Archive for the Bottom Line to Start Line Category

Cycling Marketing & Advertising

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on November 1, 2011 by bethleasure

Spokespeople

35“It’s not the rider going across the line with his/her arm raised, but how did the sponsorship affect sales, connect with people and the market?”  Michael Aisner, Cycling Promoter

Wins yes, sponsor sustainability...not this time.


Teams can be enormously successful in race results and still lose sponsorship. The key to a successful relationship between sponsor and sport is to target corporate marketing objectives and cooperate in a joint program to get the word out. For sponsorship to continue, bike racers become messengers of corporate marketing, not just the bearers of name brands on jerseys, which is only a small piece of sponsor strategy. Winning may not even be important to the corporate marketing strategy.

A message is marketed in various ways, and there can be many strategies. Athletes are sponsored mostly because of influential abilities as spokespeople, connecting sponsor interests to desired markets. For an established brand, it’s more about driving more consumers more often to the product than publicizing it.

There are other strategies as well. Sometimes the goal is an alignment with cycling’s values and brand for health, active lifestyles, environmentalism, a cause, or particular technologies. The match may be to reach a similar demographic of race enthusiasts to recruit employees or other services. It may be to educate a company about an emerging product line as a research unit with athletic applications. It may be to reach specific markets where races have broad consumer exposure or to send cyclists to retail centers to attract customers thereby appealing to a broader demographic.

This may occur at bike races, but also at events within a sponsor’s industry including expos, trade shows,  swap meets, pod casts, websites, email newsletters, and the be all-end all, media exposure. Some live to track media hits to ensure the value of its cycling investment. Others establish ambassador programs where teams represent a brand message at school visits. The value of this type of visibility is tougher to evaluate for measurable impact.

Whichever strategy, cycling sponsorship is an extension of corporate marketing’s efforts to speak to the people they want to reach. Bike racers may need to be concerned about winning – races and continued sponsorship, and the two may be exclusive goals.

Prayer for Marketing & Advertising

“I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 36Romans 9:17

We ask for new ways to present cycling to the world – ways that attract sustainable provision.

Ponder What organizations would benefit from a cycling presence? Affirm I am my sponsor’s representative. Watch your talk because it’s not just about you.

 

35“Rasmussen College Summit: Sponsorship,” Rasmussen Summit Staff presented “Sponsorship: Getting it, keeping it.” Moderator-Tom Schuler, Team Sports Panelists: Michael Aisner-Coors Classic, David Kutoff-Materials Processing Corporation, Stephanie Scott-Jelly Belly Candy Company, David Wilson-Wheaties. Posted on “Women Cyclists: Articles” www.womencyclists.com

 

Tom Schuler gets Honorable Mention in this piece. He was one of the original crew within an American sponsorship dynasty that began as the 7-Eleven squad and evolved into Motorola, with eventual ties to US Postal Service and eventually Discovery Channel. Tom has run a number of successful teams proving his longevity as a survivor in the intense milieu of cycling’s well-sponsored teams through quality marketing programs – Team Saturn being the crown jewel thus far, but with Team Type 1 number 1 as a cause sponsorship.

36The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

 

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Cycling & Equipment Sponsorship

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on October 26, 2011 by bethleasure

Market Bike

37The team works closely with technical sponsors and this allows us to bring new and innovative products not only to athletes but also to consumers.Scott Bicycles, Equipment Sponsor

Latest and greatest is enhanced by athlete input.


Products Pros Need – An Incomplete List: bikes-components-glasses-helmets-pedals-powermeters-rollers-saddles-tires-wheels. Some of the latter is equipment from within the bike industry; and some stuff comes from elsewhere: vehicles-insurance-travel-nutrition-communications-clothing.

 

When a team goes to market, a more-equipped bike than a cruiser with a straw basket on the handlebars brings home the day’s fresh bread. Generally, so much stuff requires calculated logistical preparation for safe handling in vehicles the size of truck containers and caravans. This vast movement of supplies down-line from manufacturer/provider to market uses cycling as a vehicle to connect with consumers.

 

An added benefit or reason for equipment sponsorship may be technical innovations inspired by athletes. Usually this has to do with tweaking and specifying versus testing although destruction happens regularly. These failed tests generally stay quiet as part of the secrets of the caravan that are privy among team and supplier. Often improvements and cool innovations result from real-world Research & Development.

 

Like cash sponsors, equipment suppliers need to see a return on investment in similar marketing strategies from branding messages to shared values to corporate visibility. A cycling team’s shopping list may be scrawled on a loose scrap of paper held tightly at a trade show but once bagged, it’s widely consumed.

 

Prayer for Equipment Sponsorship

The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” 38Proverbs 22:7

We recognize we’re not slaves to equipment sponsors, but that borrowing does come with responsible representation. Lending also comes with trust that products are safe and sturdy – able to handle race demands. We pray for all the necessary provisions for competitiveness and some wants as well as rewards. We ask for assistance with logistics to manage all this schwag. We ask to reach new audiences with fan give-aways and marketing strategies. Bless our equipment sponsors.

 

Ponder What am I using to ride or race that is truly a great product? Affirm I tell others about who has the goods! Watch your manners when it comes to public product comparisons as this year’s best may be bust next year and this year’s novelty may work better next year.

 

37“Scott Bicycles To Become The Equipment Sponsor of Team Columbia,” by Editor posted September 10, 2008 on www.bicycle.net

38New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Cycling & Finance

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on October 11, 2011 by bethleasure

Free Wheeling

27“With things the way they are, my family could use some help and we could probably get closer to debt-free if we were sharing the bills and such with my family.”  Josh Boggs, Race Mechanic on moving his wife and children nearer grandparents

 

Realistic planning characterizes a champion.

Participating in pro cycling is rife with challenges that filter all but a few. Beyond talent, there must be opportunity in the form of teams that get you to races and also financial support. Many lower level teams pay riders the bare minimum required to live – and they’re the lucky ones. Providing for a family for most full-time riders is impossible; others help support financially.

Expectations to perform against well-funded programs with a full-time training and racing focus leave no room for generating income outside of cycling. Nearly every pro faces this conundrum when coming up the ranks, and the push is for financial provision as much as physiological competitiveness. Providing for family has to be factored into the dream-pursuit equation. The finances must match desire because there is no free wheeling. Plans for full-time training must also include a budget with a spending and income plan.

Purposeful living is best pursued debt-free. Make intentional choices regarding debt – even for investments in real estate or for a powermeter for instance – and limit credit use. If team salaries are limited, it’s possible to prepare for races properly by working part-time or in the off-season. Schedule in race goals that support this.

Other options for self-finance include fundraising through cycling non-profits that assist developing riders. Further, consider those who would be liable for you financially by taking necessary steps to gain accident and health coverage in case of catastrophe. The cost of an ambulance is more than some monthly cycling salaries; a helicopter airlift fee could fund a season. Primary insurances are sometimes available with the purchase of a race license.

Finally, even the tightest budget must consider benevolence. Giving away the widow’s mite is a principle of reaping what is sown that God blesses exponentially – this is the one area we are invited to 28test His benevolence. The rewards are great.

Prayer for Fiscal Responsibility

God loves a cheerful giver.” 2 Corinthians 9:7

“People who don’t take care of their relatives, and especially their own families, have given up their faith. They are worse than someone who doesn’t have faith… 291 Timothy 5:8

We pray for ways to fund cycling responsibly.

Ponder Do I have a financial “training” plan? Affirm I finance my dreams in cycling and care for myself/my family. Watch bonus money earn interest through savings and investments.
27Hiatus” by Josh Boggs posted on “ProBikeWrench” August 30, 2008 www.probikewrench.blogspot.com

28The one time we are invited to test God’s power concerns giving 10% of income to God:

“‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.’” Malachi 3:10 from The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

29New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation and The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society

 

Cycling & Causes

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on September 24, 2010 by bethleasure

Race for the Cure

44“Team Type 1’s goal is to prove that by using the tools provided to manage diabetes, exercise and healthy living, a person with diabetes can do the same as a normal person– only better.” Phil Southerland, Team Founder 

Dopers' drug of choice is meant for cancer patients

Pairing sponsorship with a cause is a trend for securing new resources and expanding cycling into new markets. The sport is embracing sponsorship for teams who raise awareness for many issues and charities. Another version of this approach is for a corporate sponsor to allocate monies toward cycling events or teams as part of donations to a favorite cause.

Team ABC Company on behalf of Cause Such and Such – may make for a long logo across the jersey but it’s also keeping racers on the road with creatively obtained resources. Depending on how these deals are structured, charities that support these teams may receive donated monies or benefit from increased exposure. 45Research on social identity theory indicates association with a cause increases corporate sales because of willingness to purchase based on identification with that cause. Bottom line, identification with causes increases cycling’s opportunity for resources also.

So if the weight of bearing the glory of sponsoring corporate profits aren’t enough to keep you on the straight and narrow, add now the extra poundage of representing worthy causes. Think of the implications of a positive doping test on a cause-sponsor associated with racing for a cure to some disease related to the abused substance. Further, think of the real uses of supplementation misallocated away from a needed medicinal use. Someone whose motives are good publicity while deceptively doping behind the scenes is actually stealing the cure from the sick they are supposed to be helping. Now tell me, who wins there?

Prayer for Cause Sponsorship

But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?” 461 John 3:17

We are amazed at just how inter-related we are in this world. We confess we think what we do hurts no one but ourselves. We ask blessing on cause sponsors and their causes and protection from those seeking to exploit them.

Ponder Can I embrace a cause beyond my own? Affirm I help many causes. Watch that you don’t compromise one cause for the sake of another, namely a self-serving one. In the end, no one is served.

45“Corporate sponsorship of a cause: the role of identification in purchase intent,” T. Bettina Cornwell and Leonard V. Coote, UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Australia featured in Journal of Business Research Volume 58, Issue 3, March 2005, Pages 268-276 Special Section: Marketing Communications and Consumer Behavior. Copyright © 2003 Elsevier Inc. posted online 27 August 2003 on www.sciencedirect.com

46New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Cycling Industry

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on September 22, 2010 by bethleasure

Bike Messengers

39“Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.” Bill Nye the Science Guy

Wright brothers, from the cycling industry, with their other flying machine

 As road racers, it’s easy to be insular from regular society. Yet it’s impossible to separate our financial health and equipment sponsorship opportunities from mainstream culture. Bicycle industry 40data show that sales are driven by the participation rates of recreational riders, compromising an overwhelming 95% share. Racing share is less than 1%. Further, of specialty markets, road bikes compromise only 10% of those sales with mountain bikes and more comfortable versions leading this category. Of this tiny portion, race expenditures must return on investment for sponsors.

Hence wealth from other bike sales allows sponsorships and interest for high-end road race frames and components to be manufactured. The next time you feel entitled to a free bike, ponder that. That the industry gives us anything is remarkable in light of these facts. Why do they do it? It’s surprising that we are the darlings of bicycle retailer advertisements, and competitive road cycling in particular is the face of bike manufacturing. It’s a similar message as in auto racing: if our bikes can withstand the kind of treatment we give them, they are more than enough for a ride with your kids around the cul-de-sac.

Our sleek images and hurting mugs are all over retail space proving that it’s not the inherent aspects of competitive cycling that drives our branding as much as what we represent. We are faces with mouthpieces for the bike industry. As such, this highlights our responsibility as stellar representatives. What funds a bike messenger? Clients who want stuff delivered – not the act of delivering it. Likewise, we are only the messengers and not the means for our friends in manufacturing.

Prayer for Cycling Industry

“Any enterprise is built by wise planning, becomes strong through common sense, and profits wonderfully by keeping abreast of the facts.” 41Proverbs 24:3-4

We acknowledge just how small we are in the industry’s enterprise. We are so grateful for industry support and for equipment sponsorship. We ask for industry growth that continues to provide solutions to challenges in the environment, transportation, health and recreation. We pray that overflow of industry blessing pours into our racing bidons.

Ponder Do I understand my place in the greater scheme of things? Affirm I’m grateful for any help. Watch that your providers profit.

39Posted on Bicycle Quotes www.theargonauts.com

40“2007 NBDA Statpak: A Look at the Bicycle Industry’s Vital Statistics,” under “Industry Overview” posted by National Bicycle Dealers Association on www.nbda.com: “Bicycles and related products appeal primarily to a recreation market in the United States. Recent figures cited in an industry trade publication show that 94.5% of those who ride bicycles do so for recreation or fitness, 0.3% for racing, and approximately 5.2% for transportation.”

41The Living Bible Copyright © 1971 owned by assignment by KNT Charitable Trust published by Tyndale House Publishers

Cycling & Cash Sponsorship

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on September 17, 2010 by bethleasure

Rolling Billboards

30“Cycling fits into our corporate marketing strategy. We use cycling to explain our sales approach; it’s part of our corporate culture. We have cycling pictures and symbols in our conference room. If we gain corporate clients from our team’s cycling exposure, the sponsorship pays for itself.” John Kelly, Pro Team Sponsor

 

Consumer goods sponsorships make the most cents...

Sponsorship generally must make economic sense, and big teams work with various corporate departments to ensure the cost-effectiveness of its investment in cycling. Outlays are such that some tangible return on investment is justified. While it sounds like sacrilege to us, the truth is that competitive cycling is fairly unnecessary. Sometimes, we think we are more important than we really are and that we make a bigger impact than we really do. Other times, we don’t think enough of the splash that comes off our rear wheels.

We are rolling billboards to be read in passing and with enough repetitions, these messages sink in. Unknown companies become beloved cycling icons. We read their websites and purchase products. Tour de France exposure alone is worth millions of ad dollars. The figures are staggering and seem a steep mountain to climb when all a rider wants is the opportunity to feed a family and keep racing.

Rarely is cash sponsorship purely altruistic. Sponsors aren’t investing in us because they care about our personal dreams. They expect a business expansion from involvement. While other reasons and passions may contribute to decision-making, financial integrity and fiscal responsibility should be the priority pitches to cash sponsors. If the sell seems too hard, it probably is – so pursue enthusiastic financiers.

Unfortunately, we’ve shown ourselves irresponsible through doping culture and other corrupt practices. For instance, a director that absconds with team monies meant for rider salaries leaves a trail of broken promises. This is completely unacceptable. It’s not enough to appear that we’re doing what’s right, right living starts within so our beloved billboards can roll out.

Prayer for Cash Sponsorship

 “Be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.” 31Luke 12:15

We repent for our greed and corruption. We pray for cash provisions to fund effective cycling programs and ask blessing on cycling’s sponsors.

Ponder Can I prove my cycling value? Affirm I am worth every penny because… Watch your business plan open bank accounts.

30Conversations with John Kelly. John’s enthusiasm for cycling dates from his racing experiences with Athletes In Action. He underwrites an American pro team as part business strategy and part passion. www.kbsmedifast.com

31New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation

Bike Trade Shows

Posted in Bottom Line to Start Line on September 14, 2010 by bethleasure

Bike Holidays

42“Prepare for three packed days of exhibits, product launches, meetings and a celebration of the bicycle business…”            Interbike Trade Show-Las Vegas

Amazing displays inside and out

 September begins Trade Show season for the cycling industry with events in major cities staged as part of a global tour of trade shows. These conventions are like festivals of old that commemorated some important occasion – annual holy days typically. As industry reunions, trade shows foster deal-making, inventory ordering, and face time among teams and cycling manufacturers.

These bike holidays celebrate the gathering of industry leaders and product launches with myriads in public attendance. It’s possible to tour warehouses like a kid in a candy store…or a bike rider in the biggest bike shop you can imagine complete with bike personalities, bike decision-makers, bike-builders, and bike media. But it’s not just a social gathering or an opportunity for a celebrity sighting. Deals made here determine sponsorship allocations, product distributions, brand awareness, and bottom line bike business.

While it is like a season-end party at times with long dinners and late nights, it also provides ride opportunities – perhaps the best forum to deepen industry relationships. Many of these connections cross borders into national clusters of cycling businesses that influence bike riders everywhere. One gets a true feel for frame sources and manufacture in the Taiwan Pavilion and is awed by the graceful industry maturity of Euro Village at the Vegas show. Anywhere one goes on the exhibition floor, something show-stopping is sure to amaze. Among the booths of several thousand exhibitors, even the displays that showcase new products leave you breathless. It’s also incredible to look across an aisle and spot two legendary riders discussing some matter with animation.

It’s important to note that much of actual business is decided before and after in the quietness of private conversations; but for a thrill and to get a meet-and-greet bike-style, tour round and round one of these shows.

Prayer for Bike Trade Shows

“So don’t put up with anyone pressuring you in details of diet, worship services, or holy days. All those things are mere shadows cast before what was to come; the substance is Christ. 43Colossians 2:16-17

We ask blessing on bicycle trade shows. Ponder Who can I meet this year? Affirm I attend cycling’s biggest party. Watch your attendance deepen your involvement in the cycling industry.

42“Why Attend Interbike?” posted on www.interbike.com

43The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson