Last Saturday night I watched what Tony Stewart affectionately deemed, "The most screwed up All-Star Race ever," the 2016 NASCAR All-Star Race at my 'home' track, Charlotte Motor Speedway.
I sat at the beach with my husband, teenage daughters and in-laws as this 'train wreck' unfolded. No one in the room knew what was going on (3 generations, and all clueless). We scanned the stands at the race - definitely not full. The commentators joked that they weren't really sure what was happening either. A driver almost rammed into a wrecker during a caution, and pit stops were a debacle. Greg Olsen of the Carolina Panthers pulled numbers out of an envelope to determine Jimmie Johnson's placement with his 2 or was it 4 new tires? "Get on with the racing!" is what we kept yelling at the TV.
This weekend is the 100th running of the Indy 500. Did you know that while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway does not release official attendance numbers, the Indy 500 is the largest single day sporting event on the planet (IMS website, source)? They just announced yesterday their first official sellout of the race, and that the TV delay had been suspended for Indianapolis viewers. While they are busy getting ready for this weekend, they have already unveiled their 'Race to Renew' 2017 logo, packages for fans, commemorative memorabilia, inside access and much more to ticket holders. They are embracing their rich historic past, while planning for the future (and taking the fans along with them for the 'ride').
They are embracing their rich historic past, while planning for the future (and taking the fans along with them for the 'ride').
What do these two races have to do with your social media?
A lot. The NASCAR All-Star race completely changed the format this year. Since I worked with short tracks from 2013-2015, I don't follow NASCAR quite as much anymore, however, I've been to All-Star races in the past, and they were incredibly exciting (much more fun than the 600); this year, completely different. I cannot even imagine how the fans were sitting in the stands scratching their heads. I envisioned even the die hard NASCAR fans screaming like a ticked off dad towards a referee at a little league game. Social media tweets were flying around like this:
Ugh. NASCAR, you didn't give the fans (and in this case, the drivers, either) what they wanted. That's right. You ignored them. You sat at a fancy mahogany table and tried to come up with a way to make things different, new, more challenging. Guess what, they didn't WANT something new, in fact, they are craving the 'good ol days' of NASCAR! Those days seem to be numbered. According to Denny Hamlin:
Denny says it in complete simplicity - you need to be able to understand it, to enjoy it. The sport of racing started on the beaches of Florida, simple, exciting, nostalgic. Darlington Raceway is embracing its historic past, by getting fans to rally around what excited them about the sport in the first place through great marketing, social media and PR:
The Indy 500 will run this weekend, and I guarantee it will deliver every bit of the 'hoopla' and thrill it created (very strategically I might add). Why? Because they know EXACTLY what the fan wants. They will attract new fans, too, because if they do this right, people will want to follow the sport if they didn't already. They are embracing new technology and the social media that their fans and aspiring fans will be on:
That is the whole point of marketing and social media. You deliver what your fan wants to see, hear and engage with - then you meet them there. By getting your loyal customer indebted to your brand, they in turn tell others. You have organically grown your audience through an entire team of brand promoters - basically, your outside sales team - for free. When people complain about your brand, yes, it does give you some publicity, but if this happens time and time again, and you never respond to that criticism, if you never take their advice, then you will fail. They will lose trust in you.
Deliver what the FAN wants, not what you THINK they want or what you believe will make you more money. When the FAN comes first, the money will roll in.
Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend!