visitation is an opportunity for local businesses to either service their needs and status requirements on the day(s), and/or build rapport and awareness for return visits.
As I tap into my inner Oscar Wilde (only one thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about), let's see if your GP of Marketing might also be your event marketing Rouleur!
What do cycling and TDU fans really want?
If the TDU is snaking its way past your doors (or nearby), the first question I'd ask is: what are the needs, interests, and requirements of cycling fans.
Depending on where they're coming from and what time the event will be, will determine whether fans will be wanting accommodation overnight, food/drink, shelter, or access to other amenities and distractions (whoops, sorry, that was meant to read, attractions).
Furthermore, some fans are going to be acutely aware of their status needs, eg, what or how would "someone like me" engage with and be seen at this event? This means some might be wanting to access and be seen by others at exclusive, VIP points along the race. Meanwhile, others might simply be happy with some time to slow down and poke around at what's available in a location they've rarely or never visited.
If I imagined travelling across town or country to watch a stage of the TDU, I'd have "vantage point anxiety" until I had arrived and found my spot.
Can you or your business deal with this anxiety by holding my place in return for payment or purchase of goods? In fact, a switched on location with an army of parochial volunteers, could even consider having a formal "hold my place" roster in which a volunteer could be engaged to stake out a good location in return for the TDU fan "shouting" them a prescribed coffee/food/item from a collaborating local business or businesses. What an interesting exercise in marketing and logistics, that would be.
Talking to TDU fans or reflecting on your own experiences at this, or similar, events, would be a good starting point in getting a good sense of the marketing opportunity.
With this made clearer, now we consider how to start drafting these insights in line with our business needs and momentum.
What have you got to offer?
Is there anything you can do independently, to court TDU fans and get into their planning for attendance the day the race passes through your area?
For some businesses, the link will be direct; you sell food or drink, or provide hospitality or accommodation.
For others, though, we can take a leaf out of David Sandler's approach to sales. In his sales process, the first step is bonding and rapport and whether that means exposure via your social media activity or awareness-raising via your business' physical presence on the day, doing something/anything to make you worth noting and discussing, could start the "getting to know you" process.
Examples might range from race-themed products or costumes (as Oscar Wilde said, I approve of any activity that requires the wearing of special clothing) to collaborating and supporting other businesses to help make your area memorable.
Even if you cannot see a direct link between your business and the needs of visitors on race day, setting aside some time to brainstorm how you might forge some links, could yield some surprising outcomes. Imagine if the local realtor re-wrote all the property cards in their window, using cycling language for one day? It would only take one cycling-mad visitor to be amused and share it online, to start building awareness and making you "talk worthy" among some valuable consumer segments.
Having some creative ideas is one thing, but you'll also need to let people know. To this end, make sure you have the basics covered, such as adding some explanatory blogs to your website and starting to share ideas and hints through your social media channels. If you have the energy and interest, following and engaging with cycling fans in online groups and getting involved with any cycling podcasts or blogs can help inform you further as well as connect you with "your people".
If you'd like some help structuring your marketing content, look at this post about how to build and use a content marketing calendar.
If you do get busy, how satisfying it will be at the end of the event, to experience those jelly legs and reflect upon the prestige points you've earned?
Start some ideas with these terms from cycling's neutral zone
Here are 38 words drawn from cycling terminology that might just give you a fresh idea or two.
- À bloc: Riding as hard as possible, leaving oneself vulnerable to attacks.
- Abandon: To leave a race before completion due to an inability to finish.
- Aero bars: Handlebar extensions for improved aerodynamics.
- All-rounder: A cyclist excelling in climbing, time trialling, and sprinting.
- Alleycat race: Urban bike race with undisclosed checkpoints.
- Attack: Quick acceleration to create a gap between riders.
- Audax: Long-distance cycling event (similar to randonneuring).
- Bonk: Sudden energy depletion during a ride.
- Breakaway: A small group of riders escaping from the peloton.
- Cadence: Pedalling rate (measured in revolutions per minute).
- Century ride: A 100-mile (160 km) ride.
- Chamois: Padded cycling shorts insert for comfort.
- Criterium (Crit): Short, fast-paced road race on a closed circuit.
- Domestique: Support rider assisting team leaders.
- Drafting: Riding closely behind another cyclist to reduce wind resistance.
- Echelon: Diagonal line of riders in crosswinds.
- Feed zone: Area where riders receive food and drinks during a race.
- Granny gear: Lowest gear ratio for steep climbs.
- Hors catégorie (HC): Extremely difficult climb in stage races.
- Jelly legs: Fatigued leg muscles after intense effort.
- KOM/QOM: King/Queen of the Mountain (best climber in a segment).
- Lanterne rouge: Last rider in a race (also called “Feu Rouge”).
- Musette: Cloth bag handed to riders during feed zones.
- Neutral zone: Controlled start of a race.
- Off the back: Falling behind the main group.
- Peloton: Main group of riders in a race.
- Prestige points: Points awarded for winning intermediate sprints.
- Puncture: Flat tire.
- Rouleur: Strong all-rounder with time trial skills.
- Saddle sore: Skin irritation from long rides.
- Sprint: Short, high-speed burst to the finish line.
- Time trial (TT): Individual race against the clock.
- Uphill finish: Race stage ending with a climb.
- Vélo: French term for bicycle.
- Wattage: Measurement of power output.
- XCO: Cross-country Olympic mountain biking.
- Yield: Cyclist’s right to proceed at intersections.
- Zwift: Virtual cycling platform.
Just remember, it's better to be the lanterne rouge than the local business that didn't even try!
And they're off
Here's a short video we improvised when discussing TDU marketing with local businesses in Port Elliot last month, thanks to Adelaide Business Hub and Business Alexandrina.