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Kathy Wade's Blog


We Are All Marketers!

Published: July 3, 2015 11:36 am ET

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The big question for horse racing in recent years has been “what’s next?” Committees have been created, promises have been made, strategies are in the works, but we’ve overlooked an important but simple first step to help rejuvenate horse racing in Canada; something that we can all be a part of: advocacy marketing.
Advocates are customers, partners, employees, influencers and other stakeholders who are willing to publicly support, endorse or recommend your company, products, or services. In this case more specifically, we’re looking to members of the harness racing industry across Canada to put this strategy to the test. This year, SC and 12 racetracks across the country are hosting the third edition of the Bring A Friend promotion. Circle July 9-12 on your calendar and more importantly start thinking about who you can bring to the races that weekend. This promotion is a challenge to everyone in the industry to bring one new person to the races!
Ask yourself, who in your circle might like to come to the races with you? Think of someone you know who has never been and would be interested in a one of a kind experience like a day at the races. Take a look at those Facebook friends you have or Twitter followers and see if there’s someone you can invite. With every new person introduced to harness racing, we move a step closer to creating a bright future for the sport.
We are all marketers of horse racing. Each and every time someone asks you a question about what line of work you’re in, or something about your horse, or what you like to do in your free time, you have the chance to promote horse racing!
The most effective method of marketing anything is referral – word of mouth. We see ads on TV, websites, Facebook, etc. which can be a very impersonal way to learn about something new. If something is referred to us by a friend, we naturally give it more consideration. In that moment, your friend has become an advocate for the aforementioned product, service or opportunity. They have created an advocate marketing program, whether an organized effort or not, making a major contribution to a broader strategy that benefits every member of that industry.
Research has also shown that people who attend the horse races in a group or with a friend (who is knowledgable) are more inclined to enjoy themselves and return to the races. No surprise there.
Businesses of all shapes and sizes have enlisted advocacy marketing in efforts to rebuild. Lululemon has never spent a dime on advertising because they’ve created one of the most successful advocacy programs that exists in the retail space.
The racetrack can be a very intimidating place, especially if you’ve never been before and if you don’t know a thing about horses or horse racing. Imagine if every first time visitor to the racetrack had a mentor, a host, an ambassador, a friend to guide them, answer their questions, show them how to read a program, how to make a bet? First impressions are often a ‘make or break’ moment and often determine whether or not there’s going to be a second trip or visit.
Let’s help to make a good first impression for our friends. Consider this a call to action, as the greatest assets to harness racing are those who live and love it every day. You can make a difference; we can all make a difference. This is one weekend, one weekend where we challenge everyone in the industry. The promotion only works if the masses are mobilized and each and every one of us does our part...
So, take this opportunity…Bring A Friend to the races….or better yet…bring a group!!

The views presented in Trot Blogs are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Standardbred Canada.

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